Heidelberg, which is built along the banks of the Neckar River, was our destination today. It took us almost two hours in a bus to get there from Strasbourg. The weather was glorious when we arrived; sunny and cool. Heidelberg is a city of students and tourists. The University of Heidelberg occupies the old part of town and is the single largest industry in the city. Tourism is second in its economic prosperity.
Here are a couple of shots taken at Universitatsplatz. In the background of some you can see the spire of the Jesuit Church.
Our tour began at the Heidelberg Castle. Today the castle stands in ruins but one can imagine how spectacular it must have been. Built high on a hill, it overlooks the Neckar River and the City. The views from it parapets are gorgeous.
We entered the garden area through the Elizabeth Gate. The gate was built in 1615 in the style of a Roman triumphal arch and was restored in 1951. Legend has it that it was built in one night by Friedrich V for his wife Elizabeth as a birthday present.
Here are a few shots of and inside the castle.
From the castle we drove down to the Visitor Center adjacent to the river and then walked from there with our guide to Hauptstrase, a long pedestrian shopping street. Here is a shot looking westerly toward the Marketplatz and Protestant Church which stands opposite the Rathaus (City Hall).
Its along this street that one finds the Christmas Markets in Heidelberg. Although we were there to get a taste of the old city, we could not resist going into the Kathe Wohifahrt Christmas store just to have a look around. It is undoubtedly the largest Christmas shop in Germany (maybe the world) and it has branches in many cities, including Philadelphia which recently started hosting a nice Christmas Market right near City Hall.
And, here is a shot of Kathe’s window.
There are many interesting things to see as one strolls along this long, wide pedestrian street. Have a look.
From Kathe’s we ambled back in the direction from which we came in search of restaurant Wirtshaus Zum Seppi, where we were going to have lunch with the other passengers who made the trek from the Viking Kara.
Here is a photo of Barbara, Jimmy and JoAnn as we prepared for lunch with a long lager in hand.
And here is a photo of the interior of the place and other members of our group. Viking did a great job of hosting lunch.
The meal, of broiled chicken in mushroom gravy, creamed peas and julienned carrots, and spatzella was outstanding. And we were joined by Phil and Christine from Atlanta who were delightful table mates. After the usual question of where are you from we learned that he is a mircro biologist working on new, lifesaving pharmaceuticals. We even got into a discussion of what JoAnn and I do for work, but more about that later. Among other things we discussed was cruising on Viking River and Viking Ocean. As you may recall, JoAnn and I sailed on the Viking Ocean Star into the Midnight Sun and we can’t say enough nice things about both of the Viking products. Unfortunately, no photos of Phil and Christine.
Then, it was back to our bus and another two hour drive back to the Kara. The driving notwithstanding, our day in Heidelberg was a wonderful experience.