"Slip Sliding Away" Heidelberg by topoftheworl

Heidelberg Travel Guide: 1,079 reviews and 2,970 photos

"Number 423A."The owner of the Cafe Weisser Schwann looked at me quizzically. Is that a word? It is the entree, 'hier.' Ach so, he assented. It was Heidelberg in Germany, and I was 'im der aldstadt', the old town.

Ja, he answered, gruffly. Shamelessly, I sipped the wine.

I had been there before. Just four hours ago, when I checked out the menu and decided.

It is a small town, or so I thought. The train station is small.

I visit it each time I have a flight in or out of Frankfurt. I prefer staying there.

I do not know much about Heidelberg, outside the old town. but that is what I love about Europe: der aldstadts. You can walk back in time. Europeans admit to a sense of freedom when they move to the US. A sense of adventure, a new found freedom. Relief from the stifling, restrictive traditions of the old world. Maybe the grass is greener across the fence, but I visit Europe for its olde tyme feel. Cobblestone paths, streets freed from cars, a great, albeit, expensive train system and good public transprtation. Our attitude takes them aback. A 'hey how are ya?' takes them by surprise. Its normal here, but for them it is a pleasant surprise to which they are not quite sure how to react to. Years ago, one of my co-workers was an exchange student from France. We went out a couple of times. One time she asked me if I knew the girl who seated us at a restaurant. No, why do you ask. 'Because, you two are so friendly, its like you know each other for years!' Thats the way we are.

Ah, the bread is here. I spread the napkin. break off a bit and apply butter liberally. I am no margarine man. I eat rich and I eat good. Cheese on anything is always a good option, the only decision is what kind. My advice, eat good food, stay away from the microwave and the additives, eat fresh and stop early.

Ah, the pork chop is here. pounded, flattened and grilled golden brown, with rosti (a special request), and a salad sprinkled with kalamata olives, doused in a gorgonzola dressing, with freshly crushed black pepper, topped of with just-shaven flakes of parmesano reggiano... At this moment, very little else matters

More stuff they didn't teach you in school...
(After all, what's more important than teaching the Old Testament, as taught in San Francisco Schools, than 'In the beginning, there was Adam and Steve?')

The Legend of Kali-das

Many centuries ago, probably during the time of Asoka the Great, in the land that is now called India, lived a very intelligent young princess named Vid-ho-ta-ma, the Wise One.
Her intellect greatly disturbed the pundits, who wanted her to marry and behave like the other women of her time. She agreed that she would, but only if, the man they chose was more intelligent than she. Their search soon ended, for no man was found who could match her wits. So, they, the pundits, conspired to find the dumbest man in the realm, to be their pawn.

They found a wood-cutter who was sawing off the very branch of the tree that he was sitting on. Yes, Kalidas. You may have heard all this before, but I bet you don't know what ensued...

They approached him with their plan. They told him not to utter a word during his debate with Vidho-th-ma, who they told, that he, Kalidas, was the smartest man in the realm, but was deaf and mute, so that they, the pundits would have to interpret his actions and that she, Vidhoth-ma, would have to communicate in sign language

The day of the great debate arrived. The pundits from both sides were there, as were Kalidas and Vidhoth-ma.

Vidhoth-ma began the debate by holding up her index finger, indicating that God was One. Thinking what she meant was that she would pluck out his eye, Kalidas held out two fingers, indicating he would pluck out both her eyes! Vidhoth-ma turned to the pundits who purported to understand Kalidas. They stated, that Kalidas disagreed with her contention that Brahma was One, instead, stating that, he was a combination of Par (human) + Atma (soul), and thus was, Two. Next, Vidhoth-ma held out five fingers, indicating the five senses, the 'Panch-tantra.' Kalidas, thinking that she wanted to slap him, responded by showing his fist, thereby indicating that he would punch her! Yes, the pundits said, there are five senses, but they are all enclosed in one person, just like the five fingers are enclosed in a fist. Vidhoth-ma was flabbergasted and agreed to marry this strange, seemingly intelligent deaf-mute man.

Well, she found out soon enough and threw him out.

This so totally floored him that, as one version says, he cut off his tongue and spent the rest of his life meditating on Shakuntala, the goddess of knowledge.
He wrote two plays, the 'Abhigyan Shakuntalam', which was about his quest, and 'Meghdoot', which was about how he used the clouds to communicate with the goddess.

The latter, the Megh-doot or the 'Cloud Messenger'; was the first play, that was performed, in its original Sanskrit, at the open air theater near the Philosopher's Walk in Heidelberg, Germany, 1910-11.

  • Intro Updated Feb 26, 2003
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Reviews (2)

Comments (24)

  • Wendy67's Profile Photo
    Nov 30, 2007 at 12:42 AM

    When I was planning my first trip to Germany, I read in a magazine that Heidelberg was the "most romantic city" there. When I finally arrived in Germany, I asked about Heidelberg being a romantic city. "No......why would it be?" was the answer. Hmmmm :)

  • JessH's Profile Photo
    Apr 10, 2006 at 11:57 PM

    HI! I'm glad you enjoyed my "hometown", and discovered the joys of German beer :-) Greetings from Dubai / Jess

  • pigletsmom's Profile Photo
    May 23, 2004 at 7:16 AM

    More beautiful images and insight into one of my favorite cities. I have to get back to Heidelberg.

  • Jewels's Profile Photo
    Sep 22, 2003 at 6:50 PM

    Hmmm why won't you go back to the Cafe Weisser Schwan? I enjoyed reading The Legend of Kali-das :o)

  • Carmela71's Profile Photo
    Nov 5, 2002 at 9:57 AM

    Just great travelogues, I loved them!!! glad you had finally a good time!

  • jingle's Profile Photo
    Oct 16, 2002 at 8:49 PM

    nice story..:)

  • pepples46's Profile Photo
    Aug 1, 2002 at 8:37 PM

    Happy Birthday my Friend..Altstadt:-)

  • thinking's Profile Photo
    Jul 23, 2002 at 6:21 PM

    Thoughtful & Romantic

  • MissyWQ's Profile Photo
    Jul 6, 2002 at 9:59 AM

    Sanskrit is Greek to me.

  • Jun 13, 2002 at 9:52 AM

    Wonderful info


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