Trip in Europe (5) Koln-St. Goar-Koblenz

October 31, 2005

Sep 23 Koln – St. Goar – Koblenz, DE

 

从Frankfurt出发往北,中午先到科隆(Koln or Cologne),唯一的景点:宏伟的科隆大教堂(火车站外一步之遥)。走马观花饶了一圈,除了"好大",没什么感觉。而且正午的阳光不适宜照相。不过这么大个建筑,就算光线合适,不爬到附近建筑的楼顶上,也拍不出什么好照片。所以草草抓了几张了事。倒是教堂里面的琉璃窗,人物事件刻画地精美无比。

 

今天的正餐是莱茵河(Rhine)航游。本来雄心壮志想乘完从科隆到美因茨(Mainz)的全程,甚至想猎艳摩泽尔河(Moselle)两岸的美景。在去科隆的火车上才发现,游轮都是龟速行驶的汽轮船。就算早上五点起来也不一定能乘完全程,而且我们时间所剩无多。所以改计划从科隆乘火车往回赶(往莱茵河上游)到小镇St. Goar 。然后乘游轮顺流而下到科布伦茨 (Koblenz)。

 

我们乘的是一条仿古的歌德号蒸汽桨轮船,可以在船内部观看蒸汽机和桨片在航行时激烈地运作场面。船上有多语种解说两岸的古堡和小镇。不过和莱茵河自身的美景相比,这些只是点缀而已,听过也就忘了。两岸不时有德国国铁的火车飞驰而过,几个小时前我们就是在火车里观看河中的景色。莱茵河中除了游轮,还通航装货的驳船。河中间有时会有一些渚洲,是飞禽的天然栖息地。至于傍晚莱茵河的景色,还是亲身经历一下为美。。。

 

我们3点左右上的船,8点到Koblenz。天已全黑,不过正好从船上浏览了夜色下的Koblenz古堡。上岸后没几步我们找了一家family operated 餐馆,从店名(Wu*** Vineerard?) 和菜单上看主业是酿酒。我们坐露天的座位,可以看到对岸的灯火。一位四十多岁非常有风度的德国妇女(应该是老板娘)礼貌地替我们拿来坐垫和菜单。我们点的Entree都是鱼 (I wish I had remembered the entree names) 。看上去很简单,鱼片沾上dressing,和番茄蔬菜一起夹入抹上黄油面包片,就是一个sandwich。可是当我咬下第一口,我发誓这是我吃过最美味的西方菜肴之一。看似未经加工的生鱼片其实是微带咸味的熟品,但又不失生品的鲜嫩。Dressing微酸、不油腻,面包片烘烤地恰到好处。配和老板娘推荐的家酿白葡萄酒令我胃口大开。于是出乎店家意料地点了第二道Entree,一样地美味。尤其是side dish-土豆块中竟然有小核桃的flavor让我至今回味不已。能撞到这么地道美味的食品,真是需要一些运气。btw,三道Entree加饮品才30欧。要不是第二天还要动身去Munich,美酒佳肴加上星空下莱茵河畔的夜景,我真会说服mimi在Koblenz住一晚再走。

 

attached is a topo image of the most beautiful part of the Rhine River: from Bingen (bottom right) to Koblenz (upper left)

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Trip in Europe (4) Stuttgart-Heidelberg

October 31, 2005
Sep 22 Stuttgart – Heidelberg, DE
 
从Frankfurt往南两个多小时的(火)车程就到了Stuttgart。一出火车站不远就是著名的斯图加特市政厅广场。德国人正一堆堆散坐在广场边闲聊或在草地上休憩。(懒虫们一般都是睡到九、十点钟才会起床,所以往往午后抵达游览地点)。作为德国西南(工业/军事)重镇,斯图加特广场的气势颇为宏大,中央高耸青铜Jubilee雕像,周边散布喷泉,观景台。市政厅本身呈倒“凹”字行,口前一对公狮和雄鹿石雕对立,房檐上林立神话人物。漫步穿过广场,西北角有一个玻璃钢结构的现代艺术博物馆,从内部的楼梯上可以往外平视远山和广场全景。紧接着的是林荫下颇为宽敞的商业街、街中央的艺人和流浪汉。一些古建筑和教堂居左手侧,在通往这些旧址的斜径上能发现欧洲的顶极品牌专卖店。在德国冰淇淋的诱惑下,我们往城市深处再走了半个小时后才折道返回。途经一处颇像纽约SOHO的dining area,餐馆(大多是意大利馆子)一溜派开,桌椅占据了路中央最显著的位置,只留出两旁的行人便道和中间供侍者穿行的空间。一家馆子祭出的是真皮沙发,在这条三、四百米长的桌椅链中颇显特色。回程途中还经过了席勒、恺撒大帝I的雕像和一些印在墙上的壁画。最后回到广场侧面的歌剧院,几个小孩在剧院前的湖边喂天鹅。懒虫往往也是馋虫,所以又在火车站外买了两个ice cream才匆匆赶往下一站 — Heidelberg。btw, 我非常喜欢斯图加特的市标:一匹腾越而起的奔马。
 
