Friday, April 10, 2009

Heidelberg

We drove to Heidelberg last weekend.  It was about a 2 1/2 hour drive northwest - to the tip of the Black Forest.  There is an Army base in Heidelberg and many of our friends have been stationed in that area of Germany so they all know it well.  We had yet to visit so we decided to take advantage of the amazing weather we have been having and take a small trip to this old and historical city.  We arrived on a Friday and walked through the hustle and bustle of the streets to old town, a pedestrian only zone with cobblestone streets full of shops, restaurants, bakeries and people.  On Saturday we found the Army base (the PX for Brian, Arts and Crafts shop for me) and then headed to the Heidelberg castle which was beautiful and amazing.  We spent almost 2 hours up there walking around, taking pictures and exploring.  We stayed at the Crown Royal (which I HIGHLY recommend) and Luke loved living in a hotel room, being a hotel operator and swimming in the pool.  The hotel had a huge, delicious and partly "American" breakfast buffet. By "American", I mean pancakes, omelets, sausage links and bacon.  A European breakfast is traditionally breads with jelly, butter or nutella, select deli meats, yogurts and occasionally granola with milk.  Oh, and of course coffee, lots and lots of coffee.  We stayed for 3 days, 2 nights and had a great time walking around.  We'd love to go back and hit all the places we missed and try out some more restaurants - there ARE only so many meals one can eat in 2 days.  :)  


Fun Fact: Heidelberg is home to Europe's oldest university!  It was founded in 1386.  Karl Drais, the man who invented the bicycle in 1817, was a student there.  The University is known for academic excellence but despite this excellence, it was among the first to expel all of it's Jewish professors and students when the Nazi's arose to power. (wikipedia.org)



The old stone bridge was erected from 1786 to 1788.  There is a medieval bridge gate on the Old Town side of the bridge that is part of what was the original wall around the city. 


See the castle in the background?



At Vetter, one of the delicious restaurants at which we ate - we sat outside at the little cafe tables along the cobblestone street.


Crepes!
Outside a small cafe/ice cream shop

Kathe Wohlfahrt shop window

The beginnings of the Heidelberg castle fortress started in 1398.  In the 16th and 17th centuries, palace building were added to the fortress, making it a castle.  The castle and it's large garden were struck many times during the 30 years war and the Palatine War, but oddly enough were not struck during WWII. Lightening struck the castle in 1764 and in the late 1700s, the castle was used as a quarry, taking pieces of stone to build other buildings in Heidelberg! In 1800, Count Charles de Graimberg stopped this practice and tried to preserve as much of the castle as possible.  


View from the castle grounds into Heidelberg




This arch was part of the original wall around the castle within the castle grounds.
Inside the courtyard

One of the highlights for Luke, the fountain!
We dug out almost every penny and nickel we had (American and Euro) for Luke to throw into the fountain.




This wine barrel was made in 1781 and it can hold 58,100 gallons!  Supposedly, 130 oak trees were used in constructing it.  There are 4 large wine barrels in the castle cellars, this one is the largest, and that is Brian at the top! 
One of the beautiful flower stands - look at all those tulips!
Brian's humor.  LOL.  It literally translates to "drive lane" but you can do the 3rd grade American humor translation.  :)
See?  Enjoying a snack in the stroller.  Hannah is in her wrap on me.
Look at my big kid! He was in charge of his own suitcase and he thought it was the best!  And the sign behind him? Ausfahrt - it means exit or literally, "out drive".

2 comments:

MonsterBug Blankets said...

Mmmmm, we always ate at the Sean Og whenever we were in Heidelberg. Yum--fish and chips! I can't even tell you how many times we were there--it was always so nice. Thanks for all the pics!

:) Jen

Erin said...

what a beautiful adventure life is taking you on. I love your blog...and I also could taste those crepes at the crepe stand...YUMMMMMM!