Day 3: Heidelberg Christmas Markets

Here we are on our third day on the tour. Today kicks off the first full day of touring the city of Heidelberg. We started off with a quick bus tour through the newly renovated parts of town where we saw the oldest university in Germany, Heidelberg University. The campus was quite impressive and we even had the chance to pass by their cancer research center where our tour guides humorously said that’s what Bridget and I do for a living. Didn’t help that we saw a few Biosafety Cabinets as we passed.

One of the buildings from Heidelberg University

After our quick bus tour, we soon departed for the historic portion of Heidelberg. There, we had the opportunity to view Heidelberg’s Catholic and Protestant churches. Turns out both occupied the same church at the same time but were sequestered off by a brick wall that has since come down.

Heidelberg’s Catholic Church
Heidelberg’s Protestant Church. The front portion used to be where Catholic mass was held.

After a quick prayer in the churches, we soon headed off to tour the local government administration building where we were informed about a civil service door used for young couples wanting to get married. Needless to say, we did not tie the knot but we did capture a photo of the door leading to the room where the ceremonies took place.

Bridget and I as we stood in front of the civil marriages door.

From there, we made our way up to the historic Heidelberg castle, the home of nobility of Heidelberg. We took a tram car up the mountain and soon were amazed by the sight of the castle. Not only was it in good condition but it offered an amazing view of the town.

The view from Heidelberg Castle
The courtyard where Heidelberg troops fenced and practiced with their cannons
Heidelberg Castle’s inner defensive wall
The prison tower within Heidelberg Castle
The birthday gift from the royal Friedrich V to his wife Elizabeth.
The inner courtyard to the prince’s palace
Statues of the ancestors commissioned by Prince Friedrich V
A boot print left by a German nobleman who was caught in bed with another woman. The sorry goes that with his metal boots, he jumped from a two story window and landed right in the spot. If your foot fits within the bootprint then you are said to be an excellent lover.
Turns out that my footprint matched the boot print!
Bridget and I in front of the old royal casks.
Behold, the world’s largest wine cask.
We also got to visit the royal laboratory!

With all the sightseeing, we decided to head back to the Heidelberg markets where Bridget bought some children’s books so we can practice our German. Not to mention that we ate like the locals at the Zum Weißen Schwanen where we enjoyed some more German food!

Some roasted pork with potatoes, sauerkraut, and German pancakes.

At the end of the day, Bridget and I decided to do some late night sightseeing of Heidelberg where we witnessed downtown city and more of Heidelberg University.

The mathematics building for Heidelberg University

We are now en route to Switzerland as we travel through the Rhine Valley. We will make a pit stop at the Black Forest and the Rhine Falls. More to come!!

Day 2: Arrival in Heidelberg, Germany

With a short ride, we have made it to Heidelberg! Below are the photos of what are hotel room looks like:

Bridget posing while I document the room.
The main entranceway to our Horen hotel room.
A glimpse into the bathroom

Needless to say, Bridget and I were exhausted from our long flight but we made the final push to do some sightseeing in Heidelberg. We started off by sitting down with the whole tour group, with 28 people from all over the country, to get acclimated with our tour itinerary. We all went out to a delicious restaurant, called Palmbraü, where we had some pork steak and potatoes. I have to admit that was some of the best pork and potatoes that I ever had! Below are some of the photos from Palmbraü:

The main restaurant area for the Palmbraü
The bar area of Palmbraü
Couldn’t resist one photo of the two of us!

After a delicious meal, we were able to spend some time traveling around the Heidelberg Christmas Market. We found everything from chocolate foods, mulled wine, artisan woodwork, and numerous nick nacks that could burn a hole in your wallet.

The lights illuminating the streets as we walked towards the Christmas markets.
The main the Christmas market area!!
More photos of the Christmas market!

We ended up getting the following goodies during our time this past evening:

We got a mortar and pestle, a honey wand, and two mugs that were filled with mulled wine.

With a final note, we will be preparing for the full tour within the Heidelberg castle and the town of Heidelberg itself. More photos and adventures to come!

Day 1: Goodbye USA, Hello Frankfurt, Germany!

Today is the day! The moment we’ve all been waiting for as we leave the United States to travel to Frankfurt, Germany. All of our bags are packed and we our flight has been confirmed.

All of our luggage is packed and ready to go!

Our flight is through the German airline, Lufthansa, and it will be a 6.5 hour flight. Thankfully we did not have to upgrade our seats since it was a light flight. Otherwise we are looking at a €400 upgrade for each of us to get to Premium Economy seats.

Bridget and I at the Philadelphia Airport awaiting our flight

During the flight, we had the chance to watch the movie, Tolkien, to learn about the backstory of J.R.R. Tolkien as he fought in WWI and used his experiences to write The Hobbit. Our meal included a premade turkey meal with stuffing, salad, and a cheesecake brownie. Needless to say, both Bridget and I were appreciative for a meal while we flew overnight. We arrived in Frankfurt in a light rain storm and noticed that there was a strong chill in the air. Unlike Pennsylvania, winter is definitely in full swing here in Germany.

After meeting up with our tour director, Atto, we had the chance to learn more about the country with some surprising facts. Chief among them being the fact that you had to pay to use public restrooms in most areas. In the United States, that seems unheard of to many. We also noticed that Germany is very big in including both German and English words on all of their signs and posters. Atto explained that almost all Germans are required to take English classes during their education.

As we write this post, we are on our way to Heidelberg for the first leg of our journey. Stay tuned for our next post on our adventures in Heidelberg!

Driving along the highway towards Heidelberg.

First European Adventure: Germany, Austria, Hungary, Slovakia, and Switzerland

Hi folks! For those wanting to follow our schedule, please refer to the EF GoAheadTours itinerary so you can see all of the exciting places that we will travel. I hope you will have as much fun as we will in our first trip abroad to Europe!