Out of the Black Forest, we headed for Heidelberg & that was where we planned to stay the night.
To see our experience in the Black Forest, Lake Titisee – Germany, click the link below:
Germany – Black Forest
First thing we did upon deciding to visit Heidelberg, was to acquire transport…
|It’s good to be bad!
Tired of following public transport schedules, getting a car was much more feasible where we could do things at a more leisurely pace.
The many rest stops along the way proved essential to refill and restock – both men & machine!
(Church of the Holy Ghost)
The Heiliggeistkirche church is only one of many large and small churches in Europe, but definitely the one with a most interesting history.
During the dark ages, it was the shelter of the Bibliotheka Palatina, Germany’s oldest library. The Bibliotheka was stolen and brought to Rome but eventually returned in pieces.
Today, parts of these relics can be visited in the University Library, situated close to the old university.
And with that, we’re finally here: Heidelberg!
|A diner in Germany
Before we continue to take in the sights this beautiful town had to offer, we pop-ed by the local diner for a late lunch / early dinner – we were starving!
Here at the local diner…
It was pretty empty – which was a good thing! =P
Heidelberg is a city in the region of the Rhein-Neckar, south-west Germany.
Rhein-Neckar means: River Neckar and Heidelberg lies on a steep valley in the Odenwald.
It is the fifth-largest city in the State of Baden-Württemberg.
Heidelberg is a popular tourist destination due to its romantic and picturesque cityscape, including Heidelberg Castle and the baroque style Old Town.
It is no secret that Heidelberg is a jewel among German travel destinations.
Located in the Neckar river valley right where the legend-rich Odenwald – the Forest of Odin, opens up and stretches towards the plains of the massive Rhine Valley.
Heidelberg is also home to the oldest university in Germany. The Ruprecht-Karls-Universität is a renowned institution where faculties for Medicine, Law and Natural Sciences are considered to be among the best in Germany.
Generally speaking, Heidelberg is an academic city with a long and rich history and is similar in many ways to cities such as Cambridge or Oxford – for example: Heidelberg and Cambridge in England, are twin cities.
During WWII, the city was almost completely spared allied bombings which destroyed many of Germany’s larger inner cities. As a result, Heidelberg has retained its baroque charm of narrow streets, picturesque houses and of course the world-famous Heidelberger Schloss, which are the castle ruins.
After World War II, the US Army built large barracks at the southern end of the city.
Heidelberg’s inhabitants thus include not only students at the university but also nearly US citizens, almost all of them soldiers and their families who eventually settled in.
With hundreds of thousands of tourists flocking to the city annually, Heidelberg is truly a culturally diverse and international destination, despite its small size.
Over the years, Heidelberg has attracted numerous artists, intellectuals and academics from all over Europe and has sometimes been referred to as Germany’s unofficial intellectual capital.
Famous people who have lived and worked in the city include the poets Joseph von Eichendorff, Jean Paul, Goethe and Iqbal, scientists such as Bunsen and Kirchhoff, philosophers such as the founder of the “Illuminati” order von-Knigge, atheist Ludwig Feuerbach, existentialist Karl Jaspers, political theorist Hannah Arendt, architect Albert Speer, and many more.
An interesting, short but sweet tidbit which I happened to come across..
Mark Twain wrote in A Tramp Abroad:
…Out of a billowy upheaval of vivid green foliage …rises the huge ruin of Heidelberg Castle, with empty window arches, ivy-mailed battlements, moldering towers—the Lear of inanimate nature—deserted, discrowned, beaten by the storms, but royal still, and beautiful.
(The Old Town of Heidelberg)
The oldest part of the city, the Altstadt sits just below the Schloss. It extends along the river for a mile, with Karlstor on one end, and Bismarckplatz on the other.
In between, is a wonderful combination of old and new buildings, narrow streets, market squares, arts, history, science, shopping, eating and relaxing.
The Hauptstraße is the main road through the Altstadt, and is where most of the shopping streets are centered.
Here is where we were going to spend the night. After checking in and leaving our luggages at the concierge, we headed out again and took a nice leisurely night-time stroll around town.
|Heidelberger Altstadt, the most beautiful Old Town we’ve visited (and another “real-world location” of my favorite game: Final Fantasy 8) – see link below!
Other points of interest that can be found in the Altstadt include the Marktplatz, the Kornmarkt, Heiliggeistkirche the Palatinate Museum, Synagogue Square, The University, Marstall, Heuscheuer, the Friedrich Memorial, Karl Theodor’s Brücke.
Karl Theodor Brücke
(The Old Bridge of Heidelberg)
The first Heidelberg bridge was built by Karl Theodor, which explains it’s official name “Karl Theodor’s Brücke”.
Built in 1788 by Elector Karl-Theodor, destroyed by the Nazis in 1945 and rebuilt in 1947..
Altogether, the bridge was rebuilt 9 times; more than often, a victim of flooding.
The bridge now was finally rebuilt completely in stone and supported by 8 posts. The double-armed bridge gate comes from the late middle ages. The towers served the bridge keeper not only as an apartment, but also as a dungeon for prisoners.
Notes in history show that in 1945, both rooms above the gateway were refurbished as artistic apartments
|The Karl Theodor Bridge!
Numerous statues adorn the north and south sides of the bridge. For example, in the south is a standing portrait of the baroque baron surrounded by the river gods of the Rhine, Donau, Neckar and Mosel rivers.
In the north, Karl Theodor Brücke is brought in connection with Paellas Athenae. The 3 female figures at the foot of the bridge personify piety, justice, agriculture and trade.
|The old bridge of Heidelberg, Germany
We visited this bridge in the evening. There were lots of tourists here. The bridge is beautiful and gives you an awesome view of the Heidelberg castle, especially post sunset when the castle is illuminated with lights.
Another statue, the Brückenaff – the Bridge Ape: is the favorite animal of the Heidelberger.
Dont forget to get a picture with the Brückenaff with your head inserted inside the Bridge Ape’s face mask!
It’s a ‘must-do’ here! I have no idea why, but it’s one of the weird poses people love to do when visiting famous landmarks..
(Just like how we always love “supporting” the Leaning Tower of Pisa; in Italy – for example.)
A poem found alongside the Bridge Ape, might have something to do with it, it reads as follows:
“What are you gaping at me so?
Didn’t you see the old monkey of Heidelberg?
Maybe then you will find more of my equals.”
|The Bridge Ape will grant you wisdom
Anyway, by now I’m sure you figured – this bridge is one of Heidelberg’s most famous landmarks.
Heidelberger Schloss is a famous ruin in Germany and landmark of Heidelberg.
The castle ruins are among the most important Renaissance structures, north of the Alps.
The Heidelberger Palace was once the symbol for the Romantic era.
The Kings courtroom especially, being very grand in spite of it’s gothic interior, dates all the way back to the year 1934.
|Heidelberger Schloss, a castle in the distance
Heidelberger Schloss can be seen in the background here, although I’m not sure if my camera managed to do it justice..
It’s getting late…
We’re getting tired…
And this is our room for the night…
Which can only mean one thing.
With this, I end this post with a goodnight to all of you!
Check back to see where we go next!!
Woah..huh?? Sunrise…? It’s morning already??!
Haha!! So soon..? No way!!
Sorry about that! That’s actually a picture preview of the next day! =P
It was a great morning & we were blessed with beautiful weather so stay tuned!
———————————————————————————————–Interested to follow our travels around Europe?
Click the links above to join us from the very beginning, where we first started out in Austria, to Liechtenstein & now, Germany!
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