Castles & Fires & Gummy Bears

You might ask what gummy bears and fires have in common.  Or what fires and castles have in common. Or what gummy bears have to do with castles. If you did, those would be good questions to ask. And I might feel like weaving the answers into little tales of majesty on woe.


In the southwest quarter of the country, there once was a glorious castle on a beautiful green hillside overlooking the valley and its river.

No one knows for sure who built this castle or when (estimated between 14th and 17th century), but it is believed to have a spell cast on it (I made that part up) because neither man nor mother earth could cause it to disappear. Many powerful kings and captains claimed it over the centuries. Many powerful princes and generals bombed it. Lightning bolts struck it. Nothing could make it go away.

Though in despair and ruin, but in good preserving hands, glory and enchantment are still part of the castle today. Its grandeur is seen from far away,

but after you walk many moments along the busy Haupstrasse shopping district–having taken in endless unfamiliar sights and sounds–the thing that manifests as you reach the open courtyard at Grabengasse will take your breath away.

It is at this moment when you realize the castle is not just an image in a photograph. Its nobility is seen more clearly in the detail of thousands of hand made stones. And the enchantment might call your name, whispering:

“Come. See why I still stand.”

And if you don’t pay a visit at that moment because you’re weary from a long day’s journey across the ocean, you will return. You will return later to understand why the town performs a ceremony to represent flames.


If you plan to spend time in a foreign country it is advisable to learn some common phrases spoken there. So far I can understand and/or say the following in German.

1. hallo = hello

2. tschus = bye

3. danke = thanks

4. danke schoen = thank you

5. guten morgen = good morning

6. guten tag = good day

7. sehr gut = very good

Other than those, there is a word I’ve heard enough that I had to look it up.

8. suss = sweet

They’re referring to Woody, who is very sweet indeed and is adapting very well.

If you can’t tell how happy he is with his new squeaker ball, seeing him play with it will leave no question and entertain you for a long time. 

But there is one word I should have learned an hour previous to this Juliet-ish moment…

There I am on the second story, relaxing in the sun and enjoying the view. Waiting for my Romeo to come rescue me.

“But don’t you have a balcony, Juliet? Why are you at a window instead of your balcony?”

Well, because Juliet’s Romeos are at the front and happened to be clad in heavy black uniforms, riding in a giant red chariot with blaring sirens.

That German word I probably should have learned an hour earlier is FUERE!

The only thing is I wouldn’t have heard the word in German or English through the corridors of this concrete made building. There was no fire alarm. I did hear the buzzer to my apartment. I even answered it, but nobody answered.

Fuere story To Be Continued because it deserves its own post.


I previously mentioned that our apartment is owned by a family who runs a hotel. As a result, we have many perks as their tenants such as cleaning ladies who come tidy up our Mini Haus (my new name for the little corner apartment) three times a week. It’s wunderbar!

As part of their routine, the ladies put these packages of mini gummy bears on our pillows.

actual size

Last night at 10:30 we were given a room at the Engelhorn Hotel just up the street while the owners assess the fire damage and how to proceed. And after a crazy and nearly traumatic evening, seeing the little packets of gummy bears on our pillows were a welcomed sight. Who knew gummy bears could be so charming?


More charm and enchantment ensues this Saturday as we witness the lighting of the Heidelberg Castle. It happens three times a summer. We’ll sit near the Neckar river and watch the structure 300 feet above us light up and fireworks explode over the water in remembrance of the fires that tried to destroy the fortress that would never fully surrender.

And that’s how castles and fire and gummy bears know each other by association.

Did I mention our landlords are awesome? As in free breakfast awesome.

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