Impressions of Heidelberg
Heidelberg was actually the first place I visited in Germany. At the time I had only heard of it briefly, and I'd had a friend in high school who was an exchange student from the city.
It was also where some family friends lived, and I was meeting up with them to take a trip through Italy, so Heidelberg was my first introduction to Germany -- and I fell in love.
Previously, Germany had never been one of the top places on my "must-see" list. There were some things that I was interested in seeing, but I didn't see myself making the effort to go any time soon. The fact that it just kind of fell into our plans for this trip is just how it worked out, and I'm so glad it did, or else I may never have grown a soft spot for this beautiful and diverse country.
The first thing I notice about Heidelberg is the color. It's that beautiful combination of orange-y brick and the vibrant greens of the forests surrounding it that makes it stand out. Being seated next to the Neckar river adds another level of charm to the city that makes a very favorable, wonderful impression.
Almost immediately after taking in the scenery, I notice the feeling of calm and safety that seems to be baked into the area. It's not a small city - there's a good amount of tours and visitors that come through - but it lacks the hustle and bustle of the bigger cities I'd been spending time in up to that point. It's relaxed, and I like it.
Romantic is a good word for Heidelberg. Not only do they have their own little lovers bridge, but the entire city just oozes the warm, romantic architecture of the baroque. It's inviting, and the castle that sits on the hill only adds to the feeling of being transported into the setting of a fairy tale.
It wouldn't be accurate to call Heidelberg a "bustling" city, but there's enough to do that it's worth seeing. Of course there's that castle - which has a pretty interesting history - and the river tour is worth it. But it was mostly just nice to explore the high street and other streets that made the place so charming. There was no rush to be anywhere or do anything, and after a while of just go-go-go, it was definitely nice to have a little more of a relaxing experience.
Given the chance, I'd visit Heidelberg again. I don't think it would be the place that I'd take a trip just to see, but it's so pretty, romantic and full of character that making the effort to get there is 100% worth it.
It opened me up to this other side of travel and put a soft spot for Germany in my heart, so there's definitely something special about this place.