Heidelberg and the Eurovision Win

Earlier this month, we traveled to Heidelberg, about an hour away, to visit a close friend.

It’s an extremely popular tourist destination, famous for bridges that span the Neckar River and topped by a castle which dates back to the 14th century. Many Americans come for its famous university or for a number of U.S. military installations and headquarters. (Take a look at our photos of the castle (and the interesting apothecary museum inside) in the photo gallery.)

After a fantastic dinner at a country schnitzel house, we headed downtown and found ourselves at an Irish pub filled with Germans, who were watching the final episode of what seemed like Europe’s equivalent to “American Idol,” the Eurovision Song Contest. The crowd favorite was by far the German contestant, but Ben rooted so loudly for underdog Belarus that I think he won some people over.

The show, which was watched by over one million viewers across Europe, has been going on for three decades. It’s interesting to note that English was the common language among presenters and contestants … except for France. In the end, the German Lena Meyer-Landrut took home the prize. Fireworks blasted off in Berlin, Hamburg and Hanover, where people turned out to watch the show on giant TV screens and then partied well into the night.

Reuters published a story called Germany finally feels loved with Eurovision win, and Germany’s best-selling newspaper wrote, “Europe does like us!” First prize has been elusive for Germany over the years, even when commercially viable professional bands were competing, prompting allegations that other European nations have allowed political or historical hard feelings to lead their votes.

This year’s 19-year-old winner is a high school student from Hanover. According to the Reuters article, “Before this year, Lena had trained only as a dancer and had a few minor attempts at singing with a school band.” The win, against professional acts from across Europe, probably surprised her more than anyone: “I’m just floored. I can’t believe it. I just can’t frigging believe it.” Cute-as-a-button Lena has become a national celebrity, adored for her humble attitude, enthusiasm and short black dresses (which rather remind me of an 80s Robert Palmer video, but there you go…). Check out her song, Satellite, here:


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  1. Quite the interesting travel log. We’ll have to put a schnitzel house on our “to do” list. OK, pubs, too. Sounds like everyone was really into the song contest and good for the German girl winning! Am I the only one who’s never seen American Idol? xoxo

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