Sunday, October 8, 2017

Visit to Heidelberg Germany

Today we took the train to Heidelberg to check it out.  It is about 2 1/2 hours by train from Basel, so a very easy trip.  Prices to take the train into Germany are really reasonable from Switzerland, and it is nice not to sit back and relax and enjoy the ride instead of figuring out how to get there by car.

We got into the city around noon, and our first stop was going to see something called Thingsgatte Heidelberg.  Unfortunately, there was a marathon taking place today and it was blocking the bus route to the Park.  It was a bit disappointing but we figured it will be a reason to revisit the area in the future.  Thingsgatte is an amphitheater that was built by the Nazis and where they met before the war.

We put our disappointment aside and headed to the Heidelberg Castle.  We took the tram to the base of the castle, and had to walk from there.  It is quite a hike to the top, but there is also an option of cable car to get there if needed.  We hate our children, so we made them walk.  It is REALLY steep.  And cobblestones.  It was interesting.

The castle was beautiful.  And huge.  We spent most of the afternoon walking around and taking it in.  There is a small charge to get into the castle, BUT we have a Museum Pass, and this castle is part of that, so we got in for free.  Score.

 View of Heidelberg from the Castle

There is a pharmacy museum as part of the castle, and we really enjoyed that.  Well, Mat and I enjoyed it.  It had re-creations of several apothecaries from over the last several years.  We couldn't get over how detailed they made the medicine holders.  They were really beautiful.

The castle also contains the largest wine barrel in the world.  It was built in 1751, but it is no longer in use.

This one, however, even though it is about half the size, is in use.  And it is still quite large.

After the castle we walked around Old Town for awhile.  They have a really great, and large, pedestrian only area filled with shops and great buildings.  We enjoyed seeing the Cookoo clocks in the different shops and two huge old churches.

Inside the church - family crests on the wall
 King and Queen from the 1400s buried in the church

We then headed across the old bridge and stopped to admire the Brass Monkey on the edge of the Bridge.  This bridge has featured a monkey since the 15th century.  It is meant to remind those who cross the bridge from either side to look over their shoulders to remind themselves where they came from.  Whether a Heidelberg citizen lived inside or outside the city, it reminded them that they were no better than their counterpart.

We did take a short hike on a path called Philosopher's Way.  It walks along the river and gives you a nice view of the city from the opposite side.  We didn't get as far as we would like, though, because it started to rain so hard, we had to seek shelter.   After 45 minutes, it didn't let up, so we gave up and headed back to town.  It was disappointing, but we will just have to come back and try again once the spring comes around.

We had dinner, and walked through Old Town some more, and then headed home on the train.  Another town ticked off our extensive list!

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