June 28

Heidelberg Castle

Heidelberg Castle

Heidelberg Castle

Heidelberg Castle

German Apothecary Museum

German Apothecary Museum

German Apothecary Museum

German Apothecary Museum

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Last evening out host Steve Birky took us on a walking your of Saverne. Saverne is a pleasant city just west of Strasbourg a few miles. It is nestled against some of the foothills that start rising west of Strasbourg. Saverne has a beautiful mansion/castle that was built for Napoleon, as evidenced by the monogrammed letter “N” carved and painted on the walls and gate. After another load of laundry it was time for bed, as we had an early start again in the morning.
The 8:15am train this morning from Saverne to Strasbourg was delayed because of “an animal on the tracks.” Fortunately we had plenty of time to catch the next train to Heidelberg. Heidelberg Caste is perched on the side of a mountain overlooking the river valley in which Heidelberg sits. One takes a funicular railway up to the castle grounds. The castle was built by King Ludwig V, and parts of it were destroyed during subsequent wars.
We took the tour which takes a look at the inside of the castle. One interesting feature was “The Great Barrel”. The people living under the king were required to pay taxes, usually in the form of wine. The king also wanted to make sure that he would not run out of wine, thus the castle contained a 64,000 gallon wine barrel in the basement. You can imagine that it was immense…laying on its side, it was over ten feet tall and almost 30 feet long. The people didn’t like having to pay their taxes, and would water it down or add other juices to it. The guide told us you could probably have gone to Aldi’s (the same discount grocery store as in the States…it actually started in Germany) these days and have procured better wine!
The highlight of the castle was the German Apothecary (pharmacy) Museum, which is located inside the castle. They have many displays of apothecary bottles, flasks, vials, and an actual lab that was used by early German pharmacists. It was fascinating to see what components would have gone into the medicines that early pharmacists would have extracted, synthesized, and compounded for various ailments. Many herbs, spices, and extracts did have names that were recognizable (albeit in German).
Some early formulations of Bayer Aspirin were also on display. Bayer was a German company, and is now a multi-national pharmaceutical and chemical company.
After walking around the castle grounds some more, it was back on board the next train to Frankfurt and then Mainz, which will be our last home stay in Europe. Tomorrow night we will be in a hotel, and our last two nights in Europe will be just outside of Amsterdam at a guest room in a retirement community where the person hosting us lives.

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