Travel l by Tina Edward Gunawardhana l 7 Sep 2023     - 91

Hanging out in Heidelberg,


Words and photographs: Tina Edward Gunawardhana

When an opportunity to visit Frankfurt came about I grabbed it with both hands. However the more I researched Frankfurt the more boring it sounded. Wondering what my options were, I checked out what day trips I could do from Frankfurt and Heidelberg appeared to be a perfect destination for a day trip. I had read much about the efficient German rail network and decided to put it to the test. Booking the tickets online was the easiest and most convenient option. However the staff manning the ticket kiosks at the station spoke good English and were very helpful making my journey to Heidelberg easy.

Situated in the German state of Baden-Württemberg, Heidelberg is considered the birthplace of German Romanticism and home to the country’s oldest university. Writer Mark Twain lived with his family in Heidelberg in the summer of 1878. In his 1880 European travelogue “ A Tramp Abroad” Twain lavished praise on Heidelberg by writing “The city was the last possibility of the beautiful.”

Heidelberg survived World War II with only minor damage, which has ensured its romantic charm still prevails. Church towers rise above the red roofs, while the medieval main street, Hauptstrasse, winds through the city. Dominating the Heidelberg skyline on the mountain side are the ruins of the Heidelberg Castle with its centuries-old mosaics caulked with moss and tiny plants.

The 90 minute train ride winding through the picturesque countryside flew by and before I knew it I was at the Heidelberg Station. The Tourist Board office at the station is one of the best I have encountered. The staff there were all proficient in English and I was given the best options to explore the town in the time period I had.

My first stop was the castle which stands on the mountainside overlooking the town. There is a little funicular which climbs up 300ft within 90 seconds. The castle which is also called Schloss is part medieval fortress and part Renaissance palace. Although it was abandoned 300 years ago it is a popular tourist attraction and includes the world’s largest wine barrel which is a 250 year old vat which once held 50,000 gallons of wine.

Notable author Victor Hugo also highlighted the beauty of Heidelberg, especially its castle in his writings, while the artist Turner painted the castle ruins from many different angles.

The castle is also home to the Hortus Platinus which are its gardens and 400 years ago were dubbed the eighth wonder of the world. The castle’s terrace offers splendid views of the city and the Karl Theodor Bridge, an 18th century red sandstone bridge across the river Neckar.

 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tina Edward Gunawardhana

Tina Edward Gunawardhana is the Deputy Editor of Hi!! Magazine. She writes on a variety of topics which include travel, fashion, lifestyle, cuisine and personalities. She is also a journalist for the Daily Mirror Life. An intrepid traveller, Tina likes to show readers the world through her eyes and experiences. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram - tinajourno or email her at tinajourno@gmail.com

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