It’s time for another Travel Tuesday linkup with Belinda of Found Love. Now What? and Bonnie Rose of A Compass Rose. I visit this linkup weekly to find new fabulously stalkable travel blogs. If you have a love for travel and want to meet new people, I highly recommend you join me in this weekly indulgence!
Last week, I guided you through my jaunt through Schloss Heidelberg and the grounds surrounding it. This week I’ll recap the latter part of the day, which I spent in Heidelberg’s Old Town (or the Altstadt).
Before I departed the castle grounds, I ran across these lovely gents. While I was waiting patiently in the queue to get into the parking garage, and feeling quite angsty over the state of my very full bladder, a very large BOOM! went off directly over the street I was idling on. The bladder problem was nearly solved, whether I was ready for it or not. Everyone on the street continued to mill about without taking any notice of the cannon, so it must have been expected (by them, certainly not me), but I was still shaken up by it. I was also irritated about nearly soiling my beloved car. Near the end of my castle tour, I found the source of the boom. The sly little grin on the face of the gentleman in the middle of this photo made me forgive them instantly. He’s just too damn cute!
As I was making my way down the 5,729 steps from the castle to the town (yes, an exaggeration, but there were so. many. steps.), I noticed that the town seemed to be just as crowded, if not more so, than the castle grounds had been. I shoved that thought into the back corner of my wee little brain because I was so distracted by the beautiful walk down to the old town. I’m sure the people living in this part of the city pay dearly for the real estate, but I would just die to live here. It’s absolutely gorgeous!
I had a bit of a crush on this house on the stairway down to the old town. I couldn’t imagine living in such a beautiful place. I also couldn’t imagine getting the groceries into this beauty every week, because there was not a driveway or side street anywhere to be found. Oofdah!
I sincerely hope the residents of this beauty were not home. I took several pictures, some at some pretty aggressive and intrusive angles.
I finally reached the bottom of the never-ending-stairway and entered the Kornmarkt (Corn Market – love that English is a Germanic language….). Some tents were set up with vendors selling beautiful pieces from all over Europe. I really wish I had taken some pictures of the lovely wares, but I was afraid that I would spend all my Euros if I stuck around too long. I just love collecting pieces of exotic decor for my home.
The Kornmarkt Square is dominated by the beautiful Baroque Kornmarkt Madonna statue.
As I attempted to venture further into the Old Town, I was met by an immovable wall of people.
Because I had not checked the official Heidelberg travel website (which is fantastic, by the way) before setting out that day, I had no clue what was going on. …so I did what any American would do and whipped out my smartphone and Googled it. I was so excited to find that I had stumbled onto the biggest festival of the year in this part of Germany! The excerpt below is directly from the website mentioned above.
[mantra-pullquote align=”center” textalign=”center” width=”100%”]On Valentine’s Day, the 14th February 1613, Frederick V of the House of Wittelsbach and the English king’s daughter Elizabeth Stuart got married in London at the age of 16. In the same year, they left England by ship and traveled over Den Haag, where Frederick visited his uncle Moritz of Orange, to Heidelberg. Frederick’s return home with his bride was an event of international standing at the time. The couple was welcomed by the cheering population of Heidelberg and a celebration of several days’ duration took place at the Heidelberg Castle, which also included a huge fireworks display. This is the starting signal for today’s illuminations of Heidelberg Castle.[/mantra-pullquote]
I made my way via a much less crowded side street to the Marktplatz (Market Square) just in time to see the afternoon’s main event, which was the reason for the jam-packed streets. At 4:30 pm the Mayor of Heidelberg made an appearance on the balcony of the old city hall on the east side of the square and introduced the newlyweds. The crowd in the square was amazing, and it was so much fun to observe their excitement.
Being part of this crowd was so much fun! I didn’t understand the address by the mayor or the remarks by the royal couple, but watching the reactions of the people around me made the meaning clear: this was a momentous occasion in Heidelberg’s history and the couple was absolutely adored by their people.
After the ceremonial kiss and address to the crowd, I turned to the west end of the square and popped into the impressive Gothic structure of the Church of the Holy Spirit. My camera battery was sadly running low, so I only have a few pictures to share. For a small fee of one Euro, you can climb the tower to take in the beautiful views. I will do this when I return.
After visiting the church, I rambled through some side streets, taking in all the beautiful architecture. The buildings are all so colorful and exquisitely maintained. I grabbed a quick bite to eat at an Indian snack shop before my return home and was thoroughly satisfied with my day.
Thanks for joining me as I reminisced about my lovely day trip to Heidelberg, Germany. Have any of you been to Heidelberg? Do you have any recommendations for must-see sights for my next trip?