Heidelberg stole my heart and not because of the castle that it is so very famous for but because of the stories and how romantic of a city it is. I wish I could have stayed longer as I did not feel as if one day was enough. I was able to experience it with a woman that was showing me around who happened to have been born in Raleigh – what?! Small world! She was so informative and captivating. I also believe that when someone can use words to depict a story it can make an experience and that’s exactly what she did.
I stayed in a magical place called the Hip Hotel. Every single room is different in accordance to a destination. I stayed in Rome – I will share more about that later. It was a special experience, directly on the main street of the city and I would definitely go back again.
There is so much history in this little city and the people there truly appreciate it. Back in the day, like a lot of places, there were wealthy and middle class to lower class people. The stories I were told were mostly about the upperclass and how they experienced their lives. One unique story, to me, was the student prison of their university in the city. As we probably all know, boys of upperclass families were only allowed to attend university and they definitely made that known. During their time in school, it was a goal to make it to the student prison. They would cause havoc in the cities or try to get caught doing something just to send them in there as it was considered a big party and actually were served fabulous food and wines. Now keep in mind, they were being arrested by the “police” who were of lower class. They actually had to ask if they didn’t mind if they arrested them – such a silly concept but the prison, which I was able to see, shows for the fun times and excitement students had when they were able to go!
Another one of my favorite stories was that of King Frederick and Queen Elizabeth. They lived temporarily in the very famous Heidelberg Castle. When walking around the grounds, it truly is amazing to me that people actually lived there and had rooms for every event they did. I would not need too many rooms as I do not do all that much – ha! The grounds are stunning and spring is just starting to arrive so I can only imagine the gardens in the summer! The castle overlooks the whole city, which was needed in regards to protection during the time of King Frederick and Queen Elizabeth. So back to their story – they married at 16 in an arranged marriage but was told how much in love they actually were. They had a very successful time in Heidelberg before leaving from Prague and then war broke out. There were issues because he was Protestant in a Catholic community and so some people did not want him to come back, which he actually never did. The people of Heidelberg absolutely still adore the king and queen and I found that very special!
During my time in the castle, I was able to see the largest wine barrel in the world and also try ice wine for the first time. Both amazing experiences – Thomas Jefferson actually measured the barrel right where I was standing, pretty cool! The ice wine is part of the history of the castle as well since they did produce it so intricately there. It is a sweeter wine made from frozen grapes and, as much as I love sweets, you cannot have too much of time.
I also had one of the best lunches at Cafe Knösel – which used to be a special place for young men at the university to go and also there were governesses that would be there as well. At that time, they were not allowed to speak – but I will get into that later. My lunch was not a “pizza” but it looks like it. I was told it is french and similar to pizzas, it is important to use a special oven. It has créme fraîche, bacon, mushroom and onion on it. It was out of this world! I could eat that over and over and over again! Also, had a very nice local white wine and cappuccino with creme to finish off the meal. Cafe Knösel is known for something very special called “The Heidelberg Student’s Kiss”. I loved the story so much that I will share that with you separately. It is an important part of their culture and when in Heidelberg, everyone must visit their shop!
To end my day, I did another brewery tour. This one was a very small brewery in a monastery at the tip top of the hill. They make their own beer, cheese, bread, everything! It is a pretty special place and their beer was very tasty. The brew master has some ideas for beers I have not yet heard of or tasted, so I won’t give away his secrets, but it is very exciting.
I could go on and on about Heidelberg. You know when something just speaks to you? Well this was it for me and I felt some comfortable there. There is one main road and if you can get to it, you can get anywhere. All the small shops, bakeries, gelato shops, stands, ah everything just blew me away. I did not want to leave! I felt very comfortable there and so welcomed.
I cannot wait to share the story of “The Heidelberg Student’s Kiss” – I certainly hope you love and enjoy it as much as I did!