We woke up to the sound of rain on Saturday 5 October and made our way slowly and cautiously along the autobahn to heavenly Heidelberg and the Hotel Goldene Rose.
We bid Black Betty adieu, took a tram into the city and sought shelter from the rain in a local department store for the afternoon. I purchased a few special Steiff bears, a Villeroy & Boch colander for Mum, and innumerable Käthe Wohlfahrt Christmas decorations. [Note to self: buy a Christmas tree when you get back to Melbourne.]
The rain continued on Sunday but could not dampen our spirits. After a hearty breakfast we wandered along Hauptstrasse and took the funicular railway up to Heidelberg’s captivating half-ruined castle.
Our enigmatic tour guide told us about the history of the castle and while it has suffered much damage (the castle was struck by lightning in 1537 and 1764, and damaged on numerous occasions by war and fire) its half-ruined state only added to its romantic appeal.
In the cellar of the castle we gaped in awe at the Heidelberg Tun, an extremely large wine vat that had a capacity of over 220,000 litres when it was constructed in 1751. Originally used to hold taxes (paid in the form of wine) from the local winegrowers – the idea of drinking such a concoction gave me a headache!
We made our way down steep, stone-laid lanes for a late lunch at Brauhaus Vetter before enjoying a quiet afternoon indoors.