Saturday, May 23, 2015

Rhine River Cruise - Our Day in Speyer and Heidelberg

Horse Chestnut Trees

On Tuesday morning, we had free time to roam the quaint city of Speyer, Germany, and, as we began our walk into town, we were greeted by these beautiful Horse Chestnut trees in full bloom. Not so common in the United States, but they seemed to be everywhere in Germany. I love their upright plumes.
Joel, Jeannette, Debbie, Darren

Also abundant in Europe were massive wisteria vines growing on walls, trellises, and buildings. So lovely! 
Jeannette in the front of the Rhemish Helm
History notes: The Romans established a fortress and settlement in Speyer during the 1st century A.D.  Pictured above is a portion (with some reconstruction) of the original fortification. 

Heidelberg Castle
Many of the cities we visited along the Rhine had historical significance for the Protestant Reformation. I can't hear Heidelberg without thinking of the catechism of the Reformed Church, published in 1563. Heidelberg is also famous for its magnificent castle, dating back to 1225 A.D. Most of the castle, along with the Old City, was destroyed by the army of Louis XIV in the last 1600s. The city was rebuilt in 1720. 
A reconstructed portion of the castle
View of Heidelberg from the castle courtyard

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