Roger Merritt's Home Page
This is the view of Heidelberg from the castle. Forget Disney Land--you
just can't imitate a view like this! Linda and I spent the day here in August
of 1992. Linda has three sisters that live within 70 miles of
Heidelberg. I drove us there in my sister-in-law's compact Fiat. The first thing we did was
walk up to the famous old castle, which is largely in ruins. It was an absolute thrill for
me to explore the spacious baroque edifice of the castle, with its intricate architectural
details and palace-like designs. It looked as though it was carved right out of the red-stone
cliff, using natural materials. It's a shame that the French decided to destroy it (twice)
in the 1600's. After visiting the castle, we wandered the streets and squares, and crossed
the Old Bridge on the Neckar River. We listened to some jazz-playing busker's at a busy
intersection of the old town, and weathered a freak hailstorm at a post office. I
contemplated Mark Twain's visit to Heidelberg in about 1878, and figured that he would
probably still recognize it, because it has been carefully preserved. This day was like
a dream, and on the day before, we went to Rothenburg on the Tauber, which was even
more enchanting in a way, but it would be too hard for me to choose which town was my
Rothenburg is one of Europe's best-preserved medieval towns, and is
located on the "Romantic Road." Even though it is a tourist Mecca, you won't mind one bit when
you see it firsthand; you'll just rejoice that it is still there. On this visit in 1992, Linda
and I walked the sentry walk that goes almost all-the-way around the town, and admired the
houses. They have so many interesting colors, roof designs, window fixtures, and gardens. This
took a long time because I was taking lots of pictures, videoing, and relishing the whole
experience. Great fun. We climbed the Roder Tower, which has a great view of the town, and
roamed the streets, popping in and out of shops. At a couple of places, we literally popped
out of the wall, stepping outside of the walled enclosure to sample some of the fruit from the
many apple and plumb trees that surround Rothenburg, and the view of the Tauber River.
Rothenburg, as the story goes, was saved in 1631, during the Thirty years War,
from total destruction by the famous "Master Draught," when ex-mayor George Nusch,
consumed 3.25 liters of wine in a single draught. I could have spent days exploring the town,
but, as time usually does, it ran out on our magical daytrip to Rothenburg.
Germany is very special to me. Linda has six, yes, six
sisters that live there, and each one has a family and is settled. Even before I met Linda I
had a special thing for Germany--I guess it's the way they preserve their heritage, and keep
all things tidy and in good working order. The beauty of the landscape and architecture is
mighty pleasing to the eye, and the language barrier is not much of a problem at all. I
feel extremely fortunate every time we visit Germany to see the relatives, because I can
really experience the country at many different levels. I have travelled quite a bit
around Southwest Germany by car, bus, train, bicycle, and have walked some of the trails
in the Black Forest.
The towns of Heidelberg, Rothenburg, Schwabisch Hall, and
Schwabisch Gmund are so full of character, and unique buildings that it boggles the mind.
My brother-in-law and sister-in-law work in Schwabisch Gmund and live a few miles to the north.
I had not even heard of it before, but after biking, walking and driving around I felt like it
was a very attractive, historical town. I can't help but follow my curiosity, absorb all the
sights and learn history when I'm in Germany. There's just no end to the amazing places to see.
I think I could spend years there and just begin to scratch the surface.
"I have never enjoyed a view which had such a serene and satisfying charm about it as this one
gives."--Mark Twain, 1878, in Heidelberg
"Heidelberg in May was foaming with fruit blossoms."--Elizabeth Gray Vining
Click here for a map of Germany