The 2nd riding day - Rothenburg to Heidelberg

Trip Start Sep 18, 2007
Trip End Oct 11, 2007

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Thursday, October 4, 2007

October 3, 2007 our second riding day - Rothenberg to Heidelberg.

Our second riding day took us on some great riding through the mountains and valleys.  We rode through a beautiful landscape area called Hohenlohe and rode the twisty roads following the river Jagst on our way to Schontal.  This road was the trail of the "Bold Night Gotz Von Berlichingen".  The whole community of Schontal is located inside the walls of the former monastery, and is the place where Gotz Von Berlichingen is buried.  Seems rather odd since he was a Soldier of Fortune (mercenary) and was known as a robber baron.  He owned several castles, including Hornberg located near the Neckar River in what is now known as Baden-Wurttemberg.  From here we rode on to Jagsthausen, the birth place of Von Berlichingen.  Here you will also find the Gotenburg castle which is now a museum.  We continued on to a little town called Bad Wimpfen which was actually founded by the Romans.  This little town is located along the river Neckar and is divided in two parts.  Bad Wimpfen am Berg, meaning "on the hill" and Bad Wimpfen im Tal meaning "in the valley".  The more beautiful part of the town is on the top of the hill.  It has crooked little alleys and beautiful timber framed houses, and the "Blaue Turm" (blue tower) which gives you a great view of the valley.  We finally arrived at our destination, Heidelberg, which is one of the oldest settlements in Germany.  It is also the place where the Heidelberg Man was found in 1902 (a skeleton dating back 400,000 years).  Heidelberg is also the place where the Celts built a cult site on a hill some 100 years ago.  The famous Heidelberg castle is south of the Neckar river and sits high over the city.  It offers an incredibly beautiful view of Heidelberg and the Odenwald forest.  In the castle's cellars you will find the huge Heidelberg vat which was built to hold over 228,000 liters of wine (this joint must have been quite a party place).

We woke early again and had a fantastic breakfast, marked our maps for our route and headed out for Heidelberg.  Today was a shorter ride than yesterday but with some awesome mountain riding.  However, I had trouble with yesterdays map pin, so the ride distance on the map does not represent the different days riding distance accurately.  The roads were narrow, steep and quite twisty, but with some incredible views.  The latter part of the trip we rode along the Neckar river which also provided for spectacular scenery.  We did stop at a little cafe mid morning for an espresso and some cake.  It was excellent as usual.  Around 1:30 we stopped for a quick lunch as we wanted to get to Heidelberg early so we would have time to explore the city before dark.  We arrived in Heidelberg around 3:30 and had to park the bikes on the street a block down from our hotel.  The city is a big college town, which is evidenced by the parties going into the early morning hours.  The city is old and incredibly beautiful.  Our hotel was the Hotel Zum Ritter St Georg, a simply awesome place - old and really classy.  We settled in our room and showered, and headed out to explore the city.  We walked the path up to the castle which was brutal to put it mildly, but once you are in the castle the views are spectacular.  Of course we found out later that the brutal path up the hill was the foolish tourist route.  All the locals and smart tourists take the trolly up the back side of the castle.  We relaxed at a bar in the castle and tried out a local beer (great as always).  The hike back down to the city was much easier.  A few blocks in to the city, we stopped and had a drink with one of the other couples on the bike ride.  This took us to dinner time so we went back to the hotel for a meal that was again truly amazing.  I don't know what we are going to do when we get back home and have to eat regular food again.  Tomorrow we are off to Obernai France.  I never thought I would ever be caught dead setting foot in France, but I guess we all have to bend the rules a little at some point. 
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