This weekend, a one-day meetup of bloggers descended on Heidelberg for some tourism and a light lunch. The bloggers who came along for the fun are (in no particular order,) Nina of Indie Rock Kid, Charlotte of Sherbert and Sparkles, Frau Dietz of Eating Wiesbaden, Kathleen of Lehrer Werkstatt, Jordan of Beer Time with Wagner, and Bev of Confuzzledom. I had lots of fun with this group. This is really a great bunch of people, and I highly recommend their blogs for your perusal.
Charlotte, Kathleen, and I started in Frankfurt, and we picked up Nina in Mannheim. From there, we took the S-Bahn into Heidelberg where we were met by Bev and Frau Dietz (with an attached Mini-Dietz accessory.) Heidelberg local Jordan also met us there. She’s a student in Heidelberg, so she served as our tour guide. Once everyone was present, we set out for the castle.
Heidelberg’s castle is on a hillside overlooking the Neckar river. There’s a funicular to get up to the top, but the climb is doable on foot. Steep, but doable. The view from the top is fairly spectacular.
Visible from the top is the Karl-Theodore-Brücke over the Neckar river.
Inside the castle, one of the first things we saw was a giant wine barrel.
This was nothing compared to the other wine barrel around a corner. Behold the Heidelberg Tun (Großes Fass), the world’s largest wine barrel. My good and dear friend Wikipedia says that this was built in 1751 from one hundred and thirty oak trees. Wikipedia goes on to say that at the time of its construction, it “had a capacity of 221,726 litres (58,573.8125 U.S. gallons). Due to the drying of the wood its current capacity is 219,000 litres (57,853.6795 U.S. gallons).” Here’s the Heidelberg Tun:
After leaving the giant wine barrel, we saw some of the exterior of the castle, even passing by a wedding that was going on there.
Through the Elisabethentor, there were more nice views to be had.
From here, we picked out our path to the city center, to have lunch. First, we had to get down there. Luckily, there were stairs nearby.
Walking into the Marktplatz…
We ate lunch at Café Knösel, because it was close, the menu looked pretty decent, and Tripadvisor rated it well. I didn’t know at the time that it’s the oldest cafe in Heidelberg, open since 1863. I had a pricey but delicious plate of salmon, spinach, and potatoes.
After lunch, we hopped over to the Karl-Theodore-Brücke. There’s a rather nifty statue of a monkey at the end of the bridge which has space enough to put your head inside, cheerfully demonstrated here by Bev.
On the low wall next to the monkey sculupture are these little metal mice. I quite liked these little guys.
This is the view of the castle, Schloss Heidelberg, looking back from the Karl-Theodore-Brücke.
…and back at the archway leading onto the bridge.
After we visited the bridge, we wandered toward the Studentenkarzer. On the way there, we found another tourist…
Heidelberg is a University town. Founded in 1386, the Heidelberg University is the oldest university in Germany and the third to be established in the Holy Roman Empire. The Studentenkarzer, or student jail, was in service from 1823 to 1914. Students would be sent there for drunken misconduct, messing about with the police, throwing rocks at churches, or dueling. The perpetrators would be sent to the jail for anywhere from a few days to a few weeks, depending on the offense.
Students were still allowed to attend classes, and over the years a tradition formed of marking the walls with graffiti to note the person, their offense, and logos from their fraternity houses. The Heidelberg Studentenkarzer has been preserved in its original state, with the original furniture left in place, as well as the marks of the incarcerated from years gone by. 120 year old graffiti is rather interesting.
The next eight photographs are all from inside the Studentenkarzer.
Next to the Studentenkarzer is a small University Museum documenting the history of Heidelberg University. There was a great deal of fascinating old technology, but it’s really best summed up by this Pneumothorax treatment device from 1950. Heidelberg is a research university, and it’s really fantastic to think about the innovations made here over the years.
Upstairs from the museum is the Great Hall, which is, well, a great hall.
After the great hall, the group stopped for frozen yogurt, before heading down the main shopping street to pick up the bus back to the Bahnhof.
Have you ever been to Heidelberg?