Heidelberg so good the French burnt it twice?

Between the station and the old city are uninterestnig post-war buildings like these.

Between the station and the old town there are uninteresting post-war buildings like these.

I promised yesterday that I would write today about the visit to Heidelberg last Monday for my birthday.  The day started well enough, although early, to the station and a train from Strasbourg just over the Rhine to Kehl, where tickets for travel by train in Germany are much cheaper.  A stopper train to Offenburg where we caught the ICE train to Mannheim where there was another stopper to Heidelberg.

p1020226

The 'old town' seems to start about a hundred metres in with the pub on the left and buildings above shop fronts typical.

Arrival at Heidelberg is very underwhelming.  A very helpful tourist information centre told us we needed a €1 bus ticket to the centre, though after sitting down for a coffee we walked it.  The bus would have been better.  As you see above really unremarkable post war buildings.

Once into

Student Gaol

Student Gaol

the pedestrianised area things improve and after about a hundred metres it starts to look like the picture above.Heading towards the centre you pass buildings of the university and the Students Gaol, pictured on the left.  What struck me at this point was the number of buildings which I had seen whilst walking through the place which had statues set into the middle or corner of buildings.  Most of them seemed to be religious with halos, not something I had seen on such a regular basis in one place before.  Then we came to the Jesuitenkiche (Jesuit Church) which is quite imposing on p10202351central Heidelberg.  If any building has statues in Heidelberg this one has them in spades, in alcoves in the building, on the roof on the side of the building and, just to make you know for sure what the building is for there’s a great big one  of Jesus Christ himself holding a great big cross on the top of the building.  You will see the statues in the picture to the right of the text.  From there it was a short walk to the Markplatz (main square/market place) with the Rathaus (Town Hall), the gothic Heiliggeistkirche (Holy Ghost Church) and the Haus zum Ritter (Knights House) the oldest private house in Heidelberg (1592) now a hotel.  Around the corner is the p1020243Kornmarkt (Corn Market) which has a great view of the castle which is on the hillside overlooking the Altstadt (old town) and the river Neckar.  Different parts of the castle were built at different times, and were destroyed at different times according to whether it withheld the  invaders or not.  From here we walked down to the river Neckar and between the towers of the Bruckentor (Bridge gate) and onto the Alte Bruckep1020251 (old bridge).  Although the bridge was rebuilt in 1947 after it was destroyed two days before the end of the war by fleeing Nazis who wanted to stop the Americans establishing a base here.  After that we headed for a restaurant which had been recomended to us but it was closed.  We did eat and, like Heidelberg itself, found it disappointing.  With the sleety rain we decided to head home but had to take refuge a couple of times on the way to the station to avoid heavier sleety rain and hail.  This time we left the old town and got to the sation on the bus.  The heading?  Louis XIV had Heidelburg burnt twice, the second time because only 10% of the town burnt because the residents had taken precautions.  The question mark is not questioning the fact as I believe it to have been historically verified.  Just , if it was up to me I don’t think I would have thought it worth going back.

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