Heidelberg and Rudesheim

The next day when we woke up, the boat was docked near Heidelberg, German. We took at bus into town and a walking tour of the ruined castle and the old part of town.

A view of town from the castle.

From the Viking Daily for Heidelberg: “Heidelberg is unquestionably one of Germans oldest and most unashamedly romantic cities. Famous for its historic university, it boasts may other obvious attractions, such has its beautiful baroque Old Town and the magical, partly ruined fairy-tale castle that overlooks it. With a history as dramatic and romantic as its Gothic-Rennaissance character — of of palatinate princes, stampeding Swedes, Protestant reformers, raging fires, and lightning bolts — it is little wonder that the castle serves as inspiration for artists and writers alike during the late 18th and early 19th centuries. It is still home to the world’s largest wine barrel, a 250-year-old vat shaped from 130 oak trees that once held 50,000 gallons of wine… Heidelberg was left in ruins by French troops one the command of Louis XIV. It was totally rebuilt during the 18th century, give us three picturesque cobblestone streets lined with half-timbered houses and baroque buildings that remain in the Old Town.”

Candy, Greg, and Nicole in front of the Heidelberg castle. It was COLD.
Another view of the castle ruins.
The main building of the castle is available for a walking tour, as it has been partially restored.
Inside the main hall is the world’s largest wine barrel.
Another view of the city from the castle grounds. There is another picture of that bridge later in this post.

The walking tour was short, and I felt like I would have liked another hour on our own in town. This portion of the cruise seemed rushed.

Greg and Nicole with the towers of the bridge behind them.
Candy and me a little closer to the bridge.
The original Kathe Wohlfahrt store. If you don’t know these stores, this is where you can order very nice, made in Germany, not China, nutcrackers, smokers, and other traditional Christmas decorations. They have satellite stores that show up in Christmas markets in Baltimore, Bethlehem, PA, and other festivals in the US.

We had 15 minutes of free time after walking around the old town (briskly) and the bridge, so we popped into a bar, called Vetter. They serve the beer with the highest alcohol content in the world: 33%. Yes, 33%, not 33 proof. It was very mild and smooth tasting, thick like a stout, but not bitter. In fact it tasted sweet.

A giant Christmas pyramid in one of the town squares that was being set up for their upcoming Christmas market.

That evening the boat docked at Rudesheim, German. We elected to leave the boat and experience their Christmas market. Most other towns started the market after our cruise, but this one actually started the day before we arrived. We had a very nice time winding our way through the byways of Rudesheim, sampling the food, and looking at souvenirs in the various street stalls.

Nicole and Candy enjoying gluwein in Rudesheim.

Greg and I were on the prowl for curry wurst, which we found and enjoyed.

Curry wurst! Yum!
The tower near the entrance to the part of town where the Christmas market was being held that we used to help find our way back to the boat.

We had a very nice time wandering around the Christmas market. It rambled through the city, so every time we turned a corner, there were mall stalls and shops. We spent about two hours in town before returning to the boat.

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