One of our first weekends in Germany we decided to try out a tour to Heidelberg.  This tour caught our eye because it was also billed as a way to learn about the German train system.  You always hear in the states how cheap it is to travel in Europe and to just get a rail pass.  Well, when we looked into it, it didn’t  seem like that great of a deal and traveling by train appeared to be pretty expensive.  We felt like we were missing something, so we were hoping this tour would fill in some blanks for us, and it did!

We had to meet at the train station at 7:00 AM and it was FREEZING!  We decided to go on our first tour on the first weekend where temps were hovering between 0-10 degrees.  Our excitement to travel trumped some of our rational thinking.  We found our group at the station and met our guide Sandy, and the rest of our tour group of about 17 people.  Sandy showed us how to read the schedule and how to use the ticket kiosks to buy the right kind of ticket.  There’s a ticket you can buy for about 20 euro that will work for up to 5 people (dogs can come too) and on the weekends it’s good for both days.  So for our whole group, we only needed 4 tickets.

Our train ride to Heidelberg was about an hour and a half.  When we arrived we walked straight out of the train station and into the town.  The first part of the morning was spent doing a walking tour of the old town or “altstadt.”

This is one of the main squares in town
A view of the castle overlooking Heidelberg
One of the churches
The Neckar River runs through Heidelberg
This is a statue of a baboon holding a mirror, I don’t know why they have it, but “they” say if you rub his foot you’ll return to Heidelberg, if you rub the mirror you’ll be wealthy, and there are some little mice next to him you rub for fertility.  And my scarf is over my face because I was so cold!
I think this is just called “Old bridge”, it’s really pretty though
Walking though town
Yay!  I found a Starbucks!!  I have to say, they really took their time here, there was no rushing the baristas.  The barista was taking her time to make sure my carmel drizzle was perfect!
Inside of the beautiful Jesuit church
This is the tram you can ride from town up to the castle.  You can also walk but it was way too cold for that.
Walking up to the castle

Castle entrance, notice the knights guarding it up above
This castle was huge, it blew little ol’ Burg Nanstein out of the water!
It looked Greek or Roman to me because of all the columns and statues on the facades.

We started our tour in the barrel room.
World’s largest wine vat, literally! Sadly it’s empty now, but at one time was full of wine.
The building on the right is the oldest part of the castle, the castle was destroyed and rebuilt several times but not in either World War, back in the 1600’s and 1700’s.

Inside a hall
The castle’s cathedral

View from the castle.  Across the river there is the “Philosopher’s Way” which is supposed to be a really pretty walk.  I rubbed the monkey’s foot so I can come back another day and go on that walk 🙂
This is a model of what the castle would’ve looked like in it’s prime.  Pretty!

After the castle tour, we got some gluwein (hot mulled wine) to go and headed back down to town for some lunch.  We made lunch a long one since it was so cold.  The food we had was great, we haven’t had a bad German meal yet!  After lunch we walked in and out of some of the shops and then it was time to walk back to the train station!  It was a really fun day (despite the cold), we would love to go back to Heidelberg, and we are excited to start using the trains to travel around!