Travel: A Weekend in Heidelberg

The town lay, stretched along the river, its intricate cobweb of streets jeweled with twinkling lights. Behind the castle swells a dome-shaped hill, forest-clad, and beyond that a nobler and loftier one. The Castle looks down upon the compact brown-roofed town; and from the town two picturesque old bridges span the river. I have never enjoyed a view which had such a satisfying charm about it as this one gives.
— Mark Twain in "A Tramp Abroad"

Heidelberg is a city after my own heart. Everywhere we looked there were magical buildings and fairytale cobblestone roads. How could you not smile when you are walking through streets like this. Honestly, I felt like I was in a storybook where at any moment a princess would come swiftly through the streets on the back of a horse accompanied by her knight. Okay, my imagination might of gone a little wild there, but seriously, this place is magic.

We've only lived in Germany for a short two months. I still have so much more to see, but for now, Heidelberg has been my favorite city.  I may be partial to this sweet southern town because one of our dearest friends from the U.S. was visiting for work. On his last days in Germany, he met up with Michael and me to explore, and it was such a treat.

Lets be honest, 1.5 days in Heidelberg is not enough - the Heidelberg Castle alone could consume a whole day. It was built in the 1200s and went through many renovations, wars, and was even struck by lighting on two occasions causing a fire. Since then, the Heidelberg Castle was elevated to a national monument and over 1 million people visit it each year. Amazing!

Visiting this historical landmark was definitely the highlight of my day. While we were walking, we noticed there was a wedding in the castle.  Can you imagine having your wedding in a castle? I was never one to sit around dreaming of my wedding day, but I wouldn't have argued with a castle wedding.

After having coffee and a snack at a small café in the castle, we set off to explore the rest of this whimsical city. We stumbled into the cutest antique store and met the owner, who was a local. He took the time to explain the ins and outs of his traditional Bavarian beer steins.  Y'all, it wasn't until I moved to Germany that I even knew people had specific glasses for specific beers. Germans have beer to glass match-ups down to a science. Anyway, it was so sweet hearing this elderly man passionately talk about the items in his shop. He was the most chatty, and I loved it. Still wishing I would have snagged a picture of him. 

Next, we stumbled into a shopping district that was bustling with people and plenty of restaurant choices. I am embarrassed to admit this, but we ended up eating at a Mexican restaurant (yes, I know, this sounds crazy -- who eats Mexican food in Germany? This girl). I may not have mentioned this in a prior post, but THERE IS NO MEXICAN FOOD in Germany. I repeat, NO MEXICAN FOOD. Yes, please go ahead and start sending me packets of taco seasonings and jars of hot sauce. Joking, joking. There is a little bit of Mexican food here, but it is very rare. So finding this gem of a spot was very exciting for Michael and me. Unfortunately, it just wasn't the same, and we left a bit disappointed. Lesson learned, I just need to suck it up and realize that pretzels and sausage are a better option in Bavaria.

We wandered through the Old City after dinner and enjoyed watching the sun set over the hills and seeing the castle glow in the evening sky. I think we stood on the Old Bridge for 30 minutes just looking at the lights and watching the blue sky turn dark and grey. These are some of the moments I cherish most, sitting and watching the city slow down and reminding myself what a neat opportunity it is that we actually live in this beautiful country.

It was getting late and most of the shops were closing, but we saw a small café tucked away in the Old City that we just had to go check out. Side note: something I absolutely adore about my husband is the excitement and joy he gets every time we see a café -- if you've been to Europe, then you know that you see a café every 10 steps. Yes, every 10 steps he smiles so big and looks at me like, "So, uh, you wanna coffee?" He's the cutest. The café had been rented out for a party (that's likely why it was open so late) and we apologized for interrupting, but they told us there was plenty room and we could stay. We ordered coffee and beer from the barista and he immediately noticed we weren't from Germany (What! How did he know? I look and sound German, don't I?) and was curious as to what brought us to Heidelberg. After a delightful conversation, we discovered that he had just moved to Germany a few weeks ago with his girlfriend from Greece. Because we live in a small town, it's not often we get to meet another "Auslander" and it was so refreshing to hear about someone else's adjustments to German life. 

The day was eventful and we walked back to our hotel smiling and going on about how this was one of the best days. Everything worked out so wonderfully and we were impressed by this little German town. To top it all off, we were upgraded to the penthouse suite at the hotel, which gave Michael and Nick the opportunity to enjoy beers on the roof and listen to the VOLS beat Georgia on the radio (if you don't know what I am referring to, please watch this video) -- which included lots of screaming and excitement.

Again, I cannot recommend Heidelberg enough. It was quaint, cozy, and had some of the most beautiful German architecture. I could spend a week there simply sitting in cafés and watching the people go by. It's the perfect place to experience Southern Germany and see a few magical views.

 

Hope you enjoyed!