The iPhone Tourist

Trip Start Oct 18, 2012
Trip End Dec 14, 2015

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Flag of Germany  , Baden-Württemberg,
Thursday, October 10, 2013

Howdy folks,

Adam crashed on our couch last night in a bit of unofficial couchsurfing. He had time to check out Heidelberg today and I thought I would try my hand at a bit of tour guiding. It also happened to be Aeneas' 2nd birthday and we surprised him with a digger which he loves. The little guy will become a mechanic or something!

After we had some breakfast, we jumped into Adam's rental car and returned it in Heidelberg. Adam is the first iPhone tourist that I have ever met. I have hypothesised about such people who travel with their smartphone in hand and plan their whole trip with it. Adam failed to disappoint me and turned out to be a very different traveller altogether than me. While I consider myself to be quite tech savvy, Adam takes it to a whole new level and even has an App that uses his iPhone camera to translate words. Definitely a different take on the whole thing. His approach was planning one day at a time, with only a general idea of what he wanted to accomplish. I see this plan having some very distinct benefits and drawbacks.

Obviously using the internet and a smartphone to research, book and navigate have their definite benefits. You can usually quickly and easily find available hostels, hotels, attractions and information using HostelWorld,, TripAdvisor or Google Maps. It also frees up space and saves weight carrying around books. On the other hand, you are pretty much reliant on it with no other backup plan if the thing gets stolen, broken or god forbid, runs out of battery! There are some benefits to having backup information in hardcopy.

Adam is also a living in the moment kind of guy which I think has more drawbacks. Sure you can always do sidetrips or detours, stay longer or shorter in cities if you have such flexibility, but that flexibility comes at a big price. First of all, Adam was travelling alone by rental car which is handy, but expensive. Parking and petrol are two things you don't have to pay when travelling by train or even bus. Secondly, planning on the run usually means half baked ideas and rushing through things. I don't like rushing around on holiday, Steffie and I usually see quite a bit regardless. It is possible to try and do TOO much.

Still, I guess if you have only three weeks and lots of ground to cover then it becomes somewhat of a necessity. On this particular day, I told Adam about the Thingstätte and he was keen to check it out. We all caught the tram into Heidelberg and Steffie headed off along to do the shopping thing. Adam and I climbed up the Philosophenweg and up to the Heiligenberg. There were a few clouds hanging over the hills which kind of made the place look a little enchanting. Hiking back through the woods, we came across plenty of chestnut shells which are damn prickly. It definitely signals the start of the colder weather.

We crossed over the Alte Brücke and met Steffie on the other side. After searching around the place for a good schnitzel, we stopped in at a restaurant on the Marktplatz, in which we were the only customers and the owners were Turkish. Neverthless, the food was cheap and good. There was still time to hike up to the Schloss Gardens and it cleared up enough to get a view over the valley.

Adam was keen to check out the Schloss and we got a bit ripped off on the tickets, but went in for a quick look anyways. Apparently they are only offering a ticket in conjunction with the Bergbahn so we decided to take it back down to the city to get our money's worth! It wasn't really worth our time because I could have walked down the 300 steps in 10 minutes and the Bergbahn took twice as long! Such is the tourist life.

We all walked back through the Altstadt to Bismarkplatz and caught the tram to the Hauptbahnhof. After Adam was safely on the train to Paris, it was time to head home.
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