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Published: September 3rd 2006
Here you see Heidelberg and the surrounding Neckar River Valley from the vantage point of the Koenigstuhl.
Seth, Kalju, and I made a last minute decision to visit the Königstuhl when the clouds looked slightly less ominous than usual. We drove downtown to the Kornmarkt on the Hauptstrasse where we caught the Burgbahn. From this point in downtown Heidelberg, we board a railway car that takes about half way up the Königstuhl, or “King’s Throne,” the second highest hill in the Oldenwald Range at 568 meters or 1864 feet. Although, I’m not quite sure why it’s officially referred to as a hill, since everyone I know calls it a mountain, which seems more appropriate. But maybe it just seems that way to me because I’m from Florida.
The second vehicle was much like the first, with staggered levels so that the trip up the mountain (hill) was made with one sitting level, as opposed to leaning back as one might on a roller coaster. This effect made the ride much more enjoyable. However, where the first railcar was modern and covered in large glass windows and steel railings, the second railcar, the famed Funicular Railway, looked like something from the 19th century, except the wood was newly painted.
The ride was much quicker than we anticipated
Between the trees you can see the Heiliggeistkirche (Holy Ghost Church)on Heidelberg's Hauptstrasse. We were about one third up the mountain at this point.
and there were people all around, but we took our time exploring the summit, appreciating the view of the town far below us, and walking along the wooded paths nearby. We also discovered we could have reached this destination by car. It was very windy and a bit foggy, so after a short walk in the woods we retreated within the famous Königstuhl Restaurant for lunch. We were quite unimpressed by the condition of the interior, but it seems people here have different expectations of restaurants than we do, which pertains solely to food and has little to do with appearance. The food was ok.
The sky quickly became very dark and it began to rain again. So we rushed back to the railcar, waited a long time in line to board again, and then finally reached the ground level of Heidelberg again. By this time the sun had come out once more, so we walked around the Hauptstrasse a bit before returning home to barbeque some steaks.
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