Monday, April 21, 2014

Rhine Getaway: Heidelberg, Germany (4/21/2014)

Monday, April 21, 2014
Easter Monday, which is a holiday in Germany. The Viking Gullveig arrived in Mannheim (KM 424.7) at 2:00, so we missed another lock during the night. Since Basel, the Rhine has been the border between France and Germany, but we lost France at about KM 350. Now we are strictly in Germany, with Mannheim to our right and Ludwigshafen to our left. We must have docked somewhere to the south, which means we will not be able to see the BASF facilities. Even in the booklet provided by Viking River Cruises, the description of Ludwigshafen includes mention of the founding in 1865 of the Badische Anilin- und Soda-Fabrik/Baden Anilin and Soda Factory (BASF)!
View from Ludwigshafen from Mannheim
After breakfast, our faithful motor coach drivers were waiting for us, to take us to Heidelberg, Germany.
Mercedes bus (Viking)
We again had Rostia, the driver, and today we had Gila as tour guide. As we left Mannheim, we passed the SAP Arena. SAP is a German multinational software company that sponsors the arena, and it is home to local ice hockey and handball teams, as well as a venue for concerts.
We followed the Neckar River to the historic city of Heidelberg, then the motor coach began to climb the hill to the Schloss/castle. Unbelievable hairpin turns among residences, many of them fraternity houses for the University of Heidelberg. We had to back up to let other buses out of the tiny parking lot, then our driver thought nothing of backing into a parking space. The parking attendant didn't like where he parked, and made our driver move the bus to the adjacent space! Rostia will get a bigger tip today!
We still had a few stairs to climb, but that was nothing compared what we might have encountered. I think the leisurely group was taken even higher up the hill.
The Heildelberg Schloss/Castle belonged to a family of Kurfürsten/electorate princes, of which there were seven throughout the Holy Roman Empire, who chose the King of Romans, who could then be crowned the Holy Roman Emperor by the pope. The castle started as one building sometime before 1214. It seems each succeeding electorate prince added a new palace!
Kent, Brynne, and Paul by
the Elisabethentor/Elizabeth Gate, (1615)
a triumphal arch leading to a former garden
Crossed the moat through the Brückenhaus/Bridgekeeper's Tower to the Wachtturm/Watch Tower (1541)
Wartturm/Watch Tower
The blank space between the two lions once held a shield made of silver
We were told that the French who seized the castle during the French Palatinate War/Nine Years' War (1688–97), took the shield and melted it down to make ammunition. We entered the main courtyard of the castle, surrounded by buildings from different eras.
Paul & Brynne in front of Friedrichsbau/Frederick's Building
Lintel decoration on Ruprechtsbau/
Ruprecht's Building (15C, the oldest) (KSS)
Legend says the two angels represent the children of the builder who were killed in a construction accident, and came in a vision to their grieving father as angels with a wreath of roses.
Ottoheinrichsbau/Otto Heinrich's Building
(1556-1570 in German Renaissance style)
The façade includes statues of classical heros, from left to right on the ground floor: Joshua, Samson, Hercules, David and the Holy Roman Emperor; on the next floor above: virtues of a Christian ruler (strength, faith, love, hope, justice); the next floor: personifications of the seven classical planets Saturn, Mars, Venus, Mercury, and Luna/Moon; and on the roofline: Sol/Sun and Jupiter, all by Dutch sculptor Aleexander Colin.
Neue Hof/New Court
(1546, blend of Gothic and Renaissance)
was struck by lightning in 1746 and destroyed by fire
Friedrichsbau/Frederick's Building
(1601-1607, architect Johannes Schoch)
Friedrich decided to honor his ancestors by placing statues (1607 by Sebastian Götz from Chur) of them on the façade. Starting on the lowest level: Friedrich der Fromme, Ludwig VI, Johann Casimir, Friedrich IV; the middle level: Ruprecht I, Friedrich I, Friedrich der Weise, Ottheinrich; the upper level: Ludwig der Baier, Ruprecht I, Otto von Ungarn, Christoph von Dänemark; the level at the bottom of the gables: Karl der Große, Otto von Wittelsbach, Ludwig der Kelheimer, Rudolf der Stammler; with Spring and Summer at the very top.
Bibliothekbau/Library (1520)
We went out on the terrace overlooking the city and the River Neckar.
Rittersprung/Knight's Leap footprint
Another legend: when a fire broke out in Friedrichbau, a gallant knight calmed the ladies and led them down a spiral staircase. Checking to see that no one was left, he discovered the stair tower was in flames. His only recourse was to jump out of the window to land on the terrace. Due to his heavy armor, he left a footprint in the terrace.
Another story that we were told was that the knight was involved in some hanky panky with the electorate prince's wife, and when the prince suddenly showed up, the knight had to jump out of the window, and his iron boot caused the footprint. Either way, if you should find your shoe fits the print, you are assured a happy life.
View from the castle terrace
of the Heiliggeist Kirche/Church of the Holy Spirit (15-16C)
View from the castle terrace
of the  Karl-Theodor-Brücke/Karl Theodore Bridge (1788) 
Many architectural styles in one wall (KSS)
