"One day it occurred to me that it had been many years since the world had been afforded the spectacle of a man adventurous enough to undertake a journey through Germany on foot. After much thought, I decided that I was a person fitted to furnish to mankind this spectacle. So I determined to do it. This was in March, 1878." Mark Twain, A Tramp Abroad


The Grandparents Come to Town

This past week was the long-awaited visit of the father's parents--a.k.a "DeDe" and "Poppy T." They traveled to Germany all the way from Houston, Texas to check out our new home in Heidelberg and to spend some time with Penelope.

Grandparents with Child and Grandchild

When making plans for this trip, there was much debate about the perfect time to come. Although November is one of the most unpopular tourist seasons for Heidelberg, we concluded that it was actually a great time for a visit. Even though the weather was mostly overcast and cool, the fall colors were amazing!

Being avid followers of this blog, DeDe and Poppy T wanted to do several of the things I had written about in past blog posts. The first one we tackled was the funicular ride up the mountain (or, really big hill) overlooking the city (see October post "We put the FUN in Funicular"). As it was a busy Sunday afternoon, we had to fight people for a good seat, and DeDe got a little nervous when I pointed out the cable that was responsible for pulling us up the mountain. The clouds made it difficult to see very far, but the brightly colored trees surrounding us made the trip to the top worth it.

Penelope, DeDe, Poppy T on top of the hill overlooking the city

Our next stop was the Heidelberg Castle. We walked around the castle gardens oohing and aahing over the fall foilage, and then we took a guided tour of the inside of the castle. (This was my 5th trip to the castle, but I must admit that I haven't grown tired of it yet.) Our tour guide was an older German man who was attempting to speak British English, but his heavy German accent made it difficult for the grandparents to understand. We did our best to interpret.

The Father, Poppy T, DeDe and Penelope next to the castle entrance

Castle ruins and painted trees

This is the position we spent most of the trip in--cooing at Penelope

From the castle wall, overlooking the city

Now that the days have grown shorter, we had less time for sight-seeing. But we were fortunate enough to get a glimpse of the Altstadt at night from the castle. The lit-up church in the center of the picture is the Heiliggeistkirche (Holy Spirit Church).

We were not so fortunate the following day. Not only was it cold and rainy, but the Heidelberg museums were closed as well--stupid Mondays! We managed to find a few things to do around the city, like tour the Heiliggeistkirche and climb up the tower. This church dates back to the 14th century, and for over 200 years there was a wall that went through the middle of the church--half was the Protestant side and half was the Catholic side.

Inside the church

Climbing up the tower of the church proved to be a bit more difficult than we first thought. Not only did it involve climbing over 200 steps, but the stone staircase was narrow and steep.

Penelope and I finally make it to the top

Taking in the view


Trapped in the stairs

Poppy T and DeDe were also eager to try out the local food. Inspired by the October blog post "THE DÖNER", we headed to our favorite Turkish fast food joint and chowed down on a Döner. (Okay, not really 'local food', but definitely enjoyed by the locals.)


We also spent quite a bit of time in a cozy café called Schiller's. There's nothing better than a warm drink on a dreary day.
Penelope checks out Poppy T's espresso.

Hey sweet cheeks!

I discovered the best hot chocolate ever at this place. Here they serve you a glass of steamed milk, and then you choose a chocolate bar flavor, melt it in the milk, give it a good mix, and voilá--warm, rich, chocolatey goodness! DeDe and I partook in this concoction a few times over the course of the week.

All Penelope wanted was the spoon.

Grandfather love

Grandmother love

Stay tuned for more from the grandparents' visit. Coming up next: adventures in the German Alps!


  1. those pictures are gorgeous, j! some of the outdoor shots look like postcards. wish we could manage a trip out there to see it (and you guys!) for ourselves.

  2. wish you could come for a visit too! we miss you guys!!!