Bavarian Journey Leg 7: Stuttgart to Heidelberg.
Last stop on our epic Bavarian Journey through southern Germany was the university city of Heidelberg; a city of crumbling age and modern edge.We had been following the beautiful Neckar River through the last few stops of Stuttgart and Tubingen. Just a few kilometres out of Heidelberg, it flowed into the mighty Rhine River.
The city’s baroque style old town has some romantic cafe-lined streets to while away the hours. As well as crowds of students, Heidelberg is a tourist hotspot.In the past, the action focused around the central marketplace and Town Hall.
These days though the hustle and bustle is stretched along the mile-long pedestrian street (hauptstrasse), that runs the length of the old town (altstadt).
Overlooking the marketplace (Marktplatz) is the Church of the Holy Spirit, one of the few buildings to survive the many wars over the centuries.Unfortunately, not faring anywhere near as well are the ruins of Heidelberg Castle.
With its mix of styles from Gothic to Renaissance, it was started in 1398 as a royal residence. Its been destroyed several times and rebuilt. Though the years have taken their toll on the ol’ red brick fortress.After lightning struck it in 1764, no further attempts were made to rebuild it. The King’s Hall was added to it in 1934, and is used for dinner balls, banquets and classical concerts. With a nice multi-levelled garden surrounding the castle, it makes for a nice scene and sunshine stroll.Oh, and the views are fantastic.It’s hard not to notice the Old Bridge that leads to the tree-lined hills across the river. The Old Bridge Gate still stands as the gateway to the city.
On March 1945, German troops left the city from the approaching U.S. Army and destroyed three of the bridge’s arches in their retreat.After the war, the university was quickly reopened and the city became a centre of learning once more. Traditionally, Heidelberg’s philosophers and university professors would walk and talk along the hilly riverside, aptly known as the Philosopher’s Walk.Wonder what they were pondering about?
Then again, with scenic views like this…
Perhaps nothing much at all.Visited 2nd to 4th October 2014.