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Glasses of beer, Schwetzingen, Germany
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Germany: Heidelberg

Schwetzingen Heidelberg Heidelberg Castle
Heidelberg Castle


A beautiful city with spacious squares and a fine, partly rebuilt, Renaissance castle - we particularly enjoyed the German Pharmaceutical Museum there!

Schwetzingen

Schwetzingen
The Asparagus Lady.
Schwetzingen is famous for its asparagus.

 

In August 2014 we headed up to Heidelberg, principally to meet family and watch our nephew Tom take part in the Formula Student competition for the University of Huddersfield where he was in his final year - also a good opportunity to explore this lovely city.

Schwetzingen castle
Schwetzingen Castle
Schwetzingen castle

Before going into Heidelberg we stopped at Schwetzingen, just to the west, for lunch at a restaurant with its own brewery. First we walked around the extensive castle gardens.

In the 18th century Schwetzingen was the summer residence of the Palatine Prince Electors.1 These were aristocrats who ruled the area known as the Rhineland Palatinate and were members of the council which elected the emperor of the Holy Roman Empire. As such they were hugely influential and rather rich.

Schwetzingen castle
Schwetzingen Castle gardens.

 

Schwetzingen castle
Schwetzingen Castle gardens.
Schwetzingen castle

The gardens were landscaped first in a formal French style and then in a more natural style at the end of the 18th century, including follies and ruins.

The castle gates are right on Schlossplatz in the centre of the town, very convenient, especially as it was a very hot day.

 

Schwetzingen castle
Schwetzingen Castle gardens.
Schwetzingen castle
Schwetzingen castle

 

 

I'm not particularly keen on formal gardens in this style, but the borders were colourful and some of the bridges and canals very pretty.

Schwetzingen
Schwetzingen Brauhaus zum Ritter on Schlossplatz.
Schwetzingen
Rough translation: Drinking is a vice, is that clear Herr Paster? Perfectly clear Herr Kaddinal, same again please.
Paster and Kaddinal are probably indicative of the religious offices of pastor and cardinal.
Schwetzingen castle

 

Lunch was very good though - flammkuchen for Andrew and sausages for me, both washed down with the excellent beer brewed on site.

 

Schwetzingen
Schwetzingen
Schwetzingen
Inside Zum Ritter.
Schwetzingen

 

The restaurant is actually a small (by Munich standards!) beer hall but we ate outside under a shady umbrella.

 

Heidelberg

Formula Student

 

We headed into Hockenheim before checking in at our hotel to surprise Tom. Formula Student is "Europe’s most established educational engineering competition which uses motorsport to inspire students."2 Tom was competing with his team from the University of Huddersfield in the UK. We watched them do very well on the skid pad before heading off to check in.

Formula Student

The following morning we went back to the race track to watch and left after lunch to do a bit of sight seeing in Heidelberg before dinner.

The oldest university town in Germany, Heidelberg is a beautiful city, with expansive squares, lovely buildings, a fine castle and lots of good places to eat and drink.

Heidelberg
A commercial barge on the Neckar.

We wandered down to the River Neckar before heading up to Marktplatz.

Heidelberg
Medieval Bridge Gate on Old Bridge, once part of the city wall.3
Heidelberg
Haus zum Ritter
HeidelbergStatue of Perkeo on the Gasthaus Perkeo.
Perkeo was a notorious wine-drinking jester of Prince Elector Charles Philip.
Heidelberg
18th c Karl Theodor or Old Bridge with Heidelberg castle above the city.
Heidelberg
Heidelberg
Plenty of places to eat on Marktplatz.
Heidelberg
Wirsthaus zum Seppl opened at the end of the 17th century. It has its own brewery.
Heidelberg
Haus zum Ritter

 

Virtually the whole of Heidelberg was destroyed during the War of Succession towards the end of the seventeenth century. One of the few buildings to survive is the beautiful late Renaissance Haus "zum Ritter Saint George",3 the Knight's Mansion, now a hotel.

Heidelberg
University Library facade.

 

The early nineteenth century University Library holds many old and valuable manuscripts, including fine medieval illuminated manuscripts. Some of these are displayed in the exhibition gallery. The university has made a good number of documents available online in their digitized collection.

Heidelberg
The gothic Church of the Holy Spirit on Marktplatz, early Sunday.
The tombs of the Prince Electors of the Rhine Palatinate are here.
Heidelberg
Karlsplatz

 

Heidelberg Castle

Heidelberg Castle
Heidelberg Castle high above the roofs of the city.

 

The castle stood for hundreds of years before its destruction in the late 19th century during the War of Succession. It was another 200 before restoration began, and the whole castle was never fully rebuilt, but it has some fine Renaissance structures.

A funicular whisks you up the hill.

 

Heidelberg Castle
The castle moat.
Heidelberg CastleView of the city from the castle.
Heidelberg Castle
Heidelberg Castle

Heidelberg Castle

 

Heidelberg Castle
Heidelberg Castle
Heidelberg Castle
Early Renaissance Otto Heinrich wing.
Heidelberg Castle
Late Renaissance Friedrich building.
Heidelberg Castle
The Great Vat.
Heidelberg Castle
Heidelberg Castle
Next to the Friedrich building are early Renaissance arcades.

 

The Great Vat is really amazing. It is a huge wooden barrel, dating from the end of the 18th century, which can hold 49,000 gallons of wine! On top is a platform where there was wine-tasting or dancing.

Heidelberg Castle
Perkeo statue overlooking the Great Vat.


Heidelberg Castle
Hygieia, daughter of Asclepius and Greek goddess of health and hygiene.

In the early 18th century the court jester Perkeo was put in charge of the castle wine reserves by Prince Elector Charles Philip, perhaps not the wisest move given his legendary capacity for wine-drinking!

Heidelberg Castle

 

The castle is also home to the German Pharmaceutical Museum which we found fascinating. Some of the old pharmacy interiors and their pottery jars are beautiful.

Heidelberg Castle
Heidelberg Castle
Heidelberg Castle
Asclepius, Greek god of medicine, with his trademark staff and serpent.

Heidelberg Castle
Heidelberg Castle
Heidelberg Castle
Cocoa pods, beans and products; the blue and white jar is labelled "Beurre de Cacao" - cocoa butter.
Heidelberg Castle
Distillation apparatus.
Heidelberg Castle
Items to do with sailing including a sextant and spice boxes.
Many ingredients would need to be imported.
Heidelberg Castle
Theriaca was an ancient cure-all.
Heidelberg Castle
Heidelberg Castle
Heidelberg Castle


Many of the ancient remedies might be regarded as poisonous now!

Heidelberg Castle
Note the suspended crocodile! On the far end of the bench is a blowfish.
Heidelberg Castle
Heidelberg Castle
The horn of this "unicorn" is a narwhal tusk.

 

References

  1. Michelin Guide to Germany: West Germany and Berlin
  2. Institute of Mechanical Engineers - Formula Student
  3. Heidelberg - Places of Interest