Heidelberg, ii.

We climbed up the steep and serpentine
Schlangenweg (Snake’s Way)
on the north side of the Neckar river
(after assuring my daughter
that the path was named for its layout
not for any prevalence of reptiles!)
we climbed the Schlangenweg,
between the walls of terraced vineyards,
to look across the Alte Brücke (the old bridge)—
down on the Schloss (the palace),
down on the Altstadt (the old town),
down on the church steeples—

noting that the Way of the Snake
leads up to the Way of the Philosophers
(the Philosophenweg).

I decided with some amusement
that though the biblical story of “the way of the snake”
led to the knowledge of good and evil,
there was no theology to be applied
to these paths.

Then I found out that the Philosophenweg
actually had nothing to do with philosophers,
but with students
(the words were synonymously used
when all students of every subject
began their studies in philosophy)—
so the origin of the path’s name comes from students
who, from the beginning, appreciated the two kilometer long path
overlooking the city
as a secluded, romantic opportunity for trysts.

And I decided there was still no theology to be applied!


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