Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Day 2 - Headed for Heilsbronn

We awakened the next morning to the sound of someone knocking on the door. "What the heck," I thought to myself, "The 'do not disturb' sign is out, why are they pestering us?" Sean started stirring and I said, "Someone's knocking on the door" as they knocked again. Sean grabbed his travel alarm clock and said... "It's 11:15!!" He went to the door and peered through the peephole, then exclaimed, "It's Bill and Elise!"

Much colorful language ensued as we realized that the alarm clock had failed us and we had, in fact, slept for 15 hours straight. It took us a mere 20 minutes to shower, dress, pack up our stuff, and book it down to the lobby to check out. Thankfully, Bill and Elise were patient with us!

We piled into the rental car and headed for the Autobahn, guided by our friendly GPS system... which spoke German. Apparently the rental car person couldn't figure out how to change the language. Luckily, I had a dictionary handy and looked up words from the back seat while Bill drove.

The Autobahn is awesome. Not only can you determine your own speed limit, but other drivers are competent, courteous, and safe. It was like Driving Paradise for me. I don't see how you could get road rage on the Autobahn. But I digress.

We were all hungry, so we pulled over in some random small town, the name of which I have now forgotten. It was long and had lots of consonants in it, whatever it was. We ate lunch at the Gasthof Adler, where the locals were dumbfounded to see American tourists in their town. The waiter didn't speak English, but we managed to procure some tasty rations for ourselves. I had some super amazing schnitzel and Sean had wurst, I believe.

Feeling recharged, we got back in the car and made it to Heilsbronn, which is an adorable small town (about 9,200 people) in Franconia. We stayed in a hotel called The Goldener Stern, which was a cute bed-and-breakfast type place. Only one staff member (I think he was the chef) spoke English, but everyone was really nice and friendly.

While Bill and Elise took a nap, Sean and I walked around the town and explored. After Bill and Elise woke up, we did a little more walking around and then had dinner outdoors at a little pizzeria. Bill was brave and tried the tintenfisch, which the waitress translated as "ink fish." Turns out it was stuffed squid. He seemed to enjoy it... maybe the gigantic glass of beer helped. After dinner, we got some complimentary "digestifs" (a small shot of liquor to settle the stomach). I tried the Grappa and it was way too strong for me. I ended up trading Sean for his shot of Bailey's.

After that, we walked over to the local Eis Cafe and had some lovely ice cream, then took a walk around town by night before bed. We spent a rather sleepless night thanks to the clock tower in town going off every 15 minutes all night long, and the birds chirping their heads off at 5 AM. Sleeping 15 hours the night before probably didn't help, either!

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