|View from atop Heidelberg Castle - a true feast - Photo by Wasabi Prime|
We visited multiple cities along the Rhine, many smaller ones that may get missed if you're hitting the larger, metropolitan cities. The nice thing about going to these smaller places was that there was more of a feeling of an Old World, cultural preservation. I realize a great deal of Germany was heavily damaged or flat-out destroyed during both World Wars, but a lot of it was restored, with the notion of keeping as much of a building's history as possible. We saw a lot of that rebuilt/preserved history, spending a morning exploring the city of Koblenz, which is a city along the German Corner - Deutsches Eck - where the River Moselle joins the Rhine. We could see the history of the city in its buildings, from the Basilica of St. Kastor, Koblenz's oldest church built around the year 800, all the way through more relatively recent Gothic structures like the Liebfrauenkirche (Church of our Lady). A fountain even marked the city's history of multiple French occupations -- a common theme in these Rhineland cities -- the Schaengel (Little Jean) who spits water, at least in the summer when they turn the fountains on. The "Little Jeans" were the nicknames of the many children local women had with French soldiers during the occupations. Ah, Germany, and your sense of humor.
|Morning in Koblenz, with a big helping of history - Photos by Wasabi Prime|
|Medieval Times at Marksburg Castle - Photos by Wasabi Prime|
|Getting to know the local Riesling - Photos by Wasabi Prime|
|Exploring Speyer and meeting the Speyer-Spider (I made that up) - Photos by Wasabi Prime|
|Eating and drinking traditional favorites at the local brewery - Photos by Wasabi Prime|
|Heidelberg Castle, made all the more magnificent with the glowing orb in the sky - Photo by Wasabi Prime|
Heidelberg's castle has some of the most beautiful Renaissance-era architecture in that part of Europe, but it's been a work in progress since the 1200s, when multiple segments of the castle were built, major sections were struck by lightning and then rebuilt, and it had to survive wars, fires, and more rebuilding. It housed royalty and imprisoned popes -- this castle's walls could tell tales. On the day we were there, the tale we enjoyed the most was the one happening right before us, as the clouds parted, blue skies prevailed, and gorgeous sunlight bathed the whole castle in an amazing warm hue, illuminating one of the most beautiful views you'll ever see. The city of Heidelberg set against autumnal-painted hills, sliced through with the ribbon of the Rhine, snaking its way through the landscape. It was one of those moments that you're reminded: holy crap, this is why travel is amazing, so leave your Interwebz behind and pack a suitcase!
|Maybe the sad lion tried drinking from 60,000-gallon wine barrel - Photos by Wasabi Prime|
|Don't forget to have a bit of dessert - some Black Forest Cake - Photos by Wasabi Prime|
Stick with this food/travel roller coaster, as I've got one more post summing up our time in Northern France, the Alsace, which was a marvelous combination of German/French influence, and my new obsession with the cheesy-bacony goodness that is flammekuchen.