Arriving in Heidelberg was a complete shock to me. After some time in Rome, I felt like our plane had landed on another planet, not in another European country. Everything was so green and so clean, there was no rubbish in sight. Cars were driving carefully, obeying road rules and even stopping for red lights. People were not shouting at each other and waving their arms, and there were not gelato shops on every corner (they did still exist, you just had to look a bit harder to find them). The biggest shock to me was that there were even bicycles riding on the road not fearing for their lives!
Although most German people we met before we arrived in Heidelberg told us that it wasn’t a typical German city and that it was too ‘perfect’, we were happy to spend some time in this ‘perfect’ city. We’d been invited to a wedding and a 100th birthday — essentially a four-day feast with friends and their family. And just looking at a sample of the selection of cakes for afternoon tea, you can see we definitely feasted well.
The centre of Heidelberg is very beautiful, it was not destroyed in the World Wars and so has a lot of historical buildings and significance. It is full of grand churches, colourful buildings and quaint little restaurants which locals and tourist alike take the opportunity to enjoy.
The Heidelberg Castle (or Heidelberger Schloss in German) which towers over the city, is a sight not to be missed. We walked up the 314 steps to the castle (yes those are my feet even though my nails aren’t bright pink), but you can just take the funicular if you aren’t 3/4’s of the way through a feast and trying to lose some of the weight you’ve just put on (to make room for the final part of the feast of course). However you get there, it’s worth it to discover inside the castle itself and to see views of the picturesque city below.
One room not to miss inside the castle is the one housing this humongous wine barrel. I guess every princess needs to have a lot of wine on hand in case some friends turn up unexpectedly now don’t they?
Finally, as someone who doesn’t speak German, there were a number of occasions where I couldn’t help but laugh out loud in Heidelberg. This is probably the best sign I saw in our time there. According to my dictionary it actually just means ‘Drive Lane.’