So as I casually mentioned at the end of my last blog post, my next day trip was set for Heidelberg. And so I put a plan together and again, Kat, her daughter Brianna, and I, all piled into my little Prius and got on the road. We ended up getting a little bit of a late start, but all in all, we agreed our timing ended up being perfect all day.
We both packed snacks, water, and sandwiches for the trip to help save money. This is such a great way to save a pretty significant amount when you’re traveling by car and have the extra space. And in a lot of cases, probably healthier too.
We started our adventure with a stop in Schwetzingen, just outside of Heidelberg, to visit the palace grounds and walk through the gardens. As I say… probably ever blog… parking stresses me out. And for some reason, I had not checked into parking for this stop. I think I assumed it would have parking… not sure why… that’s not like me. Fortunately, Kat is German… which means the signs make a lot more sense to her than they do to me! So we actually ended up finding free street parking, really close. Perfect!
We walked across the main street and found what turned out to be an exit only, haha. But again, this would end up being perfect because when it was time to go, we could exit right to our car. But at the time, we had to do a bit of walking to the other side to get to the main entrance. As usual, I enjoyed the sights along the way and stopped to snap photos.
Tickets to get in ended up being 6 EUR each for the adults and I think 3 EUR for Bri. We both agreed this was well worth it to walk through – the grounds are HUGE. We both agreed we need to return in the summer to see everything in full bloom. But it was really cool to go while the cherry blossoms were out – which is when we choose to go! (this was early April)
This was a palace used as a summer residence for the Electors Palatine Charles III Philip and Charles IV Theodore. Much of the construction we see today was done in the early 1700’s and replaced a 17th-century hunting lodge that was built over an even older moated castle foundation. When the garden was expanded to the current extravagance in the 1750’s and 60’s there were also plans to also upgrade to a larger palace as well, but because of other building projects this was not seen through. So now we see the smaller palace and massive garden.
We slowly made our way through all of the shrub labyrinths and found so many amazing hidden places within. There was an amazing gazebo structure within the maze of trees and bushes. It was built high up on a rock with a waterfall in front. One of the coolest parts was walking through the caves underneath and looking out into the gardens from behind the waterfall.
There was detail everywhere you look. Statues, and details all around. Even the ceiling above was extravagant.
The bath house was right next door. Photography was not allowed inside so I don’t have anything to show. It was amazing how well taken care of the small building was, though. To go inside we had to all slip giant felt slippers over our feet to protect the old wooden floors. We walked through and in the last room, we found quite a treat. The room was used as a bathing room to cool off from the hot summer heat. It was decorated with raw crystals all over and plaster made to look like the inside of a cave. We learned much of this because the guard came in and gave us a history lesson (Kat translated what I didn’t catch in German).
The next stop for us was the mosque – but before that, we had to make a pitstop for popsicles. So while we walked we enjoyed our frozen snack. Built in 1779 -1791, the “Moschee” (mosque) is the oldest of its style in Germany. It was built in the Turkish style that was fashionable at that time and not meant as a religious building. It has undergone some restoration and is now an amazingly beautiful structure again.
We also took the time to take some fun shots here … I mean… How could we not??
While we walked through and around the Mosque we noticed the ruins of another structure across the pond so we decided to explore that way next. We asked what it had been previously and we got a pretty humorous answer…. NOTHING! It was 100% decorative. Apparently not only Mosques were seen as fashionable, but so were castle ruins… so they made their own! We still walked over for some more photo ops, though.
We saved the best part for last and wandered through the cherry blossoms and daffodils before it was time to leave. Make sure to watch the video to see more of this part of the gardens – I think it probably does is a little bit more justice.
As planned this dumped us out right at the exit we had found on our way in, so we ended up right where the car was parked. We loaded back up, got the snacks out to refuel, and then it was back on the road – But only a short drive. We had a little trouble finding parking when we arrived in Heidelberg, but after a few laps around there was finally someone leaving the parking deck we wanted to park in. I HAD planned this one out! The funicular boarded right there in the parking deck, so it was super easy to find everything we needed without a ton of extra walking.
So we purchased our tickets and then got into the little cart that would take us to the top of the mountain. Now, if you go, make sure you get the right tickets. We got close… Well, to be fair we got what we thought we wanted. There are one-way tickets that you can take if you want to walk down. Then there is the round trip ticket that we got that takes you two stops up. The first stop is the castle, the second stop is an overlook. So we decided to go up to the lookout and then down to the castle. Well, when we got to the second stop we learned there was another track with the older cars that went to the ACTUAL top. So we traded our tickets in for THOSE tickets and went on up. Unfortunately, it was hazy by this point in the day, but it was still well worth the ride up.
After having some snacks, and enjoying the view we rode back down, making sure to sit in the front this time! (watch the video) We went ahead and rode back to the first stop and got out to go wander through the castle ruins. It is said that these castle ruins are the most important from the Renaissance era, north of the alps. The earliest build on this sight was from before 1215 and later expanded in 1294. In 1537 the first lightning bolt to strike this castle started a fire that destroyed the upper castle. Later expansion took place in the mid-1600’s. Then a second lightning strike caused a fire in 1764. The castle was demolished in the 17th and 18th centuries.
It was amazing to walk through what used to be such a massive structure! I wish we could have walked through more of the smaller closed off areas. We did get to walk inside where there was a wine cellar.
This sadly marked the last stop of our adventure for the day, so we took the ride back down to the bottom, paid our parking, and then set out for home!
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