We awoke in Mannheim, Germany this morning. This city is where Car Benz was invented and eventually became the world renowned car maker, Mercedes Benz. On our ride along the Neckar River we drive toward the hills of the Odenwald Forest, here at the foothills is Heidelberg, Germany.
Heidelberg is well known for Heidelberg Castle and Heidelberg University, German’s oldest. There are over 48,000 students from over 106 countries. It is a city where the best mode of transportation is a bicycle. Back years ago when our guide was a student there was a tradition, student who were done with school would leave their bicycles with at note that said take it, ride it and leave it for the next. Our guide said this saved her several times from being late. One of the famous students at the University was Mark Twain. He found inspiration to write his second travel book, Tramps Aboard.
Heidelberg Castle sits up on top of the hill overlooking Heidelberg and its Old Town. The Castle was destroyed two times in the wars over the years. Heidelberg Castle over the years changed hands when there was no son to inherit the throne, someone from another branch of the family came to take over. At this time Heidelberg was mainly Protestant and many times the new Prince elect was Catholic. The population had to change religion to follow the Prince elect. This happened several times over the years, which was very annoying for the population to have to change their religion.
A good portion of the castle still remains intact today. There are many statues of the past princes that ruled over Heidelberg. There was one particular stone carving above a doorway of two angels. This stone carving was created by the stonemason that worked at the castle. One day his two twin boys were playing on the scaffolding and it gave way and the twins were killed. He was so distraught that it was unable to continue working. Until one day, two guardian angels appeared before him in a dream. The guardian angel told the stonemason that his boys were well and happy and they wanted him to continue his work that they loved to watch growing up. After that the stonemason created this carving to remember his twin boys.
After leaving the castle we went down to the Old Town square in Heidelberg. There were many quaint shops, plenty of pubs and chocolate cafes and great pastry shops. I found the best tin ornaments at this cool shop. Our guide also took us to her friends’ shop where she made ceramic items. I found a handmade little snow man to remember our time in Heidelberg.
As our bus left Heidelberg we were on our way to catch the ship in Gernsheim, Germany for our afternoon cruise on the Rhein River to Rudesheim.
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