Winding and worn cobblestone streets main form of traffic comes in the walking and talking form have made up the last two days of our travels. Heidelberg is a beautiful old city full of history. An old castle, or schloss as they say here, overlooks the town from higher up on the mountain. We were able to watch the sunset from the castle our first night here. The next day, we felt the need to revisit the castle again on our way down from the overlook even higher on the mountain (see photo below). We almost hit sunset again but thought better than to stay up on the mountain and risk missing dinner in the city below. Aside from the bars, German restaurants close a but earlier than restaurants in the states do and we’d much rather get a taste of Classic German cuisine than simple bar snacks for dinner.
View from the highest point in Heidleberg
Germany’s oldest university is in Heidelberg, a prestigious place where rowdy students were sent to “student prison” once upon a time. Upon hearing this, I immediately pictured the “Chokey” from Matilda. However, the description surprised us – it was a place where students were contained for their sentence, yet they were allowed to only leave to go to classes. They could visit their fellow students in others cells and after the first two days of bread and water only, they were allowed to order beer to their cells. Punishment or room service? That didn’t sound like such a bad gig after all.
We managed to find a bit of wilderness in this beautiful city as well. Along the river runs an old path called “Philosopher’s Way.” There were a few opportunities to go off the beaten path that thanks to Jo’s urging, we decided to test out. Everything is so vibrant here and we came across many old gates disguised under cloaks of ivy. Rose gardens seemed to spring out of nowhere, nestled among the dirt footpaths. This city never failed to surprise us with the depths of what it held and this breath of fresh air and nature was just what we needed to kill the last of our jet lag.
Tomorrow’s adventures take us to Jordan’s apartment and home for the summer; we’ll see how that goes!
In the spirit of all the Spanish that I’ve been accidentally using lately in attempt to make up for my lack of a German vocabulary,
We’ve landed safely and are already walking off the jet lag. The weather is absolutely perfect and we had a full morning of adventuring around the city followed up by a lunch of that famous German beer and brats and we decided to try out the mushroom ravioli too. Lunch was great; sipping, eating and people watching in the main square in Heidelberg. Loving this trip already. 😍🇩🇪
Airport bound and we couldn’t be more excited. The packs have been packed and repacked to try to lighten our loads. Lodging was a bit of a pain but it’s a good thing we did that ahead of time or it would’ve been hard to find a place to crash. I’m all about the European experience but I’m not really a fan of spending a night on the streets of a foreign city. We’ve got access to wifi every night so we’ll try to keep y’all updated. First stop, Frankfurt and meeting up with an old friend of the family.
Europe get ready for us, the Case girls are headed your way!! 👯
“To Whom It May Concern;
I, Alexandria, volunteer as tribute to help move in my dearest sister Jordan as she embarks upon this great journey and opens the door to a new chapter of her life. My availabilities include May 1st – May 10th or 11th if need be. I also volunteer to chaperone her around the European Union and professionally document the journey and learning experiences. A blog is an additional option that I am offering.
Looking forward to hearing your response.”
I sent this lovely correspondence to the parental units over spring break and a month later I got a phone call from my mother asking if I was still interested. Although the email was originally sent as a joke, I figure why not take the blog aspect literally and document the experience. It’d be keeping with the travel theme of this site anyways and I’m sure I’ll have plenty of photos to upload and stories to transcribe. Thankfully, wireless internet is a bit more abundant in the area of this years travels as opposed to Nicaragua so the updates on this trip should be a little more timely and relevant. It’s going to be a totally different experience than last year, but new and different has always excited me.
Along by my side on this adventure will be my sister and best friend, Jo. We’ll spend about a week traveling around Germany, Amsterdam and Paris exploring and making memories.
I’ve got packing to do in the am, however, so this is just a quick first post. Today’s trip update: backpacks purchased. If the plane flights purchased weren’t enough, this definitely is. It’s so close and I’m already loosing sleep because I can’t seem to contain my excitement.
Cheers to me learning how to pack “lightly” for this trip, considering I’ll be carrying everything on my back.
Gute nacht, my readers.
You have no idea how weird it was to hear “Welcome Home” come from a complete stranger as I walked through customs upon reentering the United States. Part of me was happy and comforted by the idea, yet another part longed for the land of piña, tostones and español that I had just left.
Okay, okay. So I know I said I was going to try to keep you all posted on how the trip went but I didn’t. Sorry to let you down. It was tricky getting to places with internet access since I didn’t bring a computer or a tablet with me. Maybe the next time I go, I’ll do that differently. That’s right – the NEXT time. I’m totally going back. I left my heart there and everyone knows you can’t continue living without a heart so I’m going to have to go back soon to retrieve it. Not that I plan on bringing it back the next time I leave either. I have a feeling that this trip was the beginning of a beautiful friendship between myself and Central America. I met so many amazing people with such inspiring dreams. It’s one of my goals for this summer to document all these people’s stories on this blog, somewhat like a featured article might be in a newspaper.
Everyone we met was insanely friendly and giving. One gesture that really demonstrated this fact was when a small group of us went to a Sunday morning church service on the island of Ometepe. Obviously, the service was entirely in Spanish and while we know enough to communicate with most people, understanding a sermon was entirely different. The services there are filled mainly with worship through song, all sung a cappella. It’s truly an amazing experience simply listening but one of the ladies noticed that we weren’t singing along because we didn’t have a hymnal. She got up during the middle of the service and walked across the room to lend us her book. In the congregation of the church we were visiting, it was clear that many people did not have the money to afford things such as hymnals – instead, they memorized the songs through practice. This woman was sharing with us a very valuable possession of hers. While it seems like such a small gesture, it really meant a lot to myself and the group in that moment. Gringos are often separated from the community because we are outsiders but in those moments, as we sang along with the congregation, we felt as much a part of that little community in Ometepe as we would if we lived there. It was little things like that that brought special meaning to the trip.
