May 5

Mannheim/Heidelberg        Pictures        Previous        Next       Top

We had the morning off from touring, so we took the opportunity to sit in the ship lounge and write postcards. The lounge contained a bar, numerous small round tables surrounded with upholstered chairs, and a dance floor. It was large enough to hold all the boat passengers. That afternoon we took a tour bus to the university town of Heidelberg. The ruins of Heidelberg Castle sit above the town, and our bus dropped us off there. I was amazed to find that this was the birthplace of Prince Rupert of the Rhine, from whom some genealogists claim that I am descended. We toured the ruins, including an archway constructed by Prince Rupert’s father for his mother, and viewed the largest wine casket in the world. I was disappointed that the chapel was not open to tours; Prince Rupert had been baptized there and people still get married there. After seeing the castle ruins, we visited the cathedral in town. They had replaced the stained glass windows with contemporary art glass of laptop computers and child soldiers—very controversial. During our free time in Heidelberg we had hot chocolate and pastry in a small café--indoors this time because it had begun to rain a bit. After our refreshments, we went souvenir shopping and purchased a watercolor print of Heidelberg Castle. That evening we went to the lounge to hear a young singer perform arias from European operas, including “Vilia” from the Merry Widow, a particular favorite of mine.