We Travel; Luci stays home: Heidelberg and dining in Rudesheim

The Tialfi was docked in Mannheim on the Rhine. Tuesday's tour took us by bus to Heidelberg on the Neckar River half an hour away. There are three bus-loads of us as this is an historical spot. The forecast was for rain and high temps in the 60's. Forewarned is forearmed they say. We have our umbrellas and rain gear. Our objective was the romantic ruin of Heidelberg Castle which is on a bluff overlooking the river. All the bus tours seemed to have gotten up the steep grade to the bus parking at the same time but efficient parking staff and expert bus drivers squeeze every last bit of space out of the parking lot and we follow our fearless local guide uphill the rest of the way to the castle gates.

The castle has been abandoned for three hundred years. Originally built in the thirteenth century, it was maintained and enlarged by the kings of this region of Germany through the eighteenth century. Lightning struck it in 1764 causing devastation and ruin. It remains as an amazing tourist destination.

Our group is struggling to keep up, dodging other tour groups, the rain is starting and the guide shakes his head and laughs. He has never seen such a mess and crush of people. We press on. Not much of the castle is open to the public but what we can see is interesting and the views from the castle out over the valley and river are spectacular.

The final picture is a glancing look at the largest wine barrel in the world. It was carved from 130 oak trees and once held 50,000 gallons of wine. The guide tells that it was leaking so had to be drained. The monarch at the time, hosted a dinner atop the barrel and startled his guests when musicians inside the barrel began playing. It was that huge.

The city of Heidelberg and view of Neckar river from the castle.
Back to the buses and down to the Altstadt or Old City. This picturesque place was looted and burned and left in ruins by the French king Louis XIV. Lots of history here. The town was rebuilt in the 18th century. Cobblestone streets lined with half timbered houses and baroque buildings called to us as we sat in our buses watching the rain pouring down. During a lull, we dashed out to see the city.

We have time on our own until the buses return so Dave and I find lunch at a faux Mexican place (of all things) called the Coyote. I had avocado wedges dipped in batter and deep fried. We walked about the University of Heidelberg area (the oldest university in Germany) and came upon this plaque.

Martin Luther attended a convocation of monks here and defended his ideas for reforming the Catholic Church. We went inside the church and it was beautiful.

This figure was above the door as we exited. There was no explanation for it that we could see.

The buses collected us and delivered us to the ship which was now docked in Gernsheim and we were soon cruising toward Rudesheim. We take in a demonstration on making Rudesheim coffee. A strong coffee with a good shot of alcohol. Time to rest up for this evenings excursion into Rudesheim scheduled for 6:30PM.

A mini-train collects us and delivers us to the Rudescheimer Schloss on the 15th century Drosselgasse where music and food and wine, beer and schnapps await.

This is the band complete with singer. They know all the tunes we like to hear. The food is good and the evening winds up, not down!

Eating and drinking, music and dancing and everyone having a great time. Then the schnapps is delivered to folks brave enough to volunteer.

Yes, Dave was a brave volunteer.

Instruments that were suspended above the band were lowered and craziness ensued with a conga line and everything.

It's a good thing the next day was to be a day of cruising the Rhine looking at castles. I was ready for a quiet day.

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