Penne Cole's thoughts on food, travel and more
I have a long weekend ahead of me, and at the spur of the moment, some friends and I decide to go to Heidelberg, Germany for the weekend. My day starts with a stroll through the old town, pausing to admire the sunflowers that say Spring is almost here. We also happen upon a cute little chocolate shop with a bench outside, reserved especially for Forrest Gump.
The picturesque Old Bridge spans the Neckar river that flows between Heidelberg and Neuenheim. There, I pause to snap a picture of locks left behind by love birds, symbolizing their eternal love. Back on the Heidelberg side, a curious statue catches my eye. Not quite animal, not quite human, the statue reminds me of a cat in a rather strange hat. Others have dubbed it the Heidelberg monkey or Mandrill but I like my name better.
Our aim for the day is to explore the old town of Heidelberg and the castle that sits proudly on top of the hill. Deciding to get some exercise, we hike up the hill to the Heidelberger Schloss, where, thanks to our student cards, we manage to get entry to the castle for a mere four Euros. It wasn’t until we entered the castle courtyard that we figured out our ticket was for just that – entry to the courtyard. The only way to see the castle, apparently, is by guided tour. However, there is free entry to an apothecary museum, which is located in one of the buildings that surround the courtyard. And of course, you can’t miss the world’s largest wine barrel ever used, the Heidelberg Tun. This cottage-sized wine barrel is said to hold 220,000 litres of wine, and is approximately the size of a cottage.
For lunch, I try the popular Alsation dish, flammkuchen or “flame cake”. It resembles a thin crust pizza, although the texture is more flaky. Mine is topped with jalapenos, peppers, and spicy salami, and at seven Euros, definitely qualifies as a cheap eat.
After lunch, we continue our exploration of the old town, but cannot resist the pull of a cafe for kaffee und kuchen (coffee and cakes). We try one of Germany’s national symbols, the black forest cake, but I find that I prefer the raspberry cake, a decadent treat in what still feels very much like winter.
A spot of shopping fills my afternoon, during which I purchase a Zwilling J.A. Henckels knife (which I now find is a joy to cut, dice, and chop with), and a little black dress that is also suitable for the office.
For dinner, e-Heidelberg.com leads us to a quaint local neighborhood haunt, Dorfshanke. The menu is handwritten in German, but we are fortunate to have a waiter who patiently takes us through the menu before recommending local favourites. I end up with delicious hand-made ravioli stuffed with pork and vegetables and smothered with a decadent cheese sauce, which the waiter assures us is local to Heidelberg. For dessert, we have another flammkuchen, but this time, a sweet one.
Heidelberg is a quaint little German town that is besieged with tourists during the summer months, so I am glad to have seen it during the quieter winter/spring season. The town can be accessed by train, but why not try driving, especially when there is a limitless autobahn?
This post was inspired by the Weekly Photo Challenge: A Day in My Life.
Related post: Restaurant reviews: Dorfschanke, Heidelberg, Germany.
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