海德堡位于斯图加特和法兰克福之间,因此我们早上就让DB station的工作人员给我们打印出三、四点钟回程途经海德堡的所有班次。出了火车站,quite surprisingly, 除了一个巨大的金属怪物迎接我们,没有任何古迹可言。问了当地人才知道我们距要去的旧城(Altstadt)还有几里路,而火车站所在地是战后重建的新城 (后来总结出每个德国城市都有新城旧城之分,旧城保留了二战前的古建筑风格)。那个似驴似马的抽象艺术品是海德堡新城的标志– The S-Printing Horse in front of the Print Media Academy of the Heidelberger Druckmaschinen Inc. 我们乘了几站Tram,在Bismarckplatz下车时已是黄昏时分。通往海德堡大学和城堡(Schloss)的上坡道上人流渐多。由于两旁建筑颇高,且这条五、六丈宽的人行道长而直,走在其中感觉仿佛所有的夕阳都被聚集到了这条沟渠中。不少海德堡人悠闲地坐在路边的咖啡馆外,眯着眼欣赏直射而来的余辉。四处散射的金黄不安但缓慢地稀释着时间。也许从几世纪前开始,一杯用金色夕阳调出的褐色咖啡就已成为每个海德堡人生活的必需品之一。
 
mimi曾参观过海德堡,所以由她带路,略过了Schloss,直奔内卡河(Neckar)对岸的哲学家之路(Philosophenweg)。我们过河时,夕阳正缓缓没入地平线。留恋间,古桥上风蚀的高大雕塑已渐渐地抖尽身上的点点余辉。天际也只剩几片亮光,在这个时候登哲学家之路是需要一点胆量的。哲学家之路是一条崎岖漫长的上山石级,四周及顶部往往由藤蔓所笼罩,狭窄处只容一人独行。此时已无任何游客,途中只遇到一个身着黑衣的吸烟女人独自下山而来。走走停停,半个小时后才跋涉完,来到山腰上的一条“大路”。这条平时应该游客满盈的观赏路背靠一片由半腰高的石块栏起的森林区(Philosophengartchen),临内卡河的一面可以俯瞰对岸海德堡旧城全景。这时天已经全黑了,在对岸万家灯火中,兀立而出的海德堡大学和古堡格外显出中世纪的神秘气息。留连不久,mimi便催着沿内卡河下山。途中偶尔会有急促的脚步声从背后传来,经过身边才知道只是跑步锻炼下山的市民。这段渺无人迹的下山行程大概有半个多小时,要不是途中遇到几个学生在路边camping,点起蜡烛,估计mimi坚持不了多久就会Jump到我身上来。由于坡势很缓,所以当我们走到一片高级别墅区时,其实还在山中。不过至少别墅房间和门口的灯光已经能把道路完全照亮了。mimi也有了心情对住宅的装饰和风格加以点评。这些别墅不仅依山傍水,而且从规模和精致程度来看都是由非常富有的人家居住。之间还杂居着海德堡大学理论物理和哲学学院。不竟让我神往,是否应该考虑马上转行改读理论物理或者将来买一幢别墅在内卡河畔安渡晚年。That night, my mind was so occupied by such ideas that I didn’t remember much afterwards. I was only aware that we got back to Frankfurt pretty late, way after midnight.
 
p.s.在每个城市的Tourist Center或者DB station的书报亭可以买到5欧一本的小册City Guide to *** (English version)。内有详细的城市历史和景观介绍。铜板印刷,照片颇丰。最实用的是夹叶里市中心景观walking map,规划出了最佳的步行路线。不一定要亦步亦趋地照着上面的route走,但对于到哪个方向去转一圈来说还是非常有指导价值。所以只要能买到这套City Guide的城市,我都收集了起来,累记有(Frankfurt, Stuttgart, Heidelberg, Cologne, Munich, Wurzburg, Salzburg, 缺Freiburg)。
 
attached is a Heidelberg topo image. The old town is in the narrow strip southside (lower part in the picture) of the Neckar river. The Philosophenweg is in the green mountain and forrest area (upper part).

