We were lucky; VT member trekki took a couple days, drove down and gave us the grand tour of the Palatinate. The highlight of the tour was visiting the New Wine Festival in Rhodt unter Rietburg. We visited a castle, had a great lunch and then set out for the festival.
After finding parking (a bit of a challenge), we stopped for a coffee and cake and enjoyed watching all the people. There were street musicians to entertain everyone. When we finished our coffee, we started walking up Theresienstrasse. All the huge courtyard doors were opened revealing craft shops, restaurants and wineries. You wander until you find a likely winery, enter and order the new wine . . . and anything else you may want at that particular place. The wine is difficult to describe, but it's not the clear white wine you have seen all your life; it's almost milky, certainly quite opaque. It is a bit on the sweet side and you have two choices of size, large and huge. Well, it seemed that way to us because we're used to normal wine glasses.
It was a real adventure. You can visit as many of these places as you like, but if you are driving, you may want to set a limit. If you want to visit several, book a room in the town so you can walk home.
In the late afternoon, they introduce the New Wine Queen who makes a speech accompanied by local musicians. A crowd gathers round and cheers them on. It's great fun and highly recommended. For a photo of the Wine Queen, visit the Rhodt web site at http://www.rhodt-unter-rietburg.de/wein/engl_wein.html
Here is the wine festival schedule, presumably kept up to date. http://www.rhodt-unter-rietburg.de/ort/ger_seiten/ger_ort_aktuell.html
I first beheld the S-Printing-Horse on Nemorino's great Heidelberg page and wondered what kind of funny thing that was. When I arrived in Heidelberg with my friends in a car, I recognized it immediately and it greeted us when we entered the town. It was much bigger though than I had imagined!
The horse is located opposite of the train station, so when you arrive or leave Heidelberg by train, you cannot really miss it. It is the biggest horse sculpture on earth, being thirteen metres high and weighing ninety tons. Constructed in 2000, it is made of stainless steel and aluminium.
The horse is located in front of the Print Media Academy and the Heidelberger Druckmaschinen GmbH (company for printing machines), and thus, it symbolizes the different processes that happen during printing:
* During the night, the eyes of the horse glow in the dark, which symbolizes scanning
* The round body stands for the rotating movement of printing
* The tail symbolizes a book and thus shows what happens after printing.
Because of these three main processes, the horse only has three legs!
* The wings symbolize the speed of printing
* The face at the end of the tail shows the person looking at the finished product.
Here is the underside of one of the hoofs of the S-Printing Horse.
This is the hoof that seems to be printing things every time the horse takes a step.
If you enlarge the photo you can read:
HDM stands for Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG, the Heidelberg Printing Machine Company.
This company employs 2480 people in Heidelberg alone. Its headquarters is right here on the Kurfuersten-Anlage in Heidelberg, but it also has factories at eight other locations in Germany, and also in France, the Netherlands and the USA. The American factories are in Dover and Durham, New Hampshire, in Fort Worth/Kennedale, Texas, and in Sidney, Ohio.
Karlstor (or Karl's gate) is one of the more well-known landmarks in Heidelberg. This neoclassical style archway was built between 1775 and 1781. It is named after the Prince-Elector Karl Theodor, who also has a bridge in Heidelberg named after him. It was designed by the architect Nicolas de Pigage and is flanked by some small sculptures by Peter Simon Lamine.
The Print Media Academy describes itself as "A Forum for the Graphic Arts Industry."
It was opened in the year 2000 to celebrate the 150th birthday of its owner, the Heidelberg Printing Machine Company (Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG) and is in a modern all-glass building directly across from the central train station.
There is an auditorium on the ground floor and there are several seminar rooms on the 3rd, 4th and 5th floors. Also inside the building there are two gleaming silver "printing cylinder towers" which contain round seminar rooms with all the latest media.
Seminars in English and German are held here regularly for people in the printing industry.
Aside from being the largest horse sculpture in the world, the S-Printing Horse has also left two footprints or rather hoofprints in the pavement in front of the Print Media Academy, so when you come out of the train station be sure to cross the street and have a look.
According to its website, the S-Printing Horse is made of stainless steel and aluminum. It is 13 meters high, 15 meters long and weighs 90 tons. It was created by Juergen Goertz from 1998 to 2000, and was assembled here over a period of several weeks starting in February 2000.
How did it get its name? Well, it was supposed to be a printing horse and a sprinting horse, so they made it "S-Printing" to include both.
Because the City Theater is in the middle of the Old City (Altstadt) of Heidelberg, which is where it was built in 1853, there is very little space available for any sort of expansion. Evidently it used to be very cramped for the audience, particularly in the intermissions, and for the orchestra and chorus, which had no rehearsal space.
These problems were temporarily solved in 1990, when a glass entrance hall and annex were built, using every square centimeter of available space at the side and back of the theater building. So now there is a pleasant place to have a drink during intermission, sort of like being in a greenhouse, but very nice. At the same time, modern new rehearsal stages were built for the orchestra and chorus.
I took this photo from the Friedrichstraße at the rear of the theater, showing the new glass ceiling of the intermission area.
Update 2010: Currently the Heidelberg City Theater is being expanded and thoroughly rebuilt. Construction work began in June 2010 and is scheduled to be completed by the autumn of 2012. In the meantime, performances will be held in an opera tent -- the same tent that was previously used in Freiburg, Erfurt and Kassel for the same purpose.
The theater was built in 1853 and has basically retained its original form to this day, although considerable modernization and renovation work was done on it in 1924/25, in 1978 and in 1990.
It is one of the smaller city theaters in Germany, with only 619 seats. Nonetheless, it has a full program of opera, spoken drama, dance and children's theater, and even has a full-time ensemble in all of these areas, and an orchestra and chorus.
In 2005 Heidelberg hired the youngest General Music Director of any German city. Cornelius Meister, who at the time was a 24-year-old staff conductor at the State Opera in Hannover, was chosen unanimously for this position by the Heidelberg City Council on July 28, 2004.
As of 2010 he is still the General Music Director in Heidelberg but also gets frequent offers to do guest conducting elsewhere. The singers speak very highly of him.
In 2004 the Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG (Heidelberg Printing Machine Company) was running a series of poster-advertisements under the title “Passion for Print”. This particular one was stretched across one entire wall of the Heidelberg central station foyer when I arrived there.
If you enlarge the photo you can see that the pixels are in the shape of hearts.
Other posters in this series were Car, Coffee cup, Surfer and Sunrise. Most of these used to be available as wallpaper for your computer screen just by clicking on their website, but not any longer.
To avoid confusion with the websites, note that .com is the company and .de is the city.
The gate which leads on to the Alte Bruecke was built originally as part of the town wall. The two helmets on top of the towers were added when the bridge was built in 1786.
The gate has been beautifully preserved over the centuries and history tells that the Austrian Army were able to repel the advancing French invaders from this point in 1798.
It is a majestic structure which compels you to grab your camera at first sight.
Never before have I seen such rich and fascinating collection (20.000 objects) of medical sciences (Pharmacy)! Its a very interesting and curious place. Please do visit. The Museum is in the famous Heidelberg Castle. You never miss it.
In December you will find Christmas markets here and there, and in Heidelberg alone I visited 4 in one morning. While they all sold the same articles, in essence, I found that each market had something that the others didn't offer. For example, one of them offered honey wine and sold honey candles in different shapes, another one had African wood statues and crafts.
This is an affordable way to get Christmas presents of good quality or just get into the Christmas spirit while having some Glühwein or other hot drink of your choice.
A (more expensive) alternative to do some Christmas shopping without getting cold is the Käthe Wohlfahrt store. This store has 2 floors full of big Christmas decorations sortiment and in all price ranges. From things to hang on your tree to things to decorate your house or office, as well as inspiration for your Christmas tree. If this store doesn't make you get into the Christmas spirit, at least for a little while, then I don't know what can.
Note that you can't take pictures in the store but they let me take a picture of their giant nutcracker without telling me anything, and I found out after I took a picture of their giant Christmas tree.
They also sell postcards, souvenirs and stamps.
The Heidelberg Monkey is a "tourist" attraction. If your headed for the bridge, you can't miss him on the left side. Stick your head in the monkeye mask for a picture or just rub the mirror for luck. I was told rubbing the mice next to the statue grants you fertility....hmmmm...how many times did Liz and I touch the mice?!
The inscription on the base of the monkey translates as:
Why are you looking at me? Haven't you seen the monkey in Heidelberg? Look around and you will probably see, more monkeys like me."
Heidelberg is an amazing place to visit but too often people restrict their travel to the Altstadt and Schloss. If you are feeling ambitious, I highly recommend a hike up the Heiligenberg. On this mountain you will find both monastery ruins and amazing views of the Altstadt.
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