Saturday, March 07, 2009

A Few Adventures in Our Own Backyard

A few weeks ago, our friends Mike and Jason came through Heidelberg on another of their whirlwind European trips - this one a sort of Benelux package going through Amsterdam, Brussels, and Luxembourg. It's hard to follow all that up, especially since they've been to Heidelberg before, but we managed to have a few experiences worth commenting on here! (If I can remember them after the thesis brain drain.)

The first night, they wanted to have the requisite cheap Schnitzel. The Schnitzelbank is a little pricey and the Schnookeloch was closed for some reason. So, we ended up on the Marktplatz at Hahn im Korb, a pretty nondescript diner-like place Damon and I have been a few times. They also have Berliner Weiss there, which Jason was talking about having.

The place was pretty dead and we sat in a booth in the corner. While we were there a lone guy arrived at some point and took the booth catty-corner from us, way across all the empty tables of the restaurant. He kept staring in our direction, and at some point I ended up looking back at him. As if he'd been waiting for that moment, he yelled, "STUPID!" Lovely. After observing a few more of his behaviors we ended up at the conclusion that he actually was probably not actually all there. Of course this is kind of a relief, but didn't stop the experience from making me feel sort of unwelcome.

The following day we were wandering around looking for some Nougat Pillows for them to take back to the US when we happened upon the Zuckerladen (Sugar Shop). We had heard about this place several times but never actually went there - so we decided to all go in. It's tiny and smells like sugar - because it's completely packed with it. There are tons of old-fashioned candies in jars with prices per piece (10 cents for this, 25 cents for that, etc.). They also have some imported goodies including root beer, peanut butter cups, and Reese's Pieces! Damon and I decided to buy some delicious ropes (watermelon and raspberry). Buying is when things really get interesting. The owner was engaging the customers before us in some kind of dice game, and got Damon to play along. They won their choice of taffies. Then it was our turn, and he got all four of us playing the game. We had to guess whether two of three dice would show the same side. (Of course this is not that quick. A girl in line behind us cheerily commented, "One cannot say 'I'm just going quickly to the Zuckerladen.'" He did this two times, and the majority of us got it right both times (yes, then no), and we won our choice of little candies from a display box set up in front. Then he KEPT chatting us up, in a very non-condescending combination of German and English. When we commented on the root beer, he was quick to tell us it was at import prices, not American prices. Hardly surprising of course, but I guess he must get a lot of customers who forget that when you buy European goods in the US, they're not expensive because they're fancy, they're expensive because they've been shipped so far. So it applies in both directions! Then he told us that he got a shipment of his favorite American snack just for himself, not for sale. He disappeared into an office and came back out with a big box of Crunch 'n' Munch to show off - as well as some minty Lifesavers for us to take! I'd forgotten that Lifesavers even existed. Jason told him that he might write an article about his visit and he gave us all business cards and a goofy write-up about the shop from a university newspaper. It was all pretty cool. Now I know where to get some root beer if we're in a pinch.

That night we ate at the Dorfschaenke near the Marktplatz in Neuenheim. I mentioned this place in my previous post and I'm pretty sure it's our favorite restaurant now that we've been twice and know that the excellent food we had the first time wasn't just a fluke. Everything we've had or tried of somone else's plate there has been amazing. This time we had the Flammkuchen. They also have a big wine selection (Anon, you'll be chuffed to hear we had the Clauer) and it's fun trying to decipher the handwritten menu! I definitely recommend it.

.... Damon just found 2001: A Space Odyssey playing on TV. Digging the crazy music. Within a few minutes I'll be subjected to the horror of that creepy space fetus at the end. AUGH!

20 minutes later edit: AUGH SPACE FETUS NOOOOOOO


  1. I'll be subjected to the horror of that nasty space fetus at the end.

    I prefer to embrace the continued symbolism of humanity's next great evolutionary leap forward than look too long at its graphical depiction.

    So yeah — eeew.

  2. Whew, it's over. I watched a little too long and laid eyes on that thing. It really gives me the willies, no joke.

    I edited to say it's creepy rather than nasty, that fit better.

  3. Zuckerladen sounds fabulous...I'm going to have to stop in there next time we're in Heidelberg.

  4. Dude, I never make it past the space station and 'Blue Danube.' That movie bores me to tears. I knew there was a space fetus in there somewhere, but if it's at the end, I'll never have to endure it.

  5. The article from the university paper can be found here btw.

    The pair has been at it for what, 30, 40 years now? One of Heidelberg's institutions.

  6. Berliner Weiss(e), isn't that a thing for, say, mature ladies? (Sorry, I couldn't resist, although it doesn't taste bad at all!) What was wrong with that yelling guy? Some kind of a weirdo?

    P.S. 2001, isn't this piece almost infinitely long? ;-)

  7. I'm with Sarah1976. I've never made it the whole way through the movie... and I LOVE sci-fi.

    Don't ya just love little "institutions" like the Zuckerladen?

  8. Cowgirl: Definitely go! :)

    Sarah: Yes, avoid the freaky fetus. I don't know why it wigs me out so much but it does.

    Kato: Does the article sound really frilly and awkward in German? The English translation did and I was wondering if it was just a problem of translation or if that was the original intention. :)

    Sandy: No idea, I've never had it! :D But one of the good things about being foreign is that you can ignore goofy norms like that and enjoy whatever you want. (I fully intend to get one of those awesome rainbow umbrellas that the Berliner Weiss crowd is always carrying.) I think the yelling guy just had some kind of mental incapability.

    Snooker: I think I saw the whole thing once? Or maybe just the second half, or was a long time ago! Some of it's good for a laugh, like Dave's face all smashed up on his helmet while he's rushing through space at the end.

  9. Mike (of Mike and Jason!)Friday, March 13, 2009 1:56:00 am

    2001?? That ending is just so terrible. What the hell does it mean???? I even looked online, and I'm convinced it's weird for the sake of being weird.

    But! If you need any of the creepy music, I have it ALL!! It just might make it onto an Everybody CD one of these days...


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