|Time to stroll...|
|A little wine...|
|some people watching...|
|Some light lunch at an outdoor cafe...|
Ah, Heidelberg, the home of a luscious old town (Alt Stadt) with centuries old buildings, walking and shopping galore and reeking of history. Everyone knows about The Church of the Holy Spirit, dating to the 12th Century. Used to be a basilica, and for a time was both protestant and Catholic, but since 1936 has been exclusively protestant.
You might not know that right across from the church is another building of interest, but only if you’re looking for a four star hotel, with a long history, and a a façade and interior right from a movie set. Talkin’ about The Ritter Hotel, or by it’s full name, Zum Ritter St Georg. Built by a cloth dealer in 1592, The Ritter (The Knight) was first mentioned as a guesthouse in 1681 and is possibly the only home to have survived the many wars that have swept through this city. Louis XIV’s French army did a great job of wrecking the Heidelberg Castle that overlooks both the city and the Necker River, but somehow they missed The Ritter. Probably raided the castle’s wine cellar and decided on ‘just one more’ before they stomped into town for pillaging and wenching.
History, check. Grand hotel, check. But aside from the awe, what’s special about The Ritter. In a word, location. Located on the main walking street, with its plethora of superb shops (chocolates, perfumes, tobacco, stylish clothes, jewelry, Christmas ornaments), and open-air cafes, The Ritter is a great place to stay and suck in the full experience of Alt Stadt Heidelberg.
The Ritter’s small façade belays the expansive interior, with its winding corridors and good-sized bedrooms. Small touches of stained glass here and there, bunches of fresh flowers, and solid wooden stairs let you feel the history of the place.
The bottom floor of the hotel is all dark wood, white tablecloths, and suits of armor. When you look from the street, through leaded, beveled windows, it’s like looking into another world, another era. You'll also be looking at the restaurant. Although by all accounts the food is wonderful, we just couldn’t resist the open air cafes.
When you step out the Ritter’s front door, onto the cobblestones, you find a wide walking street a couple of miles long, with prime spots for wine guzzling and people watching. The old city's arms are wide open and The Ritter Hotel is a perfect base of operations.
Never fear. The Ritter's modern touches, such as elevators, and internet help the weary traveler. One thing I don’t understand, however, is why a luxury hotel would charge extra for internet, when many cheaper hotels offer it for free!
By the way, should you choose to take the train, there’s a Heidelberg Hauptbahnhof (main station), but also a stop for the Alt Stadt.
Spend a night, stay the weekend, spoil yourself at The Ritter and the wonders of Heidelberg.
|huffin' n' puffin' on da River Neckar...|
|Bicycles are all over this university town|
|The river is flows right by the city|
|View of the tower on the old bridge|
|Walking streets galore..|
|You'll find spots of beauty everywhere.|
|Inside The Ritter's dining room|
|This and the following shots are all inside the hotel|