Heidelberg

Hirschhorn

The train from Heidelberg to Würzburg stops along the Neckar River.  We stepped off at Hirschhorn, 19km from Heidelberg. The geographic location is sehr schön! Hirschhorn is a tiny historic (restored) medieval half-timber town situated at a bend in the Neckar river, surrounded by the hills of the Odenwald.

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Sunday was the ideal day to be in Hirschhorn, the weather was nice, visitors were drinking wine at cobblestone cafés, and the river bend sparkled in the sunshine.  It was totally dreamy.

From the town center there is a footpath that leads to a once fortified castle/monastery that overlooks the valley: Burg Hirschhorn.  I guess comparatively, Burg Hirschhorn is what you might call a ‘smaller’ castle (ha!), built by the Knights of Hirschhorn in 1250.  A Carmelite monastery was added in 1406.

 

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Modern: In the 1950’s, the castle grounds were converted to a hotel and restaurant, which is where we stopped for lunch and both ordered Currywurst and hiked around the surrounding forested paths.

 

 

 

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Hirschhorn has expanded from it’s tiny medieval town-center and is now a modern city where people live and work.

 

 

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Heidelberg

I am starting to think we only travel when it rains!  Our weekend began with a rainy walk to the banhof before we settled in for a 2-hr train to Heidelberg. More about our travel and accommodations here.

We arrived in Heidelberg around 11am (still raining!) The city features a 1-mile cobblestone pedestrian promenade with shopping, cafés and restaurants in a pristine maintained Altstadt “Old city”. Overhead, are the towering partial ruins of Schloss Heidelberg “castle”. Outside of the tourist area is a bustling modern city of 150,000.

Heidelberg is a tourist hot spot.  The rain may have slowed things down, but Heidelberg still had plenty of charm.   Getting around in the tourist areas of Heidelberg was no-problem. It was actually the first time in weeks that I have heard english (British and American) spoken in a crowd. There were a lot of Americans in Heidelberg last weekend!  Because it is a tourist city, we felt free to speak english at the hotel, and when ordering meals.

 

Here are the highlights:

Schloss Heidelberg
A break in the rain gave us the opportunity to walk the steep pathways to Schloss Heidelberg.  The renaissance castle ruins were intriguing, and the vista was amazing.   We spent a good portion of the afternoon walking around the castle and Schlossgarten that surrounds. video

 

Heidelberg University Library (1905)
Leaving the castle, we stepped into the university library.  Reprecht-Karls Universität is Germany’s oldest university (founded 1386) and the third university founded in the Holy Roman Empire.  Not much else to report here, just a cool old building and some trivia.

 

Halbmarathon Heidelberg
On Sunday morning we woke to a cloudless blue sky and to our surprise literally thousands of people outside of our hotel for the Halbmarathon Heidelberg, which was a super start to the day. We found a drumline (!) on the bridge and watched the group climb the steep Neckar river valley – hills!  When we left a few hours later we were even more glad we took the train! If you have ever tried to drive in/out of a marathon … best of luck! video

 

 

 (Click to Enlarge)

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1-Night in Heidelberg: Train and Accommodations

We took an early train from Würzburg to Heidelberg over the weekend! More about our time in Heidelberg here.

 

By Train
From Wurzburg you can purchase a two-person regional all-day ticket via the VRN for 20€. A good part of the rail follows the Neckar river, which really means: great views of the forested river valley!! — There is a distinct change in elevation as you leave central Bavaria and head toward the Black Forest.

Driving was also an option. Heidelberg is an easy, scenic 2-hr drive from Würzburg.  One could leave Bavaria and cross into the neighboring state of Baden-Württemberg, winding along the Neckar until you reach Heidelberg. A colleague recommended this route, it is beautiful in spring.

 

Where We Stayed
We took a page right out of the travel guide for this excursion.  Initially we thought the chances of finding a place to stay close to the train and in the Altstadt “Old City” were not likely, as Heidelberg is a popular international tourist destination.  We were visiting outside of the peak tourist season and found an opening at a unique place in the Marktplatz (market square).

The place we stayed is a 250-year-old Pension. Old hotels might deter some travelers, and in this case, we knew in advance what we were getting into– *a shared bathroom* (and shower). But it was hard to beat the location, or the price.  Upon arrival we paid the owner 55€ cash and dropped our bags.  The hotel was impeccably clean, and he upgraded our room.  So after walking through the rain we were happy travelers!

The room we were upgraded to was very comfortable.  I love updated old buildings.  And I am a sucker for furniture.  There was something in the room that was unlike the rest. The chair.

Me + chair = love.  I knew it had to be a designer chair, so I started looking for info. Structurally, it was perfect, and the mixed materials reminded me of the once-again chic mid-century modern furniture that is popping up everywhere. I won’t even get into ergonomics. I guessed maybe it cost $400. Nope. $2500.  Thought- better take a good look, because I won’t be seeing it again!! Of course, I pinned it to my Pinterest.  It has received industrial design awards and I think it might be at the MoMA.

ANDREA by Josep Lluscà (Spain 1986)

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*Okay, shared bathroom.  Oddly, If traveling to Kentucky I would -not- consider this! But an overnight in Heidelberg.. no problem.  Bring shampoo, don’t forget like I did.