RHINELAND TO HEIDELBERG
“Only those who risk going too far can possibly find out how far they can go.”
Next on the leg we took a drive through the scenic Rhineland in the morning. We took a Rhine River cruise and enjoy splendid scenery including the Lorelei rock. Next, we drove into Germany’s oldest university town, Heidelberg, nicely located at the confluence of the Neckar and Rhine Rivers, for a short visit. In the afternoon, we then traveled by way of the Autobahn into Switzerland for two overnights in the Lucerne area.
The group took a cruise south along the Rhine River towards the town of Rudesheim, along a stretch of the water known as the Rhine Valley or Middle Rhine. They listened to audio commentary about the UNESCO-listed area, hearing fun facts about the famous river’s geology, history and sights. The journey took roughly two hours, and the route passes nearly 30 castles, fortresses and ruins as well as vineyards and pretty half-timbered villages.
They passed Kurtrierische Burg, one of the region’s more imposing castles, and then docked at Rudeshiem main pier. Me and Kim took the opportunity to jump in the coach and see the attractions on the way to Rudesheim with a couple of hours of exploring the town. Aside from Bavaria, the Rhine River region has to be one of the most beautiful areas in Germany.
Rudesheim, has that kitschy German fairytale feel that you crave when visiting Germany, but it also boasts some spectacular views.We wondered the streets and enjoyed the peace and quiet from the group. The tour group rejoined us and we all jumped back in the coach and headed to Heidelberg.
Heidelberg is a pretty city that actually reminded us of Salzburg: about the same size and population, a large castle with great views overlooking a river spanned by several bridges, lots of pretty churches. It really seemed a bit of a déjà vu, with the exception that buildings in Salzburg were mostly white with black roofs versus the ones in Heidelberg which have reddish roofs.
One of our highlights was thePhilosophenweg (Philosopher’s way), a path on the hills on the northern side of the city. The path is lush with greenery and gardens and has great views over the Old Town and the castle. We walked it straight away and thought Heidelberg was one of the prettiest places we’ve ever seen.
People often suppose that Heidelberg is expensive and quite posh. That is not entirely unfounded since there is a lot of “old money” and rich families around. On the other hand, there’s the typical Heidelberg student life and a flourishing alternative / green scene. Heidelberg is one of the most liberal cities in Germany. Compared to Munich or Frankfurt, food and hotel rooms/hostels are quite affordable. Downtown housing has become quite expensive, though – just as in other cities providing a high quality of life and mainly caused by housing shortages.
Marktplatz in spring/summer. If you’re early, have some coffee at Max-Bar, you will feel very Parisian. In the evening, enjoy cocktails at ZKB (Zimmer-Küche-Bar).
Heidelberg is not only about famous sights, university, and science – it has great outdoors as well! Hiking in Odenwald, wine tasting along Bergstraße, castles, and monasteries… there’s so much to do and it’s a great place for families.
Take a stroll around Märzgasse and Plöck. There’s a good choice of beautiful little shops and cafés and loads of things to discover (search for Heidelberger Zuckerladen) Beware of the bicycles on Plöck, though!
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