We awoke fairly early in order to catch a train for our day trip to the medieval town of Heidelberg. After we ate a quick cereal breakfast, Patty drove us to the local train station where we barely caught the next train to the main station where we then took a different train heading to Heidelberg.
Once in the city, we found the tourist information office to get a city map and ask for advice on a day trip in the town. The woman circled the main sites and then strongly suggested we take the bus rather than walk to get to the most famous site: the castle. However, we never take this type of advice, and, once we left the office and oriented ourselves with the map, we realized walking seemed fine. It took only 10 minutes to reach the historic Altstadt, or Old Town, with lots of old churches, fountains, and one of the oldest universities in Europe. We also walked along Hauptstrasse, a nice pedestrian shopping street, where we eventually enjoyed a kebab lunch.
Before long, we reached the road leading up to the Heidelberg Castle that sits on a hill overlooking the city and river. We decided to walk up the steep hill rather than paying to ride the funicular to the top (also because we had already rode a similar one in Salzburg). At the top, we decided to pay for entrance into the castle, but it turned out it merely got us into the castle inner courtyard, because most of the castle was closed and some parts were being worked on.
Also included was a pharmacy history museum, which was fairly interesting. It should be noted that pharmacies are a little different in Europe than in the US; there are numerous small pharmacies around every city, and many people go there first to get medical advice before going to doctors.
We soon left the courtyard to go walk around the gardens, which are free to the public (and would have been sufficient without viewing the courtyard). From there, we enjoyed the view of the back of the castle and a nice view of the city and river below. Eventually we returned to the courtyard to see if we had missed anything and found a room with giant wine barrels (no, seriously -- giant) that had been built centuries ago. Soon we rode the funicular back down, which apparently was included in the price of the castle ticket. Overall, we enjoyed the castle gardens but felt the tickets for the castle itself were a little overpriced and misrepresented.
Once down the hill, we walked towards the river and then across the old bridge which had been built in the 1700's. We climbed up a small, twisty set of steps to reach the Philosophenweg, or Philosopher's Way, where philosophers, poets, and university professors would walk and think. Now, it is a peaceful place to walk and enjoy a nice view of the river, city, and castle on the hill. There was an old tower at the top of the hill, but it was getting later in the evening and we were running out of time, so we skipped it.
We started heading back in the direction of the train station, stopping at a restaurant for dinner. They, like the restaurant the night before, had a happy hour schnitzel special -- Janelle got one with parmesan cheese and marinara sauce, while Matt got one with grilled onions. We also enjoyed a couple local beers while waiting for it to get closer to the time of the departing train.
After dinner, we made it back to the station and further on to the Stuttgart station, where Patty picked us up and brought us back onto the base. We talked a bit, then solidified our plans for the next day, tried to write some blog posts, and went to sleep.