With the end of this most recent rotation, it was time to get out and do some traveling again! We decided to spend a couple days in Heidelberg, which is about three hours from Hohenfels. I wanted to see the city after having heard so many wonderful things from my aunt, Sandy, who studied there when she was in college. Since there is an Army garrison in Heidelberg, we thought we’d try staying at Army Lodging. This arrangement had its pros and cons. The location was fairly convenient to the Altstadt, the price couldn’t be beat on the economy, and breakfast was included. The major con was simply getting on the garrison! Their vehicle search is much more intimidating and we were searched twice the first day we were there. (Thankfully, we must have looked less threatening after that because we weren’t searched again.) Since we arrived around 7pm on Thursday evening, we found dinner at a restaurant near the garrison. The Schützenhaus had large portions of delicious schnitzel and the waiter even helped us with our German pronunciation.
We explored the city on Friday. Our day started at the Schloss (Castle). Construction started on the Schloss in the 13th century, but was destroyed in the 17th and 18th centuries by the Thirty Years’ War, the French, and a fire. The interior of the Friedrich Building, which was damaged in the fire, was restored between 1897 and 1900. We took the guided tour of the interior to see the restored sections and learn a little more about the castle. We also saw the Großes Fass, which can hold 58,100 gallons of wine!! Our tour guide explained that the Fass was used to collect the peasant’s harvest tithe to the king. All of the different varieties of white wine, red wine, and even cider were mixed together in the Fass and served to the court. Although I was excited by the prospect of that much wine at first, the unappetizing mixture made me quickly change my mind! Also at the Schloss, we walked through the Deutschen Apotheken-Museum (German Pharmacy Museum) and the Schlossgarten (Castle Garden).
After the Schloss, we went down the hill to the Altstadt. We ate some lunch at the Dubliner, an Irish pub along the Hauptstraße. The Hauptstraße is Europe’s longest pedestrian zone and is lined with shopping, outdoor cafes, and restaurants. We stopped at the famous Universität, Studentenkarzen (Student Jail), and Heiliggeistkirche (Holy Ghost Church) on our way to the Alte Brücke (Old Bridge). At one end of the Alte Brücke stands a brass monkey holding a mirror and surrounded by mice. Legend says to touch the mirror for wealth, the outstretched fingers to ensure your return to Heidelberg, and the mice for many children. We enthusiastically touched the mirror and outstretched fingers, but we weren’t quite ready to touch the mice! We ended the day with dinner at Vetter im Schöneck, a microbrewery right by the Alte Brücke. It was a fun day of sightseeing at just the right pace.
On Saturday, we took advantage of being on a larger garrison with a visit to the PX. We had also visited the Commissary and Shoppette while we were there. We found several things that we couldn’t get in Hohenfels that we thought we needed. 🙂 We went back down to the Altstadt for lunch before walking across the Alte Brücke to the Philosophenweg (Philosopher’s Way). The beautiful views of the Schloss and Altstadt across the river made the steep path worth the climb.
Unfortunately, after that it was time to drive home. I had to play for Mass the next morning and Brandon was anxious to actually be able to watch the Huskers play football that evening.
We really enjoyed our time in Heidelberg and hope that we will be ensured a return visit!
If you’d like to see all of our photos, please visit my Picasa Web Album.