One of our very first day trips after arriving to Germany last June was to Heidelberg. We were fresh off the plane from the states and eager to get exploring the country we were going to call home for the next 3 years. I had my Rick Steves guidebook (bible) in hand and out the hotel door we went...completely on our own. No tour guide, big language barrier, and the fear of the unknown practically plagued our day there. Needless to say, I was on edge the whole time. I didn't really enjoy our first trip to Heidelberg to the absolute fullest. So, when our good friends who just PCSed here asked us to join them on their first trip to Heidelberg, we couldn't say no! I desperately needed a re-do!
Instead of heading straight to the famous castle, we took some time to walk around Heidelberg a bit...just taking in the sights, the sounds, and the ambiance of this history packed town along the River Neckar.
Our sweet friends - Matt & Jenny
Before going on any day trip around Germany, I often consult a myriad of travel books and tourist review websites...most notably my beloved Rick Steves books and TripAdvisor. TripAdvisor has excellent lists of "Things to Do" in any given city around the world. Not to mention, each attraction is given a rank based on traveler reviews. Brilliant, right? That's how I stumbled upon the Bergbahn Funicular that takes you on a train ride up one of the tallest hills in Heidelburg. It makes 3 stops...one at the entrance to Heidelberg Schloss (castle), one at some other lookout point (obviously we didn't explore that stop), and one at the Königstuhl (the King's Chair) located at the tippy top of the hill. Of course, we picked the windiest day to ride all the way to the top. We froze our bums off, but were rewarded with a birds eye view of Heidelberg. Did I mention the funicular to the top was like the cutest little wooden train I'd ever seen? Darling, I tell ya.
After braving the cold atop Königstuhl, we rode down the funicular to the entrance of the castle. At this point, we were hungry and freezing, so we took solace inside of a cozy Burgerkeller. A few kaffes mit Baileys, Hefeweizen's, and warm apfelstrudels later, we were back on our feet and ready to tackle the castle.
Inside the castle there is a little wine cellar. I shouldn't really say 'little' wine cellar, mostly because it houses two of the largest wine barrels I'd ever seen. You can even walk on top of one of them. Now that's my kind of wine barrel! And of course, what would be a visit to a wine cellar without sampling some of the castle's own grape? Blasphemy, that's what! Good thing we managed to savor a few glasses before heading back down into Old Town Heidelberg.
The funicular had been ridden and the castle was explored...the only thing left to do was stuff our faces some more. When in Germany, right?! I mean, who could turn down €1 gelato? No one, that's who.
Go to Heidelberg. Like, right now. Seriously, it's a really great town. So great that it's the only place in Germany that D and I have ever visited twice. Believe me, that's a big deal. Enjoy the sights, the culture, the people...and of course the delicious food & wine. Just tell them Casey sent ya. :)