A July 2001 trip
to Heidelberg by Barb B
Quote: For generations, Heidelberg has stood as a symbol of romanticism the world over. The “city with a heart” has been praised in poems, songs and anecdotes. Located along the Neckar River in southwestern Germany, it is a hub of manufacturing, transportation, education, research and cultural activities. The romantic image of the city was further enhanced when it provided the dramatic backdrop for the play, and later the Sigmund Romberg musical, The Student Prince.
Since "Heidelberg" is a combination of two words -- "Heidelbeere" (blueberry) and "Berg" (mountain), the city could more accurately have been named "Blueberry Mountain."
Its university is one of the oldest and most prestigious universities in Germany and it serves as a cornerstone of scientific knowledge. Its Research Institutes provide a wealth of scientific knowledge to countries throughout the world.
Today Heidelberg's students continue many of the university’s proud traditions -- and everywhere, tourists find flashbacks such as students proudly bearing a scar upon their cheek from a dueling match; the ancient jail where students served their punishment for public drunkenness or disturbing the peace; and the city’s oldest café -- famed for its confection known as the "Heidelberg Student’s Kiss." Thus, the traditions of the "City with a Heart" persist and the charm of Heidelberg continues to fascinate tourists.
Heidelberg's beloved castle sits high atop the majestic hillside at the summit of Jettenbuhl Mountain to the East and overlooks the city. The Current-day theme for preservationists of the castle has become "Preserve, yet not restore." A realistic dream for this ancient hillside fortress.
At the end of the war, the allied forces asked the people of Heidelberg what they could do to help them restore their beloved city -- the answer of the townspeople was no surprise! Overwhelmingly, they asked ONLY -- "Please restore our bridge!" Which was promptly done!
Within the historic portion of the city walking is your best alternative. Many streets are restricted to pedestrian traffic only.
The best way to visit the Heidelberg Castle is to sign up for a local tour. This way you will gain insight into the castle's history, its preservation and restoration process and you will find valuable information unavailable to those touring as individuals.
My husband, Dutch and I didn’t want much -- just to dine in an authentic German restaurant with good food, pleasant surroundings, lots of choices and reasonable prices! We were greeted like old friends when we arrived, and in spite of our "textbook-pure German speech," we were promptly escorted to our table near the rear of the restaurant. A quiet spot from which we could view the entire restaurant. Large cold mugs of excellent German beer were set before us without even a suggestion of any other beverage. WONDERFUL--cold and inspiring!
Since we were unfamiliar with the local food, we asked our server to select an appropriate meal for us. Our waiter, Frederick, was extremely flattered that we allowed him this privilege(?) and he selected for us a lovely salad of crisp local greens dressed with an almost sweet, almond flavored dressing. For our main course, we each received 4 Pasties--a ravioli-like dish--with a delightful meat-filling flavored with cheese and herbs encompassed within a savory pasta...a light herb flavored sauce finished this beautiful marriage of ingredients. This dish was absolutely magnificent, and a good match for the VERY BEST pastas we’ve experienced throughout Italy.
While German food can be somewhat heavy, we found that here with a degree of Austrian influence, a dash of German creativity, and a new-generation chef, Gasthof Burgfreiheit offers hearty foods which can be enjoyed by even the most diet conscious diner.
The comfortable ambiance of locals, students, tourists and the inevitable tour groups all seated together at long tables, within easy vision of the kitchen offered a pleasant and queasiest mix. A huge assortment of imported German beers and delightful German wines from the Rhine, Mosel or Rheingau area (sold by the bottle or by the glass) was available to add to the experience. We selected a 1993 Alsheim from the Rheinhessen area to accompany the ravioli/pasta dish.
The well-appointed dining room contains simply set tables, lighting from Bavarian chandeliers, accents of copper, pewter, and greenery flowing from flowerboxes--all enhanced by the warm and inviting ambiance. Inconspicuous background music, accented by pure guttural tones of the German language, recall many past gastronomic treats and will always remind us of our stay in Heidelberg!
We never told Grandma what a wonderful meal we enjoyed--it would have upset her spirit!
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on September 4, 2001
Gasthof Burgfreiheit Restaurant
Heidelberg Castle Gate
Restaurant | "PUB--Hahn im Korb"
We'd stopped at the "Hahn im Korb" (Chicken and Corn) Restaurant and Pub located at #8 Marksplats. It was a beautifully sunny day as we stretched out under the green umbrellas, ordered a couple of tall beers and began to check the menus. Lots of wursts, salads, sandwiches, eggs and chicken items listed along with the ever-present pretzels. Everything was reasonably priced and the service was good.
We ordered beers - VERY COLD, and VERY LARGE, along with pretzels and knockwurst sandwiches. Our beers were delivered and we'd just begun to talk with the 4 university students seated at the table next to us. We watched as a group of Japanese tourists with cameras in hand, snapped their way across the plaza. Suddenly a huge gust of wind swept across the plaza--tables toppled, green umbrellas hit the ground and the sound of breaking glass was everywhere.
The locals hardly seemed disturbed, in less than 30 seconds, our waitress slipped on a pair of rubber gloves, picked up the remains of about 12 tall beer glasses, deposited them neatly onto her tray and shuffeled them off to the trash bin. The students hurried to upright the tables and umbrellas, and in less than a minute our waitress returned with replacements for the spilled beers.
I was impressed by how quickly everything returned to normal. Everything was cleared and it was as if nothing had happened. I asked our waitress, "Does the wind gust like that very often?"-- She smiled and replied--"Not very often, only perhaps once or twice a week."
