One for my fellow travel bloggers, despite having blogged about Heidelberg
, the German city I have visited several times to spend weekends with one of my high school best friends, this time it was to spend my birthday with two of my high school friends -who are my 2 best friends, actually.
Heidelberg offered a wide range of autumn colors
once more, last time I visited it was October and we climbed up to Thingstätte
, admiring the reds, browns, dark green, and ochres in all trees. This time I was not up for some premature death and self pity and opted to go uphill but not that much -so we went to the Castle.
This castle, a Gothic-Renaissance construction, was first erected when Prince Elector Ruprecht III was ruling. The first building was the royal residence, and later divided into a ground floor and upper levels. Then another royal building was built, the Fountain Hall. During the 16th and 17th centuries, the Prince Electors added more buildings which turned the fortress into a castle.
The castle and the garden were destroyed during the Thirty Years' War and Palatine War of Successsion. Later on, it was used as a quarry, its stones were taken to build houses in the city of Heidelberg, until 1800 when Count Charles de Graimber began the preservation of the castle.
Now the hall of the castle is used for festivities (dinners and performances). In summer the Heidelberg Castle Festival takes place and the courtyard is used for open air musicals, performances and classical concerts by the Heidelberg Philharmonics.
There is a beautiful park surrounding the castle, where the famous poet Johann von Goethe used to wander around and talked about. It became known during the 20th century, when Americans spread its reputation outside Europe. Then of course the Japanese stepped on it too. My friend Aida told us that Heidelberg has even more tourists than Barcelona, more than three million visitors a year and about 1,000,000 overnight stays.
Some old descraption of the city (1465) says that the place is "frequented by strangers". Indeed, many tourists go up to the castle and spend a morning there taking pictures of the ruins, the autumn foliage that surrounds it and of course the lovely views of the River Neckar and the architecture of the city.
American writer of Tom Sawyer, Mark Twain, wrote about Heidelberg Castle:
"A ruin must be rightly situated to be effective. This one could not have been better placed. It stands upon a commanding elevation, buried in green woods, there is no level ground about it -but on the contrary, there are wooden terraces upon terraces, and one looks down through shining leaves into profound chasms and abysses where twilight reigns and the sun cannot intrude"
After our morning walk around the castle and parks, we went down the Old Town (Aldstadt) cold enough to crave some hot soup and coffee (and CAKE!). We went to one of the oldest restaurants in town, known for their cakes. After some hot soup (delicious) we spend quite a long time enjoying our coffee with vanilla and hot cocoa with some (read a huge piece of) cake. Mentally prepared for some long walk under the cold weather, we walked along the river to go to the other side of town, where university campuses are.
While walking next to the river, we got to see the sunset until it got completely dark. It got me thinking about the known Philosopher's Walk in Heidelberg, which is in the north area of Neckar, with beautiful views of the city as well. Philosopher's Walk became known since it was the route philosophers and university professors walked along.
If curious about this German city located between Frankfurt and Stuttgart, be sure to read my other blog posts on Heidelberg.