Trip in Europe (3) Frankfurt

October 27, 2005
Sep 21-23 Frankfurt, DE
 
It took about 4 hours from Freiburg to Frankfurt by IE train. The Hotel Aller was easy to find, just two blocks away from the Hauptbahnhof., which was operated and owned (inherited from her parents) by a 60ish German granny. A typical old German with mighty minds and believes. Our room was nice and capacious, with almost everything, (floor, bathroom, kitchen and furniture) renovated recently. For its convenient location, it’s much better than I expected, though not cheap per se. Just around the corner was a small Chinese grocery store. We bought some fresh vegis and fast food for the late nights, after having a terrible and expensive Korean "cuisine" the first night at the neighborhood.
 
The plan was radiating out from Frankfurt. So we didn’t spend too much time in the city. Half a day tops the total amount. However, it’s a rare and unique experience in Germany to walk in such a modern city like Frankfurt. Being a financial center, suit and tie are the standard dress code around the skyscrapers, which are centered around the Hauptbahnhof. Streets were wide and clean, mixed with circles featuring statues or sculptures of the famous German figures like Goethe and Schiller. (Somehow it reminded me the streets in Washington D.C. in a certain way.) One or two miles north is the famous and gorgeous Opera House, which highlights the historical and aesthetic taste of the city. Inside the narrow street southwards finds the Luxury shops like LV and DG, and luxurious shoppers driving Lamborghini (might be due to the International Auto show in town). A string of museums lies along the south shore of the Main River. I wouldn’t use the word magnificent to describe the museums as most of them were not big at all and trenched deep behind gardens and trees. Nevertheless, the botanic environment around the architecture is intriguing enough by itself. We must have, fortunately though, missed the local tourist season since lots of sights were under renovation. Hence flea markets flourished along the river bank in front of the museums. Turkeys and Arabians were touting about their half-century old goods. We wandered through and grabbed some drinks from the Turkish "boat bar", anchored and serving at the river bank. By the lure of icecream, we also covered the Roman Square, which is nice but not too unique btw.
 
attached is a Frankfurt topo image, the area we explored. Hauptbahnhof can be clearly seen from the map.

Trip in Europe (2) Freiburg

October 27, 2005
Sep 17-21 Freiburg, DE
 
Freiburg is a nice little town in the southwest corner of Germany. Although it’s proclaimed the sunniest city in Germany, the weather’s pretty cold during our arrival and lasted for almost the whole stay in Freiburg. Luckily not much rain fall, except for a rough shower highlighting the twilight of my first day. Mimi joined me on Sep17 en route from Dusseldorf. Poor little girl, I missinformed her the weather condition…
 
The Hotel we lived in is family operated. Although the physical condition of the room is not all that great, the breakfast is superb! Freshly baked bread, cereial, hot steamed egg, bacon, suasage etc… It’s just family style delicious.
 
We went to the Holy Mass in the Munster Church on Sunday afternoon. Although don’t know a damn word about German during the ceremony, we received and ate the Holy body from the Bishop. It’s a very nice Mass.
 
From Sep. 19-21 then, I was at the ESMRMB workshop: Diffusion–from basic physics to exploration of microstructure, hosted at the University of Freiburg Hopital. And Mimi was out shopping, partly due to the weather and partly… The rest of the time we just wandered around the town, taking some pictures and wasting away some time. Didn’t go to the castle nor the black forest, probably because both of us were tired. We left Freiburg right after I finished my last day lecture.
 
Btw, it’s said Kaiserstuhl, the village next to Freiburg, is probably the only place in Germany that can produce some drinkable wine according to the French. We didn’t go there or cross the border to the nice little French town: Colmar to verify if we should trust the French or not.
 
Attached is a Freiburg Topo image from Google earth. Freiburg: up right; Mulhouse: down  left; Colmar: up left. The yellow border line is right on top of the river. 

Trip in Europe (1) Freiburg

October 20, 2005

Sep 15-16, St. Loius to Freiburg, DE

Sitting in the a small lounge of the  airport, I listlessly looked straight ahead, feeling exhausted. It’s a groomy day here in Mulhouse, the French branch of the EuroAirport. The weather perfectly harmonized this confusing and tiresome journey for which I was supposed to be in the Switzerland branch, Basel ten hours ago. My muddy brain still remembered first being bumped onto Chicago because of air traffic regulation to Boston, then getting stuck in O’Hare and Heathrow, Lodon for four hours each. It’s surely not a pleasant trip. The Euroairpot is very small, at least true for the Mulhouse. The incapacious room, though not crowded at all, soon made me uncomfortable to breath inside. So I stepped out, sitting in a stone bench and faithfully waiting for the airport-Freiburg shuttle to take me to the Freiburg railway station, without any desire or energy to wander anywhere. No appetite either, not even for a cup of coffee in the a nice chinese cup and tray with sterlin silver spoon that the two French airport staffs leisurely brought with them, sipping away their afternoon break.

 

PS. surprisingly, there’s a French town also named St. Louis next to the Mulhouse airport.