Day 5: Heidelberg and Speyer
Heidelberg was a most beautiful city with a lot of history (like almost all European cities.) The gate at the end of the bridge to enter Heidelberg was very artistic but seemed to be more about keeping people out..than welcoming them in. (Note the foreboding iron spikes)
The Heidelberg Castle on the hill is the focal point of tourism. A quick history from Wiki:
The earliest castle structure was built before 1214 and later expanded into two castles circa 1294; however, in 1537, a lightning-bolt destroyed the upper castle. The present structures had been expanded by 1650, before damage by later wars and fires. In 1764, another lightning-bolt caused a fire which destroyed some rebuilt sections.
This place has a million visitors a year and I think half of them were there while we were there! One of the most amazing things was how the buses negotiated up the narrow one way streets and managed to turn around in the parking lot without running anyone over. Seriously. Our guide was a Christian Slater look-alike who was passionate about the history and a drama student as well. He surely made the history come alive!!
A most humorous moment was when we walked in to the basement and he was talking about the largest wine cask in the world. This is what we saw (on the left), so many of us posed for photos. Then he said "But that's not it." Ha ha. Fooled us all.
The largest was in such a small room, I couldn't get a good photo of it so here is someone else's (to the right). It was built in 1751 and stands seven meters high, is eight and a half meters wide, holds 220,000 liters (58,124 gallons) of wine, and has a dance floor built on top of it.
The story goes that the doctor was worried about the official wine-taster. He told him to stop drinking so much wine and drink water instead. The man started drinking water and died the next week. Water was apparently not all that safe back then.
The most awesome thing about Heidelberg (besides our cute, animated tour guide)
Not sure what Doug and Paulette are thinking about our tour guide..??
And everywhere you looked, the beautiful window box flowers.
Turns any drab building absolutely beautiful..
Although in Heidelberg, these were no drab buildings.
Two of the many, many photos I took of the flowers.
Of course, we had to try the local beer.
Another style of beer mugs here.
The boat was docked in Speyer for the evening and we were treated to German music and German costumes onboard
Our accordion player was actually an American with a German boyfriend :) What we noticed was the name of the accordion: Walther. My mother's family name. Our sweet program director wore this costume which looked more like something from Comi-Con.She was quite a delightful young lady from Romania.
Her favorite phrase was: "the program will begin in 25 minutes and 15 seconds."
The evening ended with the kitchen crew singing (sort of) for us. Loads of fun.