Gute Reisen

Gonna lock you up in school jail.

My epic birthday post is taking longer to get done than I thought, so here's a little detour I took in Heidelberg. Just another fascinating little German side trip.

Just a quick bit from the end of my time in Heidelberg, the day I left I had enough time in the morning to go on a little tour through the university museum of Germany's oldest university. The 3 Euro ticket covered the extremely mediocre museum, the incredible grand lecture hall, and the Studentkarzer. When I walked up to the lecture hall the tour guide was just finishing her tour. She was leading a Korean guy, and speaking to him in loud, slow English. As I walked in she asked for my ticket, and I though I detected a little irritation that I had missed the tour and she'd have to start over, but I responded in German, and she seemed happy enough to redo the tour auf Deutsch. I followed everything she said, and we made some small talk, she asked what I did, etc. The lecture hall was gorgeous, and I would have liked to have set the tripod up and taken some pictures, but the woman really did seem to want to get back downstairs. So I followed her down and as we passed the ticket desk she said to her cowoker, "Hier wir haben der Regiesseur aus Texas." Here we have the director from Texas. I laughed and shucked and jived a little before grabbing my camera and heading to the main attraction the "Studentkarzer."

The university of Heidelberg had legal authority over their students, and so they installed a small jail in one of the buildings. In the documentation for the tour I read that common infractions were singing loudly on the streets at night, insulting policemen or letting the pigs and piglets out. Sentences ranged from 24 hours to 4 weeks. The cells could be opened at any time by the prisoners so they could visit each other, attend classes within the building, and work on what became a grand tradition, graffiti. After a while it became a badge of honor to be locked away for a period, and visits from un-incarcerated students for parties were a regular occurrence. Traditionally a prisoner was only required to eat bread and water for the first 24 hours of their prison term, and then they could have anything that they could get someone to bring in. Including beer. 

As I stood at the top of the stair between the cells I suddenly imagined that this could have been the birthplace of pizza delivery. 

It was a wonderfully strange detour, and I was lucky, I had the entire jail to myself to explore, photograph and enjoy.