We got tickets to Heidelberg for ourselves and our bikes on the 10:14 train, with a transfer in Ludwigshafen, across the Rhine from Mannheim, to a local commuter train into Heidelberg central station. Good thing we got on when we did, because at the first stop in Mannheim, the train filled to the brim, and many people with bicycles weren't able to board. Luckily, it was only 3 stops in the sardine can.
|Bikes on a train!|
Once out of the station, we had a picnic lunch in a nearby park before setting off to look around a bit. Today was hot (and the forecast is for even hotter in the coming days). Heidelberg is, very obviously, a university town. It's teeming with young students, most of whom apparently spend Monday afternoons zooming around on bicycles.
After walking our bikes down Hauptstraße (i.e., Main Street) for a few blocks, we decided to get off the main drag and visit the Neckar (the city's river), 'cause, y'know, we hadn't quite seen enough of Germany's rivers yet...
Then it was back into town for a gelato (one of Sonia's birthday treats). And can I just say here for the record that German coffee ice cream is just as mystifying as German coffee...
|Birthday gelato for Sonia|
At 3 p.m., we got into our Airbnb, a lovely little 2-room apartment (with a washing machine!) on a quiet street in the Altstade, a few blocks down from the university library. We started some laundry, settled in and then went to find some groceries (home cooking for 3 whole days!).
After dinner, we took the funicular up to Heidelberg Castle, which is truly impressive. It's in ruins, but no so much so that you don't get a great idea of what the place must have been like 400 years ago. The 17th century was very good to a certain class of people! Also, it's just one great photo op after another, especially with the evening light.
|Heidelberg Castle from the castle gardens|
|View of the city from the castle (with Heiliggeistkirche in the middle)|
|Sonia enjoying another birthday treat|
So a full first day in Heidelberg. Tomorrow we will be up early to hike in the hills before it gets too hot!