Thursday, August 20, 2015


In March Jake and I went on a chilly four-day weekend excursion to the charming city of Heidelberg in the Rhine-Neckar Metropolitan Region in Southwest Germany.

Walking on the streets of the historic city center.

One of the main attractions in Heidelberg is the castle ruins.  Here is a view of the ruins before we headed up the hill.

I wish I could find a condensed version of the history of the castle, but it's been through quite a bit.  The earliest structure was before 1214 and it had been expanded by 1650.  This castle was a player in numerous wars and attacks including the Thirty Years War and underwent major destruction at the hands of enemies.  After peace finally came to the region the castle was left unoccupied for many years and craftsmen and builders began using materials from the castle.  In 1764 a German ruler entertained the idea of establishing his court there, however, a lightening bolt hit the court building twice starting a fire.  He took this as a sign and moved his court elsewhere.  The castle remained empty and was in danger of being demolished by the Grand Duke of Baden until a French count took an interest in the building and served as a voluntary castle warden until 1822.  He put together a tour guide of the ruins which brought many tourists to the area and has helped make Heidelberg the tourists attraction it is today.

A view of the city from the castle grounds.

...and here we are making our way across the river.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Flossenburg Castle Ruins and Concentration Camp

So, we are pretty behind on our blogging, so it's time to get caught up.  Back in March we went on a short little hiking excursion to the Flossenburg Castle Ruins about 40 minutes from us.  In the town of Flossenburg there also was a concentration camp, but unfortunately we didn't get any photos of the camp.  Maybe the atmosphere just felt too somber to take any pictures.  The camp was interesting to see however, as Flossenburg is located in a rocky region.  The camp was primarily a labor camp where prisoners worked in the quarry.  Here is some info about the camp.  After having just spent a winter in Germany, I can imagine how harsh the conditions would have been for the prisoners.  It is always an enlightening experience to learn about some of the harsh realities of history.