Only 1h30 by train separates Stuttgart and Heidelberg, the fifth city most populated in the Land of Bade-Wurtemberg and considered as the romantic capitale of Germany. So without a second thought, there we are in a train with about thirty Erasmus student from all over the world, ready for an intense day in this city full of surprises ! Little extra : from Stuttgart, the round trip costs only 9 euros !
Known as one of the rare German cities that have been spared from second world war’s bombing, Heidelberg kept an ancient and typical German architecture, with its buildings full of colors and its tight streets. Here, every structure is different from the others and there is a lot of things to be overwhelmed by !
The city has many squares where markets take place each week, between bar’s terraces, border by some monuments like the town hall, the Jesuit church or the St-Spirit church, all of this in a very picturesque style that can leaves you speechless.
In the middle of the street Hauptstrasse, we came across an ancient bookstore absolutely magnificient called “Antiquariat Hatry” ! Between literature classic, researches about all the possible topics, theater plays and encyclopedias, this place overflows with books in different languages as German, French, English, Japanese or even Mandarin. A paradise for books lovers, like me !
Heidelberg is famous to be a great student city in Germany. Indeed, here one in three inhabitants is a student ! Bars and little restaurants are therefore very numerous. It even exists a student’s prison (the Karzer), that was once used to lock up students who didn’t respect the rules of the school ! Another funny “fact”, you can discover, at the bend of a street, a shop specialized in absinthe that offers a very impressive collection of this alcohol.
The University (the Ruprecht-Karls-Universität) and the library are also some very renowned places worldwide. Great names as the theorist Hannah Arendt, the Nobel Peace prize Auguste Beernaert or the Nobel Chemistry prize Richard Kuhn studied in this University, the oldest in all Germany.
Despite the cold weather and the wind, we decided to climb the 350 or so steps to get to the castle, located on the Königstuhl mountain. With its Renaissance style architecture, this building was formerly a fortified castle before it was partially destroyed. The most impressive leftover is the broken tower. The castle also gives a beautiful view on the entire city and on the Neckar, but also some enormous gardens to walk through. For 4 euros, you can also get inside the castle.
Back to this walk, we stopped to drink a coffee and eat a piece of cake in a tea salon famous to Heidelberg’s students for the love stories that started here. In Germany, the snack is usually about eating a piece of a cake, and if someone offers you some in this place, that means that he/she declares his/her love to you !
10 km, 350 steps, one cappuccino and a piece of cake later, here we are in the train again, with stars in our eyes and the desire for all of us to come back during summer, because Heidelberg is a city you can visit again and again without getting rid of it.
A little recap of the main places to visit in Heidelberg ?
- The Heidelberg’s castle (Heidelberg Schloss in German).
- The Hauptstrasse street to do some shopping in little and great shops.
- The “Antiquariat Hatry” bookshop.
- The Alte Brücke bridge, its great medieval door and its famous good-luck monkey Brückenaffe.
- The Ruprecht-Karls-Universität.
- The great library (Universitäts Bibliothek).
- Karzer (student’s prison, full of graffiti).
- St-Spirit church.
- Marktplatz (market’s square).
See you soon for an other trip !