Kapelle/Chapel in the Englischerbau/
English Building (1610-1613)
We went downstairs under Friedrichsbau to see the big wine barrel. People seemed blasé about going to see this vat, but surely they were astounded to see the 7m/23' wide and 8.5m/28' long barrel with a capacity of 228,000 liters/60,231 gallons.
View from the dance floor on top of the barrel
    Großes Fass/Great Vat (1750-1751)
    What the folks didn't like to hear was that the barrel was to hold the wine collected as tithes, and so many different wines were mixed together.
    Heidelberg Schloss/Castle was left in ruins after the Thirty Year's War (1618-1648) and the Nine Years' War (1688–97). The court was moved to Mannheim in 1720, and after the fire of 1746, it was totally abandoned. There was talk of tearing down the castle, when Frenchman Charles de Graimberg became interested in preserving the ruins and began promoting it as a tourist site (1810). His pictures of the castle were forerunners of the postcard. Visitors such as Mark Twain helped popularize the place, as did American GIs after World War II.
    We were given some free time, and I wanted to find a couple things I missed in our visit last year. Gila, the guide, directed me to the Goethe's Tablet, with lines from a poem written by Marianne von Willemer in memory of her last encounter with Johann Wolfgang Goethe in 1815.
    Goethes Steintafel/Goethe's Tablet
    on a foundation wall of the former Vogelhaus/Aviary
    Pulverturm/Powder Tower where munitions were stored
    and it exploded in 1693 (KSS)
    Gila noted my interest in Goethe, and pointed out the location of other Goethe mementos.
    Goethe Bust (1987)
    Kent on the Goethe-Marianne Bench (1922);
    a hoopoe bird is carved in the back,
    a symbol from the Orient similar to a Cupid
    Schlossgarten/Castle garden with
    Vater-Rhein-Brunnen/Father Rhine
    or Neptunsbrunnen/Neptune Fountain
      Incomplete grotto
      We returned to the buses to take another perilous route down the hill to the old town.
      Peterskirche/St Peter Church (12C)
      We were dropped off on the banks of the Rhine near Leyergasse to begin the walking portion of the tour.
      Kulturbrauerei Heidelberg/a hotel in an old brewery
      and former student hangout
      Zum Roten Ochsen/The Red Ox (1703),
      another former student hangout
      Sitting in the sunny Karlsplatz, we were given an overview of the history of Heidelberg.
      Sebastian Münster Brunnen/Fountain (1978 by Michael Schoenholtz)
      dedicated to the humanist cosmographer
      Goethe lived for a time in this building
      with the artist Boisserée brothers in 1814
      Karlsplatz pruned tree
      We walked over to Kornplatz/Grain Square.
      View of Heidelberg Schloss/Castle on the hill
      with the Madonna statue (1718 by Peter van den Branden)
      Next Marktplatz/Market Square.
      Church of the Holy Spirit (15-16C)
      Rathaus/City Hall (1701-1703 in Baroque style)
      Gila pointed out two more houses where Goethe had lived.
      Goethe stayed here in 1775
      Goethe also stayed here in Marktplatz
      Haus zum Ritter/Knights House
      ( (1592 Renaissance), oldest house in Heidelberg
      Haus zum Ritter/Knights House detail
      Haus zum Ritter/Knights House sign
      We had free time and were to meet our guide back at the bus.
      Karl-Theodor-Brücke/Bridge (1788)
      with Paul & Brynne
      Kent as the Brückenaffe/Bridge Monkey (1979 by Gernot Rumpf)
      Such a monkey was mentioned in a poem by Martin Zeiller in 1632, who holds a mirror as self-reflection, asking why you are staring, haven't you seen other monkeys in this town? Now people touch the mirror for luck, the monkey's hands to insure their return to Heidelberg, and the nearby mice for fertility.
      Rear end view of the monkey
      Karl Theodor, the namesake of the bridge
      We wandered along the river to the University.
      Window shutter hook (KSS)
      "Enough with the genetically engineered corn!"
      Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg/Heidelberg University, founded in 1386, is the oldest university in Germany. We visited the Studentenkarzer/student prison (16C, used 1712-1914), a sort of very serious detention hall.
      Prison toilet
      Students left their mark in graffiti
      and in carvings in wood surfaces
      We also saw the Renaissance Aula/Lecture hall.
      Aula/Lecture hall
      Students Brynne, Kent, and Paul
      On our way back to the bus, we tried a local pastry, the Schneeball/Snowball:
      Schneeballen/Snowballs in many flavors
      Bird house?
      House with wisteria pergola
      Karlstor/Karl'sGate (1775–1781 by Nicolas de Pigage)
      Max Weber's house
      Max Weber, a German sociologist, philosopher and political economist, attended Heidelberg University in 1882 to study law, and returned in 1896 to teach economics.
      Our guide, Gila, did not return to the motor coach as planned, and we were unable to tip this one guide who took our interests to heart.
      Field of rapeseed flowers
      The motor coaches did not take us back to Mannheim, as the ship had traveled on without us. We were to meet the ship in Gernsheim (KM 462), and we were warmly greeted.
      Welcome Home!
      Next: Cruising to Rüdesheim.

      No comments: