Last week I got to visit a place that I’ve always wanted to visit because it is where my grandparents, Charlotte and George Buhl (a.k.a. Nana and Grandpa) were from. The town is Heidelberg, Germany. Growing up I always heard the German language spoken in my house and in my grandparents house. My dad spoke German fluently and didn’t learn English until he was five and going to school even though he was born in New York because that is the language my grandparents spoke at home. In my family my dad and grandparents would speak German so that the ‘kids’ and various other non-German speaking family members, a.k.a. my mom, would not know what they were speaking about. 🙂 So the language is something that I am familiar with yet I was never taught the language. My dad always stated that we lived in America and that English would be spoken in our house. It’s unfortunate especially given the fact that I am living in Germany now and a little language knowledge would certainly make things a bit better for getting around here though I feel that the mere fact that I heard it at a young age will some how help something seep up from the depths of my unconscious mind and suddenly I will wake up one morning speaking perfect German like a native!! 🙂 Oh come on…just go along with the theory for me. It helps me cope when learning a new sentence here!
So anyway, I digress, back to Heidelberg. Matt, Allen, and I headed out on a beautiful, sunny, summer day quite on a whim. Originally we were going to go to the Roman-German Museum in Cologne but the weather that day was inspiring and just begging for a road trip to ‘somewhere’ so we acted on it.
Upon entering Heidelberg we came across and interesting work of art. It was a horse-like metal sculpture that moved. The horses head, legs, and face in the center of the structure rotated and looked like it was running. It was pretty modern for what would turn out to be an old city.
After following the signs to the Schloss Heidelberg (Heidelberg Castle) we found the lovely old cobblestone roads that lead up the mountain to the entrance. In typical old world, Europe style they were very narrow and steep roads that really didn’t want to accommodate any car bigger than a Mini Cooper. Lucky for us we were in a Mini Cooper so there was really no challenge there. J
Upon entering the Schloss Heidelberg grounds we were greeted by beautiful, lush greenery . We all were absolutely amazed at how elaborate and beautiful the ruins of this castle were.
The intricate carvings and attention to detail in every direction were absolutely breathtaking and I can only imagine what this castle looked like in it’s hey day when it was intact and had kings living in it.
You can only get a minute idea from these pictures of the beauty but to stand there in person and look at it all was amazing. The other really cool thing about this castle is it looks like the grounds are open to the public as a park to come to and read, soak up the sun, and just absorb the beautiful surroundings and view.
The view from the top of the castle looks down on the Neckar River and the old town below and has a great view of the part of the town across the river which holds on it’s shores the Buhl house. I couldn’t remember exactly which house it was but I knew that one of those is where my family used to live years ago before they decided to travel across the sea to America.
Inside the castle again we came across a sun dial of sorts on the side of the building. It looks as though you can tell time by it as well as the time of year by where the shadows are cast. There were also symbols of the zodiac on the dial as well.
Among the lushness of the grounds we found this beautiful view of a part of the castle that was destroyed. It is a tower that has broken in half and fallen to the ground. We all sat there and wondered for awhile on what course of history had caused it to fall in the first place but whatever it was we decided that it was something of consequence that did it.
Going into the Castle we found what a wine cellar should really look like. There were these big wooden barrels from ground to ceiling that used to (or may still be in use) filled with wine. That would last for a few good dinner parties I would think. J They actually were selling bottles of wine there as well as offering wine tastings the day we were there but considering it was early yet and we had the whole day ahead of us we decided to pass up the offer.
Outside we marveled at the size of the doors to the castle and we’re awed and a bit chilled by the pointed steel bars that hung over our heads in the gates to the castle. I imagine they would come in handy for those times when uninvited, unfriendly guests arrived looking to take over the humble abode.
Moving on we said ‘goodbye’ to the castle and I imagined coming back with a great book, some wine and cheese and enjoying a lazy, breezy, summer afternoon on the grounds. Truly a beautiful place and I highly recommend it to anyone coming to this side of the world.
I fully intended to find the Buhl Family Plot in the nearby old town cemetery but time wouldn’t allow for a search like that considering I had no address to go by and only a picture in my head of what the gravesite of my grandfather, great-grandfather and mother, and uncles looked like. I would have really liked to have put some flowers on my grandpa’s grave and said ‘Hello’ to him but I figured that we are living here in Germany and I can go back another time to do that.
So off the three of us went towards our dinner destination of the small country called Luxembourg. The Autobahn was calling us…