Sunday, August 09, 2009


I'm a bit busy chewing on octopus tentacles in Galicia this weekend, so all you'll get out of this blog is some pictures of a weekend trip to the German town of Heidelberg in June. From a previous day visit a few years ago I had the idea of Heidelberg as being completely swamped by tourists, and it has to be one of the biggest tourist destinations in the country. Despite that, once the lunchtime marabunta passes the place is not so busy and in the evening it is relatively quiet in the old town. We had some fantastic weather the weekend we were there which means you also appreciate the surroundings a bit more. The town has plenty of restaurants for all tastes and mostly reasonably priced. Hotels are significantly more expensive than in other parts of Germany although if you search on Internet you can get something for a reasonable price a bit out of season.

Heidelberg castle is the main destination of most of the tourist groups which sweep through the town. For that reason, it's best to get up there quite early shortly after it opens. The castle is, to use the words of an English estate agent, in need of some repair. But then that's part of its attraction.

Continuing up the hill behind the castle you reach the Königstuhl. There are footpaths to take you there although the lazy can use the funicular railway. The whole area is a natural park with numerous walking and cycling trails through the woods, but being a civilised country there is also a beer garden near to the top of the funicular. Down by the river when we were there it seemed that half of the town was taking advantage of the great weather and gathered on the grassy banks by the Neckar. There were wedding parties, barbecues or just groups of friends taking it easy with a beer - there don't seem to be any anti-botellon laws in Germany or any need for them.

On day two we headed over to the other side of the river and took what they call the "Philosophers Way" up the hillside. As with the area behind the castle this leads up to the woods, again with dozens of marked trails. So what did the Nazis do for Heidelberg? Well they built the Thingsstatte ampitheatre up on this hill for their "special events". A bit further up beyond this is a much older ruined church, from where you get a good view of your surroundings.


ejh said...

You're not the only one heading out of Madrid - for perhaps the first time ever, Steve Kingstone has left the capital, indeed he's driven a whole forty-five minutes in pursuit of a story...

Graeme said...

Surely he must have made it as far as Segovia or Toledo at some point?