Despite being in Heidelberg for a couple of days now, we had yet to actually explore the town we’ve been staying in all weekend.

We arrived late in the afternoon on Friday and went on a day trip yesterday to Frankfurt so the only time we’ve seen the town has been wandering around in evening going from the bus stop to the restaurant we were eating at.

Well, that would change today.

For whatever reason, Heidelberg has always represented Germany for me ever since I was a little kid.

I don’t know if it was because of the city’s definitively German name or because of the unique German houses that are scattered throughout the town that I had seen in pictures.

Either way, Heidelberg, along with the Black Forest where we’ll be visiting tomorrow has always been the “real” Germany for me.

So, yeah, I was kind of excited to finally go out and explore this town I’ve been living in the past couple of days.

An unexpected breakfast surprise

Because of a very late night last night watching a Canucks playoff game into the late night hours, our plans to go to a buffet breakfast at the hotel we ate at last night were kind of dashed.

Their buffet was open until 10am and I didn’t get out of bed until 9:30.

Oh well, the Canuck was worth it!

And we’ll just figure out something else for breakfast.

We decided to just start walking towards the Old Town and see what we happened upon.

And, boy, did we happen upon something!

We saw a menu board outside of a packed restaurant named Café Extrablatt that was offering a breakfast buffet for €12.95 ($20).

I was pretty sure I wouldn’t be able to get gluten free bread but I didn’t care.   I was just happen to get breakfast at 10:30 in the morning.

And then I saw an amazing thing on the table by the assortment of breads…

Yup, I could even get nice oven warmed gluten free buns!

I was in heaven!

This buffet was amazing too.   It had eggs, bacon, beans, deli meats, porridge, fruits, vegetables, pancakes.

Oh my God.   What didn’t it have?

So, yeah, I stuffed myself on a nice hearty breakfast and I was a happy camper indeed.

I think what this experience along with other restaurant experiences I’ve had here in Germany is to maybe not be so married to my gluten free app and just start popping in restaurants and work out items I can have myself rather than going to somewhere that offers it.

Heidelberg Castle

Now armed with a full belly, it was on to explore the biggest highlight of the town of Heidelberg which is the castle sitting atop a hill overlooking the city.

The online reviews say to arrive early to avoid the lines but, honestly, the lines weren’t that bad when we arrived around noon.

Of course today was a Monday so maybe it’s way busier on the weekends and in the summer.

Anyway, you decided to purchase the Panorama ticket (€16, $24) that includes a funicular ride up to the castle as well as a second funicular ride further up to the peak where we can see the city from high above.

The funicular tickets also include entry to the castle grounds.

We went to the very top first and, honestly, it was alright, but it definitely wasn’t needed because I found you got just as good views from where the castle was located halfway up the hill.

So, after a quick little walk around at the top, we took the funicular back down and this time got off in the middle section where the castle was located.

We entered the castle grounds only to find that to enter the castle you had to go on a paid tour that only ran every hour.

We had just missed one by a few minutes and, honestly, we just didn’t want to wait around another 45 minutes for the next one.

You know, you’ve seen one castle…

I know, I know, what can I say?   I’m spoiled when it comes to castles as I’ve definately seen my fair share throughout my travels here in Europe.

We did visit the free medical museum that was located on the castle grounds.

It was a unique display of medicinal history and, let’s be honest, a really weird museum to have on a castle grounds of all places.

By 2pm we were off the castle grounds walking back towards the Old Town.

A riverside walk

It had started to get pretty warm out by the mid afternoon.   It was 20C which was, by far, the warmest it’s been on this trip so far.

In fact, as we were walking through the old town, I was thinking that those shorts that I thought I wouldn’t wear on this trip may actually get used.

Since we had such a late breakfast we decided to skip lunch today and just come back to the hostel to relax for a couple hours before we ventured out again.

At 5pm we were heading out into town again.

There’s a nice trail called Philosopher’s Way across the river from the old town.   It’s located 650m above the town and along with being a nice place to walk, it gives you a nice view of the town and the castle from above.

We walked along the waterfront next to the Old Town first to admire the classic German houses along the shore across the river.

At the edge of town is the Alte Brugge (Old Bridge) that you can cross over to where the trail to Philosopher’s Way begins.

Remember how I said the trail was 650m up?

Yeah, well, that meant we had to get up there.

The climb was on a narrow zig-zagging pathway that took about 10 minutes to climb.

I’m never more reminded about how damn out of shape I am than when I have to climb.

Whether it’s steps or a path up a mountain or hilltop, it’s exhausting.

Must get in shape!

I know I say that every time I go on a trip but, dammit, I mean it this time!

Anyway, after the climb, it was just a nice 20 minute stroll along the riverside on the opposite side of the river we had just walked along.

At the end of the walk was the street where we were meeting a couple of Shawn’s friends for dinner.

Pizza with friends

We actually were a half hour early for our 7pm reservation so we popped in a store to grab some much needed water and just kind of sat on a window ledge outside getting rehydrated and waiting for 7pm to roll around.

It was kind of ironic that we had just literally left nice viewing areas with picnic benches on the trail above to just sit here on a stoop just meters away from busy traffic.

At 7pm we went to the restaurant to find Shawn’s German friends Stefan and Barbara waiting for us outside.

I had selected this Italian restaurant because the two German restaurants I had marked for gluten free items were both closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.

Oh, and in case it needed to be said, this Italian restaurant offered gluten free pizzas and pastas.

Tonight it was pizza for me!

I started to read the menu using Google Translate but there were just so many kinds of pizzas with all different toppings.

Too much work!

But I had a solution.

I just asked our server to bring me her favorite.

500 IQ if you ask me!

This way I’d get a surprise and, you know, if it sucked, it was all her fault.

I’m kidding about the last part.

So dinner came out and she selected an artichoke and sausage pizza.

Not what I was expecting and, honestly, not what I would have ordered either because I’ve just never really been into artichokes.

But, hey, I put her in charge and I wanted a little culinary adventure so here I was.

And you know what?   The pizza was great!   The gluten free crust was nice and thick and chewy unlike the hard thin crusts I’ve become accustomed to.

The conversation flowed between the four of us and, naturally, the topic of tipping in Germany came up.

Apparently 5% is the normal tip here if you enjoyed the service so, yeah, the serves must have been loving my 15% and 20% tips.

Oh, and they were shocked that we had tipped for our buffet breakfast this morning.

For me, it’s a karma thing because as a server myself I just can’t not tip properly.   I truly believe, in this case anyway, what you put out into the universe comes back to you.

And, let’s be honest, if it weren’t for people tipping me when I work, I wouldn’t be able to afford these amazing trips and that would just be sad.

Tomorrow we head down to another iconic area of Germany, the Black Forest.

I can’t wait to see what looms deep in the forest…

Germany Trip 2024, Trip Journal, Heidelberg, Germany
Germany 2024
Photo Gallery
Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *