|First stop: Heidelberg!|
The series starts in the town where I was born: Heidelberg. A beautiful little city in southern Germany, right on the river Neckar and with a long history of academic exellence. Heidelberg University was founded it 1386 and is still one of the leading Universities in Germany, especially in life science and medicine. Heidelberg is also home to the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) as well as the European Molecular Biology Lab (EMBL) and several Max-Planck Research Institutes. It really is on the forefront of scientific research in Germany, and the university is the only German university that makes it into the top 50 World University Ranking.
But that's not the only interesting fact about this beautiful city. In 1945, the city is taken over by the US military and is subsequently declared as US and NATO headquarters. Legend has it that an American general fell in love with the city and decided to spare it and settle down in it instead, which explains why the beautiful city center is still intact even today (although it has also undergone renovations of course). For years, Heidelberg was surrounded by US baracks, but these are being closed this year as the troops move to Wiesbaden instead. Still, Heidelberg has a strong connection to its transatlantic allie and it's no surprise to find many American tourists flogging the city in the summer.
If you ever find yourself in Heidelberg, make sure to check out the town's landmark, the Heidelberg Castle. It is perhaps the most iconic landmark of this little romantic city and best viewed from the "Philosophenweg" , a small trail leading up the mountain on the opposite side of the river.
|The castle outlined in the early morning fog|
You can also enjoy a stroll through the city center, along the main street "Hauptstraße", and taste one of Heidelberg's specialties, like "Studentenküsse" (Student's kisses, a chocolaty treat wrapped in an iconic little box). My personal favorite among Heidelberg's many restaurants is "Villa Lounge", a young, modern restaurant with comfortable leather chairs and affordable food. The best coffee in town is brewed by Moro Caffée & Thé, a small, hole-in-the-wall place along the Hauptstraße that offers coffee in all its variations as well as pastries and other delicacies. Another iconic landmark is the "Hotel zum Ritter", a hotel that is located in a beautiful renaissance building right at the old marketplace and its impressive church. Just opposite the marketplace, in the sidestreet "Steingasse" you can find one of many breweries in Heidelberg: "Vetter's Alt Heidelberger Brauerei" where you can sit next to huge copper kettels and taste freshly-tapped beer. If you want to try out other breweries in the region, check out the map for the Kurpfälzer Bierstraße. It includes locations of all the breweries in the region.
Last but not least, continue down "Steingasse" and enjoy the view from the old Neckar-bridge up towards the castle. Every tourist should take a picture there!
|Enjoy my hometown!|
P.s.: If you want to have a *real German experience* (at least a very classical one) check out this video from a recent version of the old song Ich hab mein Herz in Heidelberg verloren enjoy ;)