This weekend we had our first visitor in Heidelberg - finally! Stef was planning to come with her fiance Josh, but things didn't work out for him schedule-wise, so it was just the three of us. (Luckily all four of us will be together in London in just two weeks!)
Stef rolled in on the bus from Hahn Airport (really far away - not really recommended! But she got a great deal on Ryanair) around 6pm. We dropped her stuff off at the apartment and sat around chatting a bit, trying to work up an appetite for the Kulturbrauerei, our token German restaurant of choice. Strangely when we arrived there, the whole place was full and there was no seat! So, instead we ended up braving the rude staff of the Palmbraeu. (I'm not going to even get into it...but just be prepared if you ever go and your German isn't perfect...which is weird because it's tourist central and when we left, there were only English-speaking customers remaining.) They do have great free postcards by the bathrooms, but the food isn't nearly as good as Kulturbrauerei. We stayed drinking until nearly closing. I should also mention the weather was terrible - snowy and slushy - the most snow we had all year. This was hard after 3 weeks of spring-like weather and blooming trees.
On Friday we did the castle, including the guided tour which we hadn't done before. It was a pretty good deal - only 4 EUR adult (2 EUR student) for a tour that's at least an hour through areas you can't access otherwise. Afterward we picked up some goodies at a bakery. Damon and I had tickets for a concert in Mannheim. We tried to find Stef tickets, but it was nearly sold out and there were none to be had at a reasonable price, so we ended up going ourselves and she relaxed in Heidelberg.
On Saturday we had breakfast at Damon's favorite bakery, showed Stef a German grocery store (Rewe), and did the Altstadt tour. We ate lunch in a Thai place on the Universitaetsplatz. In the evening, we fixed white asparagus, spaetzle and salad for supper, which was great - accompanied by a bottle of wine from the Rheingau and some Asbach - then, drinking at the Kulturbrauerei! (This time not at all crowded!)
We had plans to visit Speyer today. I was really looking forward to finally getting over there to visit, and we were going with a group that was getting a tour, which sounded really great. Unfortunately, I woke up with diarrhea from hell which progressed to barfing (first time in six years :( ), stomach cramps the likes of which I don't think I've ever experienced for so long, and fever. So, no Speyer trip :( I couldn't even stand watching TV or reading. Stef and Damon went out for lunch and walked the Philosophenweg - luckily the weather was finally nice and sunny! This was Stef's last day here and I really feel badly that it ended like this, but hopefully we'll make up for it in London.
I've spent the day theorizing about where I might have picked up the bug, since Stef and Damon didn't get sick and we ate the same things most of the time. Current theory is the Thai place. Then I continued my fever-addled theory to consider that perhaps food poisoning is more likely in places where the restrooms only have a cold water tap, because it doesn't work as well as warm water (not sure if there's any evidence of that) and because the water is so painfully cold that people can't stand to have their hands under it long enough to wash up properly. Hence they do a bad job, then go touch the broccoli and a certain number of hours later, some poor sap like me is doubled over the platform toilet puking. If this is the case food poisoning would have to be more common in Germany than the US, because here one pretty much never finds warm/hot water available in restaurant, work, or other public bathrooms. (And don't get me started on the coworkers - IN THE EPIDEMIOLOGY DEPARTMENT - who don't even wash at all, not even in the sorry-ass cold tap.) This is all fever-induced rambling, anyway. Here's hoping Stef and Damon don't get it, and that I'm back to normal tomorrow.