We’ve been in Germany for just under a month now, but we’ve already celebrated our first holiday here.
Easter is a big deal in Europe, so Sam got a four-day weekend – and so did the rest of Heidelberg! It was really refreshing to see everyone, including most shopkeepers and restaurant workers, get a few days of rest for the holiday.
We also went on lots of hikes, and some of Sam’s friends came to visit.
On Good Friday, most of the city’s shops and restaurants were closed, and the weather was perfect.
Naturally, we joined the Germans in the national pastime of, “Spaziergang,” or going for a stroll. More accurately, we climbed straight up a mountain, and I sweat through my clothes, but whatever.
The point is that Sam and I took the so-called “stairway to heaven” all the way up to Königstuhl, or “The King’s Seat,” at the top of the one of the hills surrounding Heidelberg.
From there, we had an excellent view of the city, and luckily, a couple of restaurants were open. We ended up having a cold drink in a hotel restaurant and purchasing sausage and a hearty stew from a nearby kiosk.
Getting so hot climbing the mountain, cooling down with a drink, then warming up again with a stew felt practically like a spa day. Afterward, we picked our way back down the mountain and had coffee and cake at one of our favorite cafes (open for the sole purpose of selling Osterlamm and other Easter treats).
I don’t know if it was the holiday or what, but I also found Germans extra friendly on Good Friday. And I’m even starting to find using German in everyday life a little bit easier.
I can now get (almost) all the way through a transaction without using English!
Saturday was just Saturday in Germany because the day was a weekend, but it wasn’t an official holiday.
After spending an Easter in Vienna in 2016, I was hoping there would be some Easter markets in Heidelberg, but we had no such luck.
Still, we went to a few local markets to snack on a sausage, listen to music, and pick up some ingredients for our Easter dinner. Sam wanted to have a traditional lamb dish, but I don’t like lamb, so we compromised and searched for rabbit meat (still Easter-y, right? Dark, according to my friend Kyle).
Miraculously, we found some rabbit at a bustling market in Neunheim – despite getting lost in translation with a friendly butcher.
At the market, we also picked up a fresh bundle of Suppengrün (soup greens) and some organic, homegrown eggs that ended up being extra flavorful and delicious. We also purchased some odds and ends at the grocery store on the way home and spent some quality time together before going back out.
Later in the day, we met Sam’s friends in town, grabbed a crepe, and walked up to have an Aperol Spritz on the castle grounds. It was so nice getting to know everyone (one member of the group lives in Heidelberg!) and seeing the castle courtyard up close and personal.
Side Note: Is the Heidelberg Castle Worth the Entrance Fee?
I’m not sure if the castle entrance fee is worth the cost – just because the free bits of the castle are already so cool – but paying the entrance fee is the only way to see the world’s largest wine barrel, and that is something to behold.
Also, if you’re planning to grab a drink, coffee, or meal at the one of the restaurants inside the castle wall, you can just think of it as a surcharge to a special dining experience.
After our fancy castle drinks, we ended up visiting the German Pharmacy Museum (which inside the castle walls) and staying around the castle until the sun set and it got cold.
When we got home, I cooked a simple, homemade sausage dish and we watched a movie.
Easter Saturday wasn’t bad at all.
Easter Sunday, on the other hand, was a sleepy affair. Everything was closed. We were tired from all our exploring the previous days, and we just stayed home and enjoyed the Easter basket full of treats we had compiled throughout the week.
So. Much. Chocolate.
In addition to sweets, we had bread with terrine, pate, oil, and vinegar for lunch and made our special rabbit stew for dinner. The stew was vinegary, rich, and packed with flavor. We’re still enjoying the leftovers.
We barely left the apartment on Easter Sunday, but we did go on one walk to our local waterfall in an effort to counteract our treats. Despite our best efforts, we ended up having a lazy day and night, and it couldn’t have been better.
The laziness of Easter Sunday lingered into Monday morning.
Despite our late start, we were able to hike to the top of another mountain in Heidelberg and have snacks in an old, Pagan amphitheater surrounded by wildflowers, bees, butterflies, and lizards.
We also climbed a nearby tower to get an insane view of Heidelberg and its castle – and we saw an old, unsettlingly deep mineshaft.
Unfortunately, we couldn’t read too much into the area’s history because all the signs were in German, but the amphitheater and surrounding attractions were associated with a renaissance of Paganism, as well as Nazi Germany, so the trip was really interesting.
Afterward, we still had time for gelato, and that night, we went to a Peruvian dinner and drinks with our friends.
As much as I love Sam, it was nice to have people to talk to that weren’t Sam.
It was also nice to see our new friends again and get a little bit closer. I love it when laughs get louder and hugs get longer. I love togetherness. I wish we could have more of it.
A couple of the people we met also live in Heidelberg, so hopefully we can establish friendships moving forward.
I can’t wait to have an apartment, so we can invite people over for dinner and drinks.
I feel like being unsettled is a big obstacle for me right now. I’m dying to set up my desk and decorate my space and really get my roots in, so I can start branching out.
In short, I want more weekends like this, and I think that’s something we can accomplish with the right tools. In the meantime, Easter was a great tool for bringing people together and celebrating all things Spring and friendship.
There’s also a lovely poem about taking a walk on Easter (Goethe’s Osterspaziergang), which I’ve included below:
This week, we move from one temporary place to another – and this one is further outside of town.
Moving never gets any less stressful, and I will miss our little spot next to the mountains, a waterfall, and five minutes from the castle.
Nevertheless, I am excited to see a new part of town and discover what the future holds.
Also, we’re traveling back to Los Angeles at the end of the month to go to our friends' wedding and pick up little monster Rizzo, so that’s something to look forward to, as well.
It’s been a lovely holiday, and I’m happy I got to share it with you. Thanks so much for tuning in.