We drove to Heidelberg this morning. It was a fairly easy journey from Baden Baden and our satnav helped us avoid the long delays on the autobahn, taking us through some smaller, interesting towns along the way. Once in the city, we found our way to the castle car park with the idea of taking the funicular up the steep hill to get our bearings by means of an overview. We’d been here before, with Karin and Jurgen and have some lovely photographs of Edward as a small boy being held up on top of the castle wall by a proud Grandad.
The car park turned out to be a multi-storey affair and had the tightest of turns and the smallest of spaces imaginable. Though we kept our eyes open for blue-badge spaces, we saw none and it was with difficulty that my hero managed to get the car up to floor 7 where we found a couple of very tight spaces. Negotiating a seventeen point turn and with just a centimetre to spare at times, the car was parked, only to find that it was impossible to get out of it! (I might add that we were not the only ones having such difficulty) Giving the place up as a bad job, we slowly made our way down once again and by some stroke of magic, found a single, empty blue badge space – huge – right by the lifts. Phew.
But the fun had only just begun. Downstairs, by the funicular ticket office, several coachloads of people wanted to buy tickets and there was just the one cashier on duty. Not only that, but the concept of queueing doesn’t seem to extend much beyond the English Channel (or the people in this neck of the woods believe that rules and/or manners don’t apply once you’re over 70?) and in the same way we found ourselves being pushed and shoved by seemingly respectable men and women at Hohenzollern yesterday, the scrum for the funicular was not much fun.
The story of accessibility here and in several other places is a whole different story, too.
Eventually, we reached the castle – the first stop – and with a sigh of relief, got out of the crush. But here, too, were large groups of people, all wanting the same picture and, it seemed, with only five minutes to do the whole thing.
And what is it about taking pictures with an ipad?! Aaaagh!
The view from up here was lovely, however, even if I didn’t notice the fingerprint on my camera lens until I sat down just now! Oh dear…
Eventually, the crowds were just too much and we decided to take the funicular down again and take a walk through the city below.
Whether or not this was a reason for the crowds, we have no idea, but this weekend, Heidelberg was celebrating the wedding anniversary of Frederick and Elizabeth in 1613.
As a result, there were flags and signs all over, people in costume and a small exhibition which included a display of specially concocted chocolate truffles to celebrate the event.
We sat and enjoyed a cool drink in the marketplace, as the large groups were led past one by one, following their leader.
The old bridge looked really good in the sunshine and thankfully, the groups didn’t seem to have made it this far.
Making our way back to the car park, we felt we’d had enough of the crowds and the tacky souvenirs and all felt a little let down, not by Heidelberg itself, but by the level of tourism here on what we’d expected to be a quiet Sunday morning.
Just shows what we know.
Come on, let’s drive on through the Moseltal to Trier and see what’s to be found there, shall we?