For years whenever I go to Germany, my mom and aunts have been saying, “We should go to Heidelberg.”
Heidelberg is a university city about 150 km north of where my family lives. I’ve heard so many times about how beautiful it is and that it has one of the longest shopping streets in Germany.
My mom and I had planned to stop there on our drive from Denmark, but bad weather and a major traffic jam ruined any chance of at least seeing the castle. So during the summer, I took matters into my own hands and declared we were going to go to Heidelberg one Saturday – there was no way I was going to stay in Germany without visiting this elusive city yet again.
So on a Saturday close to the end of July, my mom, aunt, and me made the just under 2-hour trip to Heidelberg. First stop was the famous Heidelberg Castle.
Just the journey up to the castle entrance is quite steep and long, though it naturally provides a gorgeous look out onto the city and river Neckar.
At the top of the hill just before the castle, there are old gardens which I imagine are just packed with students when classes are in session. Unfortunately the classic balconies were closed for construction, but we still got a glimpse of the view through the barriers.
Heidelberg Castle was built in medieval times and eventually demolished, though it was partially rebuilt in the 17th century. As a result, there is a decidedly un-medieval section right at the front of the hill.
Sadly, you can only enter the rooms of the castle on a guided tour, but we spent a good amount of time exploring the ruins and some accessible chambers.
Naturally, we immediately headed into the wine cellars. These cellars hold enormous old wine casks.
We came upon a four-metre tall cask to which my aunt commented, “I remember it being bigger than this.”
After a photoshoot of the cask, we rounded the corner to see the real biggest cask in the castle. You need a full flight of stairs to reach the top of it.
Of course, when in an ancient castle with giant wine casks, you have to try some wine. We decided on a local red in a souvenir glass.
Next, we crossed the ruins to visit the German Pharmacy Museum.
The Deutsches Apotheken Museum takes you through a history of pharmacies in Germany, starting from back when you used to be able to see every single medicinal ingredient for sale.
It also showed some of the weird stuff pharmacists used to have in their workplaces.
We ended our time at the castle with a few more gorgeous views, despite the grey clouds.
After taking the 300 stairs back into the city, we found a nice little Italian place for lunch and avoided the worst rainfall of the day by huddling under our table’s umbrella.
We wandered through the old town, admiring the medieval buildings.
Fuelled from our pasta-filled lunch, we headed down the longest shopping street for the rest of the day. No, really – we only just reached the end once stores were starting to close. My most exciting purchase of the day: organic müsli. I really love breakfast food.
We were tuckered out from the long day of adventures by the time we headed back to the car. And somehow, though I managed to preserve it the entire rest of the day, I broke the souvenir glass from the castle shortly after we drove off.