Edit Blog Post
Published: April 24th 2019
Photo credit: Reinhard Wolf, Talstraße 13, 63128 Dietzenbach (selbst fotografiert)
After breakfast this morning, Dee made a solo sortie to the local grocery store, toting her haul in our little carry-on travel bag with wheels. Then we decided to have lunch at the Cafe Gundel up the street before making the journey by funicular train to reach the Heidelberg Castle, which is located 260 ft. up the northern part of the Königstuhl mountain. Although the castle can be reached on foot, most visitors ride the Heidelberger Bergbahn funicular railway that runs from Heidelberg's Kornmarkt to the station at Königstuhl (almost 1,500 ft. above the city).
Our train ride up to the castle was pretty slick, although we had to wait for crowds to disperse before buying tickets, and we reached the castle grounds around 3 PM. The panoramic views of the city, the old bridge and the Neckar river are quite stunning from this vantage point, so we spent some time snapping photos and gawking at the scenery below.
When we entered the inner courtyard we got our first glimpse of the magnificent palace facades, each one a masterpiece of Renaissance architecture, decorated with unique statues and figurines. The earliest castle structure was built before 1214, and later expanded
into two castles circa 1294, but it was not until royalty arrived in the 1400s that it began to be transformed into a palace of kings.
Until the Thirty Years' War (1618-1648), Heidelberg Palace boasted one of the most notable collection of buildings in the Holy Roman Empire. The present structures had been expanded by 1650, before damage by later wars and fires. In a relatively short period of time, the prince electors (sovereigns) commissioned a series of imposing buildings that today frame the courtyard of the palace.
Although we did not opt for a guided tour of the interior, I did venture into a sort of cellar under the castle where the “Großes Fass”, or great cask, is located. This giant wine barrel (or cask) was completed in 1751 under elector Karl Theodor, and was able to hold a legendary 221,726 liters of wine. Today, the wood has dried out, reducing its capacity to 219,000 liters (about 58,000 U.S. gallons).
The cask is guarded by the statue of Perkeo, called the sentinel of the barrel, who was once jester to elector Karl Philipp. Legend has it that the dwarf, only a meter high, but weighing 100
kilograms, was brought to Heidelberg from Tirol by Karl Philipp, who made him his jester, and asked him whether he could drain the barrel all by himself. The fool answered, “Perché no?” – Italian for “why not?” – and henceforth was known as “Perkeo.” Source:
During the ensuing centuries, the palace suffered the devastating ravages of wars, and the forces of nature (lighting strikes), until it was ultimately destroyed in the 17th-century. After some provisional repairs in 1764, it was gutted by fire and left in ruins. In the 19th-century, it became a venerated icon of the Romantic movement in Germany, when writers such as Mark Twain and Victor Hugo paid homage to the site. Restoration projects began in the 19th-century, with the castle ultimately becoming the national monument it is today. Dee's Comments:
Happy Birthday to my hubby today, who's been struggling to cope with pulled back muscles since our trip began. I made him a nice breakfast while he worked on the blog; then I went out to the grocery store and bakery (lady at the grocery store wasn't very pleasant). Then off we went to lunch before heading to the castle.
skies were not very favorable for picture-taking, but we did the best we could. Great afternoon otherwise. When we returned to the apartment, just a simple dinner of bread, cheese, salami and avocados, before an early bedtime.
Some of the trip's crazier moments so far: Mitch did not pack his sunglasses (but did pack a new shirt that doesn't fit); packed too many warm clothes; lost one of our favorite "tucker" bags (in which we haul misc. things while out and about) which we've used for the last 9 years! Oh, today, the lady in the bakery shop pissed Mitch off when she yelled at him for attempting to take a photo inside the shop...LOL!
Tot: 0.949s; Tpl: 0.023s; cc: 11; qc: 61; dbt: 0.0195s; 1; m:saturn w:www (22.214.171.124); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.4mb