Third time guest Marie arrived at Frankfurt’s Airport this morning, raring to go for her adventure in the Heidelberg and Wittgenstein areas of Germany. We cruised south on Autobahn 5, chatting and catching up all the way. The last time I’d hosted Marie was in the spring of 2006. There was much new territory and disoveries to cover.
We checked into the lovely Hotel Hackteufel in the heart of Heidelberg. Marie’s room was ready on arrival, as had been requested. We were sitting down to a lovely breakfast by the window looking out onto a mostly quiet, still early Heidelberg at 9:30. We selected from the buffet and enjoyed a leisurely breakfast until around 10:15 when we ventured up to the funicular taking visitors to Heidelberg’s premier attraction – the ruins of the massive castle.
Rick Steves has it pegged. Heidelberg is being ruined by mass tourism. The crowds on this overcast and cool day were huge. I asked the man taking tickets at the castle gate, “how many people enter on a typical day?” He told me, “4 – 5,000. Sometimes 8,000.”
OK, entrance price $4 times 8,000 = $32,000. “When does the truck come to take away all of the cash,” I asked. He said, “Once per day.” I asked, “What time?” Funny, he didn’t give me an answer.