Stopover in Heidelberg

I continue with our experiences in Europe in 2010. We had gone on this tour with the main aim of attending the Passion Play in Oberammegau which we did and found to be outstanding. We then travelled as a group for another week to Salzburg and then other towns and cities in Bavaria. This article describes day 6 of our coach tour.

We had travelled to Heidelberg via Rothenburg as a change of itinerary and so only arrived in Heidelberg in the later part of the afternoon. This was not a problem as it was early August and so there was daylight until after 9pm. The hotel was located right on the bank of the River Neckar so, once we had completed booking in, most of us decided to walk along the river and watch the barges and boats sail by. There was a lot of this sort of traffic and it was amazing to see what some of them carried by way of cargo – sand, coal, wood etc. and mostly in very large amounts so the load must have been heavy. It was interesting to see that most of the barge ‘drivers’ also had their own car on board so that, when they stopped for the night, they were able to go into the local town for a meal or whatever else they needed. Not far up the river from the hotel there was a lock and we watched 3 or 4 barges go through. A really fascinating process to watch.

 

Barges on NeckarBarges on the River Neckar

Directly opposite our hotel was the Karl Theodore Bridge built in 1788 after many wooden bridges had been washed away in floods. It is built of the same red stone as that used to build the Town Hall Tower in Rothenburg. It is 200m wide with a beautiful tower at one end. At the hotel end of the bridge are markings on the side of the bridge showing the heights of floods since the late 19th Century. They have raised the river by up to 8m at times and a gradual increase in height has been noticed has been observed as time has passed. Does this give any suggestion of climate change?

Flood markings

Markings in metres of the height of floods over the years

 Overlooking this whole area is the Heidelberg Castle which we did not have time to visit not only because of its distance from the hotel but also because it was undergoing repair at the time.Further up the road from the hotel was the university part of which had once been the town jail which I found to be quite an apt combination of the use of buildings.

 

Heidelberg UniversityPart of the university, a former prison

 In the evening we had dinner at a lovely hotel called the Hotel Zum Ritter Zum Georg. It was a short walk from our hotel and the food was excellent. For those who remember, 2010 was the year that South Africa hosted the FIFA World Soccer Cup and we so surprised to see a shop next door to the Ritter which was selling all sorts of World Cup paraphernalia, including vuvuzelas. Made us all feel right at home. We walked back to the hotel at about 10:30pm on a beautiful moonlit night. It was still quite amazing to think back to all we had seen and done in one day. We all felt so blessed.

  

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About Me

I was born into the early part of the Baby Boomer generation, the 3rd of what came to be a family of 6 daughters. Although both our parents, who are now deceased, had been raised in rural Natal (now KwaZulu-Natal) and the 2 eldest daughters were born in a country town, the other 4 of us were all born at home in Durban. Read More

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