Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The Heidelberg Castle

I've been home from Germany for several days. Getting back into regular life is complicated, but I'm very happy to be home with my family again (and they missed me, too!). As expected, I gave my family a little slide-slow of all the photographs I'd taken while I was there. One thing that my wife laughed about was that I had so many photographs of the castle itself. In hindsight, I think she's right, but what else could I do?! The castle was just so awesome and it really was the focal point of the entire town. So, here are some pictures of the castle that I wanted to share.

This was taken at the beginning of my river cruise of the Neckar River. The old medieval town is in the forefront.

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This is the "front" face of the castle, as seen from the Neckar River, and is the most exquisite except for the one on the inside.

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This is a shot of the front "patio" of the castle.

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Here's a "great stone dragon", visible from the front "patio" of the castle. I have no idea what purpose it serves, and it's not in a place that it could be considered decorative.

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This is the interior wall of the castle. One of the tour guides said that this wall shouldn't be in the castle because it was "too beautiful, too French". Notice that above the first level there's blue sky through the windows. No, it's not a ruin with the back having fallen off -- it was designed this way to give the appearance of grandeur on the inside, to provide place to put the meaningful statues (which meaning I, um, don't know), and to intimidate visiting dignitaries.

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This is a massive wine cask inside the castle. It's not the biggest one, and that's nobody I know, but I took the picture while that woman was standing for scale. Can you imaging filling that thing with anything, let alone wine? What if it fermented badly?! In any case, the biggest one (around the corner to the left of this one) is big enough that they built a little dancing platform on top of it. Crazy.

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Here's a shot of me off on the eastern wing of the castle grounds. The grounds went on forever and it was a great hike through some gorgeous forests.

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Here's a photograph of the back of the castle. This turret has walls a dozen feet thick, but the French really wanted to destroy the castle, so spent an enormous amount of effort trying to destroy it. For this part of the castle, the best they could do was split it open and drop half of the turret down to the moat. Notice that the broken part is still intact, but has fallen and tilted.

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This is a shot of the park across the river from old Heidelberg. This park stretches for miles along the river. The intent of the shot was to get the park, but look! There's the castle in the background.

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One day I went with a friend up "Philosopher's Walk" on the opposite side of the Neckar River (another post to come on that). What did we see? Of course, the Heidelberg Castle.

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This shot is from the "Old Bridge" looking up towards the castle.

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Here's a view of Heidelberg itself from the castle. Great view.

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This video is of the interior of the castle. It speaks for itself.

video
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It was an awesome place to visit.

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