Arriving at the Heidelberg train station from Frankfurt during my spring visit to the European Molecular Biology Lab, the first thing I noticed was its resemblance to Gothenburg’s central station. I was even more surprised when I stepped out of the station to see trams plying down the streets, looking exactly like the old trams still in use in Götet. The store sign, “dansk
jävel möbel” (danish furniture) even accentuated the similarity to Gothenburg’s shopping streets which tend to feature scandinavian designs.
Wandering further into the deeps of Heidelberg revealed its true character as a haven of academic institutions. Not only it has one of Europe’s oldest universities (Uni of Heidelberg, 1386), but it also hosts a number of world-class research facilities such as the Max Planck Institutes in Medical Research, Astronomy, Nuclear Physics not to mention the German Cancer Research Centre. And of course the lab that I was visiting.
So my impression of this sleepy european city in southwest Germany is simply like a cross over between two swedish cities, Gothenburg and Lund, the latter being an old university town as well.
Heidelberg has decent underground clubs. Literally underground in the case of one of the clubs we visited, aptly called, “The Cave.” The club has a sinister aura; the entrance being manned by someone who seemed to be employed as an undertaker of the city cemetery while part-timing as a club bouncer/cashier at night. Sorry for the poor quality but I had to be discreet in taking this shot from my mobile:
There is a tiny bar just behind him but the real action takes place in the cave down below accessible via a spiral, iron staircase. I did try to snap some photos but it was very dark and crowded and the photos I got were useless. Fortunately, I saw this one over the net so I can show you a part of the interior:
Photo credit: Lars Pind
The walls seemed to be carved out of limestones and it was easy to imagine vampire coffins tucked into them. Indeed I thought I saw someone sucking out the life out of a young woman. Fortunately, her moans revealed it was not the case at all. Or at least as far as I understood.