Our Day in Heidelberg was one of my favorites with Cody. We dropped Ryan off at work and then continued down the autobahn to the pretty town, which sits on the Rhine River. Heidelberg is famous for the enormous castle on the hill over-looking the town. We successfully made it to a perfect parking garage in the city, dropped a pin in Google maps on my iPhone so that we could find it later and began to explore the town.
I needed coffee and the Max Bar in the Marktplatz seemed to be perfect spot. The seating outside was crowded with the usual smokers so we took a seat just inside at a sun soaked table by the window. The owner opened the window for us and took our order. He was surprised when Cody ordered black coffee. I explained that he might want cream but Cody said he liked black coffee. Cody would soon learn that black coffee in Europe is not the same as American coffee. So, after I finished my coffee mit Bailey’s (with Bailey’s), I also finished his black coffee.
I could have sat at this Cafe all day. It was the dirtiest, friendliest little place. The owner spoke excellent English and came over to talk to us a couple of times. The solitary waitress catering to the crowd outside even managed a few smiles (not the norm for hurried German waitresses)
After our (my) coffee, we explored the Heidelberg cathedral and walked through the streets stopping into a shop or two. I love the shops in Heidelberg but I didn’t want to bore Cody too much. He was being a good sport about it and didn’t even complain when I said that I wanted to stop in a cute little handmade paper store. I can’t imagine anything more boring for a 15 year old boy.
We walked to the Heidelberg bridge to take in the views, which are fantastic. The picture below is of Cody and me on the bridge with the castle behind us.
Next, we walked to the castle. It’s a steep climb for about 10 minutes but the views at the top are worth it. Some of the castle walls are well-maintained with the ornate statues still in place. The castle grounds are enormous and views of the town and the river make it seem sort of like a fairy tale. We walked around the castle and took in the views of the town below.
Heidelberg in also the location of the oldest University in Germany. This was one of our favorite parts of the trip. After visiting the small museum, we walked upstairs to see the Great Hall. We were blown away as we entered the Great Hall (pictured below). It was designed in 1886 for the 500th anniversary of the university. It is an example of neo-Renaissance revivalism. The walls are ornate. The overhead lamps supplement the sunlight beautifully. The velvet red seats are striking against the dark wood walls and side galleries. This beautiful room is still used for formal events, lectures and graduation ceremonies.
After the university, we walked to the university jail museum. The museum in housed in the actual rooms and cells of the old jail house. The pictures below are just the tiniest example of the “graffiti” that covered every inch of the interior of the walls of the jail. Every bit of the doors, the highest corner of each room, the window sills, the stirs and the ceilings were covered in this “graffiti” of silhouettes, coats of arms, cartoons, political statements, poems, names. The shear amount of writing on the walls was impressive. University students were imprisoned here From 1823 to 1914 because the university had legal jurisdiction. Typically, students were imprisoned for what we would call disturbing the peace.
We finished off the day by sharing some spaghetti eis. Spaghetti eis is ice cream that is run through a machine to make noodle shapes and topped with strawberry sauce and little bits of vanilla. I don’t know how this yummy little dessert became so popular here but this and other unique ice cream treats are very sought-after treats here in Germany.