“What was supposed to be a two hour drive was much longer, because of the train strike resulting in two major traffic jams.
“We finally arrived close to noon. First we had an abbreviated walking tour of the town. We were supposed to see a bridge but had no time for that. We did get to see the outside of the cathedral on the way to lunch. We had lunch in an historic hotel, Hotel Ritter, built in 1592.
“Viking had posted a notice on the university bulletin board offering lunch to students who spoke English and wanted to practice with Americans. About 5-6 students came. This was definitely a highlight of the trip! The young woman who sat with us, Anna, is a law student who wants to study family law. She said that despite fields being open now to women, the wage gap in Germany is a reality. She also volunteers at a children’s hospital working with very sick kids.
“After lunch we were given the option of shopping or taking the tram to the castle. In a very emotional moment, one of our fellow passengers related that he had been adopted as a child and lived with his adopted parents in the gatekeeper’s cottage.
“The castle has many distinct styles as it was constructed, destroyed and rebuilt many times over the centuries. It is one of Heidelberg’s most visited tourist sights. There is a beautiful view of the town from above. Our tour of the castle lasted about 45 minutes, leaving us a little bit of free time to walk among the shops.
“Definitely, the two highlights of the excursion were the castle and lunch with the students.” (Return to trip Narrative)