Viking Rhine River Cruise: Heidelberg, Germany

On Tuesday morning we woke up...not in Heidelberg!  The ship actually docked in Mannheim, where we boarded a bus after breakfast to drive to Heidelberg.  We would meet the ship later further down the river in Gernsheim.  (There was a port talk hosted by the cruise director each evening.  Thankfully, mom and Bryn had perfect attendance, so they were always aware of the following day's logistics.)
The bus drove us straight up to Heidelberg Castle, where the included tour would be taking place.  Since we only had the morning to explore Heidelberg, I didn't really want to spend my precious time standing in a tour of castle ruins.  Dad had already visited Heidelberg castle on a previous cruise, so he wasn't too fussed about the tour either.  He and I stayed with the group to gain entrance to the castle, then, once past the ticket gate, we broke off to do our own thing, leaving mom and Bryn to enjoy the tour and promising to meet up with them later on.
We started with a bit of a wander around the ruins.  One part of the tour takes you into the wine cellar, where the largest wine barrel in the world resides (so big you can walk on it!) 
We bypassed the barrel and found our way to the castle gardens, where we found the most amazing panoramic views of the city.  Mom and dad actually had water colors of this view in their house, so it was a picture I grew up looking at.  It was very cool to finally get to see it in person!  I highly recommend visiting the castle gardens if you find yourself in Heidelberg!  I could have spend ages there.
Once we were satisfied, we found the staircase that led back down to the town center.  It would be real hike to walk up those steps (especially in the heat!), but it was a pleasant and quick walk down.  You get to see some nice old houses and some amazing views over the city.
I even made a friend!
Dad and I wandered all over the Altstadt, or old town, and across the Alte Br├╝cke, or old bridge, to get my picture postcard shot!  
Unfortunately, we didn't have enough time to do the Philosophenweg (Philosopher's Walk) up the mountain.  That will just have to happen on another trip!
Heidelberg is an absolutely charming old university town, I only wish I had had more than a morning to explore!  
(I just realized what an unfortunate angle I took this photo from...no one was peeing in the fountain!!!)

We boarded the ship again in Gernsheim, where it has stopped just long enough for us to come back on board.  We would spend the afternoon cruising the Rhine, but more on that next time!

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