Heidelberg, August 27, 1909

Arose at 7 o’clock and took a train for Heidelberg, where we arrived at 12 o’clock in time to dress for dinner. We are stopping at the Grand Hotel and took a cab to the grand old Schloss after dinner.

Few towns can vie with Heidelberg in the beauty of its environs and its historical interest. It has been the residence of the Count Palatines of the Rhine and, since 1386, a university city. It has about 1600 students but, unfortunately, the school year does not begin before October, and so we missed the green, yellow, red and blue caps.

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Heidelberg above the bridge, seen by moonlight

Our road up to the Schloss unfolded new scenes with every turn of the road. The old castle was built in the year 1200 and has seen many hard fights, was destroyed by a French general in 1699, then struck by lightning in 1764 and reduced to ruins. Further decay is now prevented by careful preservations and, where necessary, restoration, so that, even in the 44 years since I saw it last, it has changed so much that I would not have recognized it as the old place had it not been for the grand view of the Neckar valley, which you have from a platform.

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Heidelberg. The ruined tower of the castle.

We had a pleasant walk through the Schloss garten laid out in the ruins of the fortifications. Crossing over a bridge over the moat of the castle and passing under the Great Watch Tower, we entered the Schlosshof (castleyard), which is the focus of the whole structure as almost all the architectural ornamentations were lavished on the inner facades abutting on the court as the external walls served for purposes of defence. The Otto Heinrichs Ban and the Friedrichs Ban, constructed of red sandstone with sculptures and tracery work in a yellowish stone, are fine specimens of the German Renaissance style. Their picturesqueness is much enhanced by the clinging ivy and the green of the trees.

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Heidelberg Castle Courtyard

We descended into the cellar and saw the famous Tun, a monster cask capable of holding 48,000 gallons of wine. It was constructed in 1751. Near it stands the figure of Perkeo, a court jester, and behind him is his clock to which a string is attached which must be pulled to wind it up, so the guide says. I made Emily pull it, and a fox tail jumped out, hitting her on the face.

[text on back] The great Heidelberger barrel. The figure is Perkeo, a court jester of whom it was said “Perkeo was small, but his thirst was large.” 

We had to cut our visit short as it began to rain, and we returned to our carriage and rode back to the hotel. Early to bed.

Good night, Dad

[text on back]
Old Heidelberg, you are so fine,
You city, rich in honor,
on the Neckar and on the Rhine.
There is no other like you.

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