Monday, April 09, 2007

Get on the funicular train!!!

Today we woke up, ate breakfast and with unprecedented organization and speed went to the old part of Heidelberg to go to a kids’ park on the mountain (hill?) above the castle (Schloss).
By 10:00, we had boarded a train designed to scale the steep face of the hills around Heidelberg.It was in researching this trip that the term "funicular" entered our vocabulary (as in funicular train). A free Hefeweitzen (in Heidelberg) to the first person who can work this word into casual conversation (the exaggerated attention this word has received in this post has given you about as much entré as you can reasonably expect).

You can take the funicular train to the castle, but we were headed for even higher ground. Cruising around in cyberspace, B found a “fairy tale” park at the top of Königstulh, the aforementioned hill (mountain?).

The park was one of the few activities that we’ve done lately that was purely for the kids. They enjoyed cool rides, trampolines, a mini-train ride and ice cream at the Märchen Paradeis. I’m glad we experienced the train but next time we’ll head up in the truckster as this option is essentially free. Today we paid pretty good dough to take the train as well as parking for the car down below. From what we can tell, if you show up early, there’s plenty of parking right outside the park.
On the way down, we saw a man trying to paraglide. While his first aborted takeoff elicited oohs and ahs from the crowd, it seemed no one had the patience to wait for his second attempt. Judging from the trees at the end of the runway, I’m guessing this takeoff strip separates the men from the boys (or the sane from the suicidal).
After spending the entire morning at the kids’ park, we descended to the parking garage in Heidelberg’s Kornmarkt. This plaza is situated at one end of Heidelberg’s most famous pedestrian area (Hauptstrasse); we normally arrive by tram at the other end, the Bismarkplatz. Today being a holiday in Germany, the Kornmarkt was brimming with folks having lunch and sipping beer. The weather today was absolutely perfect! Warm in the sun and cool enough to require a jacket in the shade. We walked to the Neckar river from the Kornplatz and saw a solar-powered boat that B had researched on the internet. The site said they were closed on Mondays but I guess sometimes (gasp politely then clutch the pearls) sites on the internet lie. We decided this was the perfect end cap to a virtually perfect day.
The boat trip lasted 50 minutes. Other tours last three hours but were clearly not designed with our hyperactive brood in mind. Being electric, the boat is essentially silent. This is a great way to see Heidelberg in my opinion. If you don't believe me, see the pictures below.
Due to the incredible weather, people flocked to the banks of the Neckar in an area we now call Heidelberg Beach.


essie said...

I've been keeping up with your blog for 2 weeks now, since I found out that our family is being transferred to Heidelberg-again-late summer 2007 for 3 years! Last time (1999-2001) my husband was there unaccompanied (he is active duty), this time it's a family affair.

You seem to find out where all the "fabulous finds" are in Heidelberg-if you don't mind, where/what are you searching? I'd like to be more informed than I feel...I'm sure you can understand!

Our children are older, but I highly reccommend taking a family trip to Garmish later in the year-the skiing is excellent and the scenery fabulous-minus bad traffic, it's an easy drive with kiddos.

Thank you for any help you can provide, and enjoy the season-it looks beautiful there!

Esther Harrison

fraudunning said...

I'm jealous! I lived in HD for just over a year a while back as a student, working on my MA at the university. If you haven't found it yet, there is a fabulous little brewery (where I spent many, many hours!) called Vetter, Steingasse 9, on the river side behind Heiliggeist. Darn I miss that place, and the city in general!

C N Heidelberg said...

Essie, Almost everything in this post (possible exception of the Neckarsonne) is mentioned in a typical Germany guidebook, like Fodor's! Or if you can find a book called The Green Guide, it's more well-written than Fodor's.