Heideleberg, just a quick 40 minute drive from us, is located along the River Neckar. It sets against a backdrop of lush, green mountains, topped with romantic castle ruins overlooking the Altstadt.
The hike up from the old downtown is steep, but short, and the views are worth every step.
Such a beautiful view of the city and the river.
If a steep climb isn't your thing, you have the option of riding the "Bergbahn" that will take you up to the top for about 4 or 5 Euro.
I've been to the castle a few times now and have never actually taken the tram, but I hear it's a nice ride with even more great views of the city and the beautiful valley within which it lies.
We were blessed to have had amazing weather, complete with full-on sunshine on this particular day.
A good portion of the castle is undergoing restoration. I tried to avoid taking pictures of these sections, but somehow scaffolding has still managed to find its way into a few of these photos. Oh well. I tried.
This picture is one of my favorites. There's no glass in these windows; nothing but pure blue sky showing through. I just love the contrast of the color of the wall against the bright blue sky.
According to Wikipedia, these castle ruins are among the most important Renaissance structures north of the Alps. Click on over here for more information if you're interested.
What I find interesting is the different style of architecture that seems to exist within the same structure. Just compare the picture above, with this one below to see what I mean.
Maybe that has something to do with the restoration that is currently, and most likely will forever be in progress, but sometimes it seems that the ornate style of some parts such as this...
...stand in great contrast to more basic, yet strong looking sections such as this.
Maybe one part was more residential, while the other was constructed more for defense/military purposes. Regardless, I find them both to be equally beautiful in different ways.
And of course, after our hike up the mountain, we earned ourselves some gelato at an organic shop that I found on my last trip to Heidelberg with another American friend.
The place is called "gelato go" and it's seriously good stuff. Last time I had a scoop of vanilla bean and and a scoop of dark chocolate, and let me just say the dark chocolate was one of the richest, creamiest, most delicious things I have ever tried.
This time I took a healthier route and went with organic yogurt and raspberry. Brit had yogurt and wild berry. Both were incredible. I seriously considered licking my bowl clean.
I had sampled the watermelon before settling on raspberry and it was also really, really good. So refreshing. It would have been perfect on a hot summer day.
At the end of October the shop goes on winter break and turns into a chocolate shop called RoCo. I think I am going to have to plan one, maybe two, maybe three more trips to Heidelberg before the end of October to eat more gelato.
And then of course, I will have to go back in November and December and January to check out the chocolate shop. And then back again in February when the gelato returns. Good thing Heidelberg is so close to us.
Speaking of chocolate shop, we found a really cute one on the other end of the main street called Chocolate Company.
No Forrest Gump sightings for us. Just a whole bunch of delicious looking chocolate.
They offer frozen yogurt too, which we were tempted to try, but practiced a little bit of self control considering we had just polished off two scoops each of gelato.
This shop also had a really cool hot chocolate idea, which I am dying to try at home and give as gifts this Christmas. A definite Recipe of the Week when the weather cools off just a bit more. Although, judging by the last couple of days, that may not be so far off from now.
Fall has certainly arrived here, and I am loving every minute of it. It's a new experience for me, all these changes of seasons. Arizona has hell, summer and spring, so this whole summer to fall, leaves changing colors, weather cooling off thing is kind of cool.
Next up on my travel recaps: Brussels, beer and more chocolate. Yum!