21.04.2009 19 °C
I originally planned to spend last weekend like this: Saturday morning out bright and early to Heidelberg and spend the entire. Sunday morning at Residential Palace in Ludwisburg and then home to finish boring things like laundry. Instead, it was spent like this: Saturday, walked to the laundry place, dropped off my clothing (pick up Monday night as they close at 6pm weeknights and at 12pm Saturdays, close Sundays), walked to the grocery store, Norma's, for juice, nutella and water (all my fridge can hold), hang out at my place watching movies and falling asleep on and off. Sunday, spent my entire day in Heidelburg. You are probably wondering why I chose to stay home Saturday instead of heading out as originally planned. Well, it was not only raining buckets in Kornwestheim but it was even worst in Heidelberg, Saturday!!! After checking the forcast, I knew that going to a city renound for it's sites and beauty would only be a disapointment if I was soaked through, soggy and the sites all blurred by the rain. So, I kept it for Sunday and it paid off. Plus, doing all those errands in the rain Saturday had me soggy and soaked through in any case. I was out for a total of about 3 hour Saturday morning, because despite the weather, I couldn't stay inside so I walked around with my umbrella after I completed my chores. When I got home, my pants, runners and socks were soaking. It was worth it though.
This was the wet view from my balcony Saturday afternoon
Sunday was better though. I woke to sun, warmth and birds chirping, and it was barely 6am! I quickly got ready, ate some breakfast and took a quick walk to the train station. From Ludwigsburg station I bought a ticket to Heidelberg hauptbahnhof (hpf) and waited for my train. It was only about 30 minutes until I was heading to see the schloss (castle) on a train. This was not a high speed train though so the ride was an hour and 40 minutes. I was in no rush though as I had nothing to rush home to so I settled in and updated my journal and read my latest novel (which I bought in Stuttgart flughafen (airport). Yes, I am trying to speak and incorporate as much German into my vocab as I can so my time here is a bit easier.
When the train arrived I went straight to information to find out how to get to the schloss by public transportion. Lucky for me the bus stop was right across the street and leaving within the next 15 minutes. I walked over to the stop station, bought my ticket, 1,90euro and waited.
Once I arrived at the stop, I had to take a funicular up to the castle. This funicular, unlike Barcelona's, was a bit more modern and quicker. After stepping off the funicular, rounding a corner and walking outside I was bombarded with the following gorgeous sites!
I got so excited that I basically ran to the exterior of the schloss and started snapping away. I don't know what it was, but the natural beauty of the Königstuhl (mountains) brought tears to my eyes. Yes, I teared up as I looked around and took it all in. I felt so lucky to be here and given this magical experience. I didn't want it to end.
More stunning pictures
I was so happy to be there
After looking around a lot more, I decided to buy a ticket to have access to the coutyard of the schloss (3,00euro) and went in. The interior, just like the exterior, made me so nostalgic. It was like I could finally put a real picture to my imaginations of what ruins looked like during my many history classes when I was younger. It was an actually surreal experience for me. Once again I thanked God for blessing me with this German experience.
Once I was inside of the couryard, I knew that I had to see the actual interior of the schloss so I bought a ticket for a guided tour (4,00euro) and it was worth every penny let me tell you. Our guide, Madeline, (I think) started off with a look at what the castle looked like around the 11the century where kings and queens and extremely spoiled princesses (Elizabeth Charlotte) resided.
<-grounds plans ordered by lady Elizabeth Charlotte that were never actualized due to the war
Then we moved further into the bowels of the schloss and heard more about the peoples who occupied the grounds including the rich monarchy and the unlucky servants, who were paid in food and shelter (nice right!) Oh and wine!
It was an extremely informative and funny tour. Madeline is so hilarious that she kept us enthralled, interested and entertained during the hour long tour. That is euro's well spent!
The most entertaining aspect of the tour was the story behind the wine vat that holds 2000+ bottles of wine!
Since wine was so important and water, seen as almost dangerous to consume, drink and heaven forbid, wash with, the vat was kept almost always full with a variety of wines all mixed together. Vintage, brand, color was of no consequence. The only thing that mattered was making sure that the vat (there was actually 2. One which was smaller) was never dry. It is reported that the vat was only empty one time during its crazy history at this castle! It is no wonder that many nobilty died of liver problems at a young age back then.
Pics of the vat
After the tour I had to eat so I got a pretzel roll, coke and finally....a piece of butter cake. I read about this dessert for a while but thought it looked dry as hell. I don't really know what made me buy a piece at Heidelberger (as the Germans call it) but I am damn glad I did! The cake texture is more cinnamon roll than cake-like but still yummy. It was so wonderful. I now understand why it is very big and on the menu of basically every single restaurant or cafe here and in Germany (southern at least).
After the tour I took a few more pictures of the castle and took off to explore more of the gorgeous park surroundings. I swear my camera was smoking by the time I stopped as every view I saw I had to capture. Enjoy what I saw. This blog is as much for you as it is for me. Come share with me!
The more pictures I took, the more I saw to continue. I LOVE IT HERE!!!!
THIS IS MY FAVORITE PICTURE THUS FAR
After I exhausted myself on the hillside I took the funicular down and walked to the old town of Heidelberg. Oh, it was so pretty there with beautiful old buildings of different colored hues. Just like my imaginings of Europe.
I made my way around the town square and revelled in its surroundings. I didn't sit and soak up the atmosphere as I had other things to do.
I made my way to Neckar River as I was intriuged by the water while on the hill and wanted to be near it. I wanted to hear the waters rush and see first hand what I had read about before coming to Germany.
Once again, I was surrounded by lovers hand-holding, kissing, looking into eachothers eyes. Seriously, if you need to mend your relationship, take your partner anywhere in Western Europe. Your problems will be instantly cured, that is how much love I saw and see, daily! It's really lovely.
I took a walk around part of the river and soaked in the atmosphere and sun. But, of course I was feeling restless. I was on a new mission: finding some Heidelberg beer. Since Germany has beers unique to each city and region, I had to find one that was all about this place. I looked high and low and did not find any in the touristy sections. After a while I got bored and was starting to feel tired so I called it off and headed back to the hbf.
While waiting for my 6:16 train I wandered around the station and looked in some of the shops. Just as I was about to meander down to wait for my train, I detoured into a sandwich stop, hoping to see if indeed Heidelberg had a beer to call its own and low and behold I came upon gold! I bought a few bottles and off I went to my train. With a spring in my step I might add.
The train home was an ICE and it was bloody fast. We left Heidelberg at 6:15 and arrived at Stuttgarts hbf at 6:45. That is damn fast! That train was fantastic but it was going so fast that I had to keep popping my ears every 2 minutes or so.
A few pics from the train
After arriving at the hbf, I quickly walked to the intercity tracks (downstairs) and waited for my train. I was in my hotel and looking for dinner around 7:35 Sunday night. I was exhausted but totally exhilerated. I felt that Heidelberg opened a portal of possibilites for me. I love natural beauty and God made wonders so this was a wonderful trip for me. Heidelberg trumps Barcelona anyday.
Next weekend, where will I be? I have no idea but I hope it will be as fabulous as Schloss and Neckar River because Heidelberg...I love thee.