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A day out in Heidelberg

A day out in Heidelberg

This is my little portrait of the city of Heidelberg, which I visited last Monday (a public holiday in Germany). It was a fairly warm day, considering the time of year, and the tourists were out in force. I think we heard almost as much Japanese, Korean and English as we did German.

Among the facts that didn’t make it into the video:

  • Heidelberg is the warmest spot in Germany.
  • In the 1930s, the locals enthusiastically embraced Nazism; at the end of the war, however, American soldiers were able to take the city with almost no resistance, despite the fact that it was unscathed and unbombed.
  • The US forces set up their headquarters in Heidelberg. Even today, Heidelberg boasts the largest US community outside of North America.
  • Homo heidelbergensis, a descendent of the more famous neanderthal, was discovered here. “Heidelberg Man” lived about 600,000 years ago.
  • The area was also settled by the Celts (around 500 BC) and the Romans. The city of Heidelberg is first mentioned in documents dating from 1196.
  • The castle boasts, among other things, a huge barrel. In fact, there have been four in all, completed in 1591, 1664, 1728 and 1751. The current barrel has a capacity of 219,000 litres, but has only ever been filled three times, as it leaked.
  • A court jester, originally from Tyrol, was asked if he could drink the barrel dry. He is said to have replied, “Perché no?”, Italian for “Why not?” This earned him the nickname Perkeo. It is also said that he was given a goblet of water; he took one sip, and, since he had never drunk anything other than wine, promptly died.