Travels

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

RHINELAND TO HEIDELBERG, GERMANY





  Next on the leg we took a drive through the scenic Rhineland in the morning. We took a Rhine River cruise and enjoy splendid scenery including the Lorelei rock. Next, we drove into Germany's oldest university town, Heidelberg, nicely located at the confluence of the Neckar and Rhine Rivers, for a short visit. In the afternoon, we then traveled by way of the Autobahn into Switzerland for two overnights in the Lucerne area.


The group took a cruise south along the Rhine River towards the town of Rudesheim, along a stretch of the water known as the Rhine Valley or Middle Rhine. They listened to audio commentary about the UNESCO-listed area, hearing fun facts about the famous river’s geology, history and sights. The journey took roughly two hours, and the route passes nearly 30 castles, fortresses and ruins as well as vineyards and pretty half-timbered villages.


They passed Kurtrierische Burg, one of the region’s more imposing castles, and then docked at Rudeshiem main pier.  Me and Kim took the opportunity to jump in the coach and see the attractions on the way to Rudesheim with a couple of hours of exploring the town. Aside from Bavaria, the Rhine River region has to be one of the most beautiful areas in Germany. Rudesheim, has that kitschy German fairytale feel that you crave when visiting Germany, but it also boasts some spectacular views.We wondered the streets and enjoyed the peace and quiet from the group. The tour group rejoined us and we all jumped back in the coach and headed to Heidelberg.





Heidelberg is a pretty city that actually reminded us of Salzburg: about the same size and population, a large castle with great views overlooking a river spanned by several bridges, lots of pretty churches. It really seemed a bit of a déjà vu, with the exception that buildings in Salzburg were mostly white with black roofs versus the ones in Heidelberg which have reddish roofs.


One of our highlights was the Philosophenweg (Philosopher’s way), a path on the hills on the northern side of the city. The path is lush with greenery and gardens and has great views over the Old Town and the castle. We walked it straight away and thought Heidelberg was one of the prettiest places we’ve ever seen.


 







Twelve million visitors a year can't be wrong! Heidelberg is one of Germany's most beautiful cities. Picturesquely located on the banks of the river Neckar, for many tourists, it is the epitome of romanticism.

Ideal location

The bridge, the old town center, the castle - this panoramic view has fascinated and enchanted poets, painters and philosophers. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe wrote over 200 years ago: "One might say the city, with its location and environment, is somewhat ideal."

Old Bridge

The Old Bridge is one of the city's landmarks. There was a wooden bridge at this spot across the Neckar as far back as 1284, but it was regularly washed away by high waters. In 1788, this stone bridge was constructed instead. It leads to the old town center and up to the castle.

World famous ruin

Towering above the city is the castle of Palatine counts. In the 17th century, it was destroyed by French troops, and all that remains now is a ruin. But it is this aura of transience that makes this place so attractive.

Romantic backdrop

Heidelberg Castle is undisputedly the main attraction of the city. At the end of the 19th century, the magnificent state rooms were restored, and they can be toured to this day. But nearly as exciting for tourists are the ruins.

Cosy old town center

The town center dates back to the Middle Ages, though most of the house façades are Baroque. Much to tourists' delight, there are lots of small cafes, restaurants and shops. This picture book town is particularly popular with visitors from the US and Japan.

Animal mascot

As far back as the 15th century, documents mention a monkey on the Old Bridge. Today's bronze figurine was erected in 1979 and has since become a favorite motif for photographs. Local legend says that if you touch the figurine you'll return to Heidelberg.

Romantic bursts of light


During the summer, fireworks over the castle attract many onlookers. Armed with blankets and food baskets, they secure the best spots on the Neckar meadows or on a river boat, hours before the event. When the castle is illuminated by all those colorful lights, Heidelberg truly lives up to its reputation as a dream destination for romantics.





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