Visiting Heidelberg for half a day
Heidelberg was always high on our list of places to see. You see we love castle’s and the castle at Heidelberg always looks amazing. It’s located sitting perched up on the hill guarding the town below. We only had 4 hours in Heidelberg as we made a day trip up from Freiburg to see the city before returning later that day.
We concentrated our time on The Heidelberg Old Town or the Altstadt as it is called in Germany. We walked down to market Square first. Like most old towns, this square is full of activity markets and such going on. The market square has a checkered past and was once used for the burning of witches and heretics. Citizens who committed petty crimes. These citizens were made to hang in cages in the square for all to see. The square is boarded on one side by the church of the holy ghost and the other side by the town hall.
4 hours in Heidelberg was amazing
We went inside the Church like all medieval period churches it is well worth a viewing. We headed around the corner to the Alte Bruecke Bridge of Heidelberg. The bridge runs over the River Necker. I have to say its an amazing bridge with views in all directions. It is one of those places you just want to stand and look and take it all in. The bridge is adorned with statues and gates at each end. The bridge was constructed in the 18th Century, throughout history, bridges have always stood here but were ravished by flood and war. Today you can see markings on the bridge that will show you flood levels the River Necker has reached.
Being a lover of different beers, we stopped at Vetters Brauhaus for a drink and a bite to eat. The brewery is about 100 meters from the bridge-gate. I tried a few of their beers as made on the premises and a sausage platter. The platter had a variety of different sausages produced locally. So far our 4 hours in Heidelberg was going well
It was time to head to the Main attraction, Heidelberg Castle. The whole reason we undertook a five and a half hour return trip. In order to get up to the castle is the easiest way is to take the funicular. This was probably the highlight of the day for Marley and Willow. For the girls, it is just like an escalator but only supersized. The funicular whisks you up to the top of the hill, where its a short walk to the castle.The castle was first mentioned in 1196.
What is left of the castle today is mainly the outer shell. The shell is impressive no doubt, the castle rises from the tree-lined hill it sits perched on. One could imagine it would have been an intimidating site for medieval warriors trying to attack it, today it sits welcoming ready to greet the hordes of tourists. 4 hours in Heidelberg yes please.
The castle has lived through wars, fires and twice being struck by lightening. On one occasion, the lightning struck the gunpowder room and virtually blew up half the castle with it. Over the last 800 years, the castle has been expanded, destroyed, damaged, to the point in the 1700’s people from the town where using the stone the castle was made from to construct house.
The castle grounds provide views of the city from many angles
The Heidelberg castle has an amazing history
The castle once had a moat for protection during wars. The moat is now a beautiful contrast with its green to the red brick color of the castle. The castle itself I was disappointed as there was really was not a great deal of access unless you took a guided tour. You had access to the giant wine barrel and the apothecary museum. The giant wine barrel is the biggest in the world. When it was completed in 1751 it had a capacity of 221,000 lire’s of wine. 120 oak tree’s were chopped down to construct this monster barrel. It really is amazing to think that someone made and stored wine in something of this size. Surely the whole castle must have been on the wine juice often, no tea toddlers here.
You really get a feel of the size of this barrel when you take the steps up to the top of it. We headed back down the hill and slowly walked along Hauptstrasse the main mall area of the old town towards our car and the trip back to Freiburg. Mind you there were some stops for gelato and coffee at Starbucks plus the shops my wife loves Pylones stores and I must say I like the cool stuff they sell.
In the end, the views of Heidelberg made the trip worthwhile and it is another iconic castle to tick off our castle odyssey. 4 hours in Heidelberg was well worth it.