Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Beauty of Heidelberg

After a good night of rest, we made our way to the tour meeting spot for a half day trip with some other fellow travelers to view the town of Heidelberg. It was a sunny day and a nice cool temperature which made the journey very comfortable...all, except that is, for the bus. Ours was a small sized bus with narrow seats. We felt somewhat like sardines when we were all packed aboard, but we had a lovely German tour guide.
The journey takes about an hour and twenty minutes from Frankfurt, and along the way, we passed the exit for Darmstadt Germany where many of my ancestors were born and lived. It is a smaller town of 150,000 souls. We did not go through it, but just being in the vicinity made me think about the hours I have spent on tracing family trees. It is a good thing to know!
When we arrived in this very old city, we went immediately to a stop below the Castle of Heidelberg. Interesting to know, the Germans charge to use their toilets. That was not the case in England, but it is in Germany. I had been forewarned so we took change on our trip in preparation. Once this necessary stop was made, our bus climbed the high hill on which the castle stood. The structure has worn away with time and was not damaged during WWII surprisingly. However, there are still turrets standing and various buildings in the castle that remain. They are working to restore this ancient castle site. You could see a little of the gothic influence,19th century romanticism and the building in its original state goes back to the 1200 hundreds. Amazing statues adorn the front of the main portion of the building. All the streets in the courtyard are brick as well.
In one room, the people built a huge wine vat that could hold 220,000 liters of wine. How they built this out of solid oak inside the building is beyond my understanding. Of course, the most outstanding feature is the location overlooking the entire town of Heidelberg. We could see the large open area below the castle which used to be the moat. This provided extra defense against enemies.
Upon leaving our castle tour, we drove down into the old part of the city. Here narrow streets were closed to traffic so that tourists could move freely. The buildings were
very old, and the streets narrow. However, between the tourists and the college students who attend classes here, there was a large crowd of people enjoying the day and the biergarten.
After strolling along, we sat in some chairs and watched the world go by until it was time to leave.
Our trip home was pleasant and uneventful. So when we got back, we both enjoyed a nap.
We concluded our perfect day in Frankfurt by dining at a cafe which allowed seating on the street.
Tomorrow, we will board a train and travel of Munich to spend a few days. I will catch up with you all then. If I had better internet service, I could upload to Flickr but I have found that I am far too use to the convenience of the wireless internet in the USA. It works but only off and on. At least you get some updates. I pray you are all well and these little windows into our sightseeing adventure are a blessing. More tomorrow.....

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