It goes without saying that it was an eye opening experience, but it was more than that. It opened my heart to possibilities that I had never considered. I’m considering returning and teaching English through a program led by a man who owns one of the hotels we stayed in. Now I’m trying to figure out how I can add an ESL (English as a Second Language) minor into my already portly course load. I suppose this happens to everyone who travels, and I’m well aware of the fact that this is only the beginning of my worldly travels but I really do hope to return and help give back to the communities that were so friendly and welcoming to me on my first visit. They all have a place in my heart that won’t be easily replaced.
Until Next Time Nica,
Hi Hi Friends!
So it’s officially May 1st. THE DAY IS HERE. omgomgomg. Pardon my excited outburst; be thankful that you don’t have to hang out with me on the way to the airport. I’ll be up in approximately 5.5 hours. That’s the one thing I’m really dreading tomorrow. I’m nervous and excited and I don’t know how to control the combination of the two. The result is basically a stressed out Al. But I keep reminding myself that it’s going to be so worth it for the experience I’m gaining. Hopefully I’ll be able to get some internet connection to keep you folks updated and who knows, maybe I’ll even get lucky and be able to include a few pictures of my adventures (volcanoes, waterfalls, etc.). If I’m not able to access the web, just keep me in your prayers and I’ll fill you all in as soon as I get home (it’ll be a welcome cleaning break from the un-packing of my college life that awaits me in my room at home).
On a side note, in case you missed from my picture – I’m bringing gauchos back. Y’all can enjoy this fashion trend. I mean, they say that fashion trends come back, right?
I better get some shut eye so I can be somewhat functioning tomorrow. I’m just grateful that I’m going to a place that’s known for their coffee.
Goodnight my lovely followers.
Al the Coffee Addict
Well, my friends, I’m going. This is real life and I couldn’t be more excited. I have absolutely no idea what kind of plans God’s got in store for me but I’ve got a great feeling about this trip. I’ve always wanted to see the world and this is step one. I finished up the last of my exams on Wednesday and ever since, I’ve been alternating between that state of constant laziness that sets in when college students get home and a frenzied panic about my habitual packing procrastination. In between the unpacking process and the packing process, it’s safe to say that my basement looks like one of the cyclones that my traveler’s alert warned me about ran through it. I’m just hoping that I can get things put together enough to the point that my poor family doesn’t have to stare at the giant piles of belongings currently residing outside my room for the entire time I’m gone.
Anyways, I’m babbling. My brain’s just kind of an enormous jumble of thoughts at the moment. I’m exhausted but too excited to sleep. And I still have two more days at home before we get on the plane. I suppose a trip update would be in order, though:
I leave Wednesday… today is Sunday.
Currently, I have a couple pairs of pants from goodwill, some super “hot” silk button ups, and a shirt that will be totally perfect if I ever need to dress up like Jane Goodall. Nothing against Jane, by the way – I support the chimps too. At the moment I’m debating the necessity of a crocodile hunter hat to complete the look. I’m being 99.3% serious when I say that those Nicaraguan boys better be prepared to handle my level of attractiveness because I’ll be in my prime Crocodile Dundee form for the next three weeks. … In all seriousness, I’m not sure my butt is even distinguishable in the majority of the clothes that I’m bringing. Word on the street is we’re going to search out a place to Salsa dance. In the style of Rebel Wilson, I’ll be waltzing into that joint in my cargo pants saying “HELLO FELLAS, HERE I AM.” Kidding. I’m a shopping addict. I plan on hitting up as many malls, markets, and the like as possible. I’ll return stateside looking like a true Nicaraguan, minus the dark hair and actual dark complexion (although my 1/32 Cherokee genes should give me a nice glow by then). With that in mind, packing’s gotten a teensy bit easier. But there’s still the whole shoe thing, but I probably shouldn’t even get started on that. If I’m entirely honest with myself, I’ll admit that I’ll probably be coming back with at least two new pairs – it’s really turning into an issue, but then again, having too many shoes isn’t really an issue I mind all that much.
I’m at 486 words right now. I think it’s probably time to call it a night for tonight. Gotta rest up for the craziness of tomorrow which will include yet another trip to Salvo in hopes of finding the perfect vintage windbreaker to put to use against the rainy season of Nicaragua.
If you made it all the way to the end with me, I commend you. and thank you. Hopefully this blog will turn out to be something worth reading.
Anyways, Sweet Dreams.
Nicaragua, here I come.
This blog was birthed out of a combination of circumstances. A professor suggested this site as a way for students to build their own websites for a project we are completing in class. Web design doesn’t really fit into my current project but I’ve always wanted to get into blogging. The second contributor that led to the fact that I’m sitting at my kitchen table typing away at this first post that hopefully won’t bore you to tears is my impending adventure to a tropical getaway where I will be spending three weeks traveling and teaching a workshop on innovation. I want a way to journal my experiences and share them with the world. The third was a conversation with a friend the other day – he suggested to me that I try to capture my pure thought. By this, he meant that I should write down every thought I had while at the keyboard, no censoring, and just go with it. Document my true self. So this is what I’m trying to do with this blog. I’m still working at a proper name, so forgive the lack of creativity in my title choice at the moment. This blog will be an insight into my life and it is my hope that at least someone will find it worth reading. enjoy.