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on October 11, 2001
Hahn im Korb
Heidelberg, Germany 69117
+49 6221 2 31 81
Attraction | "JAILED!! in Heldelberg"
Mid-way down the narrow lane located at the back of Heidelberg’s "Old" University, the infamous "Student Prison" provides a shrine to the time-honored tradition of pranks, stunts, capers and joyous mischief performed by university students.
From 1778 until 1914, students were imprisoned for so called "Kavaliersdelikte;" roughly translated, this means the minor transgressions of students. Common offenses included disturbing of peace, excessive public drinking, insulting official authorities or playing jokes at them, or participating in dueling contests. My husband and I couldn't help but wonder how much time we would have spent in Prison for our college pranks!
Among the otherwise honorable gentlemen students of the University, (most of them were members of fraternities) it was considered a requirement (if not at least an accomplishment) to have served time in the prison. Depending upon the seriousness of the offense, imprisonment would last from three days to four weeks; however, prisoners were allowed to attend daily lectures. After classes, the juvenile delinquents would return to jail, where they supposedly lived on bread and water. However, history reveals that more than a few wine jugs were found on the premises.
Many of the young prisoners passed the hours of their sentences "decorating" the walls with graffiti and paintings, especially their own silhouettes. We found this artistic graffiti both fun and clever, a way to preserve the "Prison Passage". This unique "artwork" has been preserved and continues to decorate the walls of the Prison.
The prison is open Monday to Saturday from 10am to 4pm. Admission cost is 5DM (about $2.50 US).
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on October 4, 2001
For generations, Heidelberg has stood as a symbol of romanticism; The "City with a Heart" -- praised in poems, songs and anecdotes. This current-day hub of manufacturing, transportation, education, research and cultural activities is also the home of the University of Heidelberg. One of the oldest and most prestigious universities in Germany, its Research Institute serves as a cornerstone of worldwide scientific knowledge.
Surprisingly, there is no actual campus for this world renowned Institution; rather, it is a series of buildings located throughout the city. On 24 June 1712, the foundation for the "Old University" (as it is currently known) was placed upon a site previously occupied by a monastery. Here, in the main complex, the University Library was erected.
We found the library particularly fascinating; the ceilings bear surprisingly well-preserved paintings, which depict the four university faculties: philosophy, medicine, law and theology. On the day we visited, the library was very crowded with tour groups, but we found that if we "eased our way forward along the sidelines", we could get an excellent view. NOTE -- Unfortunately, flash photos are not allowed. We were able to capture a few -FAIR- shots of the ceiling using only ambient light.
During the Second World War the University was, of course closed, but the city of Heidelberg and especially the University received little or no damage and the halls of learning reopened in 1945. A myriad of well-known Physicians, Researchers, Philosophers and Humanists continue to enhance the University's reputation among scholars. Heidelberg has a current population of 135,000 inhabitants including a student population of over 28,000. (Unfortunately, women were not allowed to enroll until 1900!!)
The city's romantic image has been further enhanced by the Sigmund Romberg musical, The Student Prince. Therefore, after our visit to the University, we stopped at the "Heidelberg Studentenkup", a delightful sweet shop nearby, that prepares wonderful little gingerbread cakes frosted with chocolate. These sweets are known among the locals as "student kisses". Kind of "smaltzy", but a very tasty treat!-- Stop by with your sweetie and enjoy a Sweet Treat.
The University Library is located at -- Grabengasse 3
Open Mondays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. - 7 p.m.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on October 1, 2001
University of Heidelberg
Attraction | "THE SCHLOSS- Heidelberg Castle"
From its humble beginnings of stone foundation and upper framework in 1398, the complex grew as subsequent royalty added majestic buildings, triumphal arches, lofty bell towers, a graceful inner court, hall of fountains and elegant formal gardens -- all befitting this regal residence. The Castle and its gardens were destroyed during the 30 Years' War but it was later rebuilt by Prince Elector Karl Ludwig, only to be destroyed once again by French troops. Amazingly, no further damage was incurred during World War II!
We boarded the funicular at the Kornmarket at the center of the city’s historic area for our short ride to the castle. (About $2.50 US for the round trip). A walk around the castle courtyard provided an incredible overview of the city. We gazed across the rooftops of the Old City, to the arches of the Alte Bruke (Old bridge) as it gracefully spans the Neckar river to the wide vistas of the deeply wooded valleys beyond. We were struck by the enduring beauty of the city, the magnificent architecture, and sheer size of the fortress.
Our admission fee of 4DM (about $2) included a visits to the German Pharmacy Museum and the Great Vat. The walls of the Deutches Apotheken Museum (German apothecary museum) were lined with antique bottles. The aged scientific equipment and reconstructed pharmacist workshop gave us a unique look back to the "Drugstores" of 17th century Germany.
The Grosses Fass (great vat) is located in the Fassbau (basement) of Heidelberg castle. Since we live in California’s Napa Valley, we found this wine vat with its 58,000 gallon capacity built in the 18th century much, larger than our wineries at home! We climbed the steps upward along the side of the vat--to the top where a huge platform serves as a dance floor! WOW-- those 18th century Germans must have really known how to party!
The castle grounds are opened daily from 8 a.m. - 5.30 p.m.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on October 6, 2001
Heidelberg Castle (Heidelberger Schloss)
Heidelberg, Germany 69115
Napa, CA and Hereford, AZ , Arizona