There are very few towns that look the same on a postcard and in reality. Heidelberg is one of them. Scenically located between the Neckar on one side and the Odenwald (mountain) on the other, it is truly a romantic hideaway.
I really wanted to use the Funicular to go up to the castle and then to Königstuhl, but it was shut due to the weather. So we took a bus to the Bismarckplatz and then a shuttle right up to the schloss or castle. Public transport is unbelievably easy and tourist friendly, so go for it and skip using a taxi. As usual, before we set out, we first got an information download at the tourist centre, near the Hauptbahnoff, close to our hotel.
The ruins of the Heidelberger Schloss are thoroughly beautiful. We did get a little lost since there isn’t a (or atleast we didn’t find any) particular order in which you see the place. Also, for instance, we didn’t go upstairs, inside the castle because we couldn’t find a way to do so!
We did, however, visit the Apotheken Museum – entrance is included in the ticket to the castle. Dedicated obviously to the apothecaries – German for pharmacies, the place gives a very interesting account of drugs, medicines and pharmacies through the ages. It seems small when you enter, but is actually larger than you can imagine, with even a “children’s pharmacy”. I was really impressed with the evolution of the symbols for the Apothekes and what each signified. This place is really worth a visit.
Oh I forgot to mention, the museum’s shop has an amazing collection of essential oils and fragrances, liquors (from condiments) among other interesting things.
There were a ton of books on home remedies that I set my heart on, but were all in German, so skipped it.
Our return was a stony stairway down to the Kornmarkt. And, someone had painstakingly numbered the steps. So sweet. Really helped us make it through. All the way, we crossed what I imagine were private residences that only an artist could have built for himself. Even the plants and vines that grew around, were picture perfect.
From down below, the castle looks surreal. It lurks above the maintained buildings like an old forgotten genie. It still stirs up something inside me when I look at the pictures we took of it.
We walked some more until hunger caught up with us, and before we knew it, steered off in the direction of Café La Boheme. We reached well after lunch time. The chef had just left, but a kind and friendly gentleman behind the counter, called Alex, whipped up some sandwiches, and wine and hot chocolate to go with it. He personally recommended the wine – a Pinot gris. And I really really loved it. Must Try!! While parting Alex shared with us a list of other wonderful wines from the region.
These were: Pinot Gris, Pinot Grigio, Hans Winter. He also suggetsed going to Weinhaus Fehser to pick them up.
Our post-prandial walk was along the ‘old bridge’, more formally known as the Karl Theodor Bridge, a well-known landmark of the town. What is even more known, is the bronze statue of the monkey with a mirror.
The monkey’s face is large enough to put one’s head inside, and wear it like a mask. The mirror, is for the viewer to look at his own reflection. But, the twist is in the poem, written by Martin Zeiller, which mocks the viewer. Found the below translation here.
What are you gaping at me so?
Didn’t you see the old monkey of Heidelberg?
Maybe then you will find more of my equals.
The evening ended with some shopping at the Altstadt – from walking into the most unexpected of bookstores to picking up our usual favourites at Rituals.
Heidelberg is a treasure trove. Everything you find here is precious, all you need, is to know what you’re looking for.
For me, it was like the sip of a drink that swings you from tipsy to drunk. The city, with her sheer beauty, intoxicated me.
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