Tuesday, October 30, 2012


After we had this view of Heidelberg from Castle Hill:
 We went down to the city center to get an up-close look at the Church of the Holy Spirit, the late Gothic structure that  dominates the scene above:
The area around the church is the market square, and we were momentarily distracted by the window displays:
Okay, we were more than distracted:
Wouldn't it be wonderful to stay in the Hotel zum Ritter (below, on left), built during the Renaissance?  Just think of the pastry accessibility lovely view from the window. It is being watched over by a statue of Hercules (on right), built in 1706 to symbolize the heroic efforts the city's residents made to rebuild Heidelberg after a series of devastating wars:

No, Toto (or Bob), I don't think we're in Redlands.  I have to admit, this handsome man leaning out of the beautiful window stopped me in my tracks. Um, it's only because he looks just like you, dear.
Okay, okay. Definitely time to go inside the church, which was completed in 1544 after 150 years of construction. When the original steeple was destroyed in a fire in 1709, it was rebuilt in a Baroque style. During some of its existence, the church was used by both Protestants and Catholics, sometimes simultaneously, and a partition was made so that each group could hold its service without disturbing the other. (The choir area was Catholic and the nave was Lutheran.)  How is that for ecumenism?  The wall was not removed until 1936, and since then the church has been exclusively Lutheran.
The church has a rather disturbing, violent stained glass window entitled "Physics."  It includes two New Testament verses, Einstein's equation E=mc2, and the date of the first atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima written in blue lettering on the bottom: 6.8.1945 (6 August 1945).
Thanks to my sister Angie (again), I have a translation of the two scriptures.  The top one is 2 Peter 3:10 "But the day of the Lord will come as a thief; then the heavens shall pass away with great crashing: but the elements will melt from heat, and the earth and the works on it will burn up." (Lutheran Bible Translation)

Wow. What an appropriate description of an atomic bomb.

The scripture below that is Isaiah 54:10: "...my kindness shall not depart from thee, and the covenant of my peace shall not fall down, saith the Lord thy merciful one."

Quite a beautiful response.

There is also a model of an atom in the church, not your typical church adornment:
It was really interesting to see a memorial to the atomic bomb in a German church. In a way, these references were almost a way of saying, "Hey, bad things happened in places other than Germany. We all need to be careful about our use of power."

Other very modern stained glass windows in the church have caused a fair amount of controversy, but I rather like them. If a Baroque steeple can be put on a Gothic church, why can't a few post-modern stained glass windows be part of the nave?

The second church we visited was the Baroque-style Church of the Jesuits, a Catholic church built between 1712 and 1759, with the tower completed in 1872. It's more formal name is Parish Church of the Holy Ghost and St. Ignatius:

These churches with clean white walls, large windows, and brightly colored paintings are very refreshing, and I loved this peaceful, tender Pieta, sculpted in 1909:

I can see the influence of Michelangelo's Pieta, sculpted in 1499, particularly in the positioning of Mary's legs:
Michelangelo's Pieta, St. Peter's Basilica, Vatican City, Italy
This church, like the previous one, also had its modern touches. The interesting sculpture below looks somewhat like twin church steeples. Mourners purchase a red clay brick and engrave the name of a departed loved one on it, and then it is fired and added to these towers as a tangible memorial of the dead.

A side-by-side comparison of the recent vintage organs of the Catholic Jesuit Church on the left, which was just added in 2009, and the Lutheran Church of the Holy Spirit on the right, added in 1980:

Our time in Heidelberg was over, and we made our way back to the ship.  Along the way, we ran across this awesome knight in not-so-shining armor.  I wanted one for my house--I think it would scare away any would-be robbers. Too bad it didn't fit in my suitcase:
Back on our ship, we started off for our next destination.  We passed the river equivalent of a garbage truck, loaded with tons of scrap metal:

We also took a tour of the kitchen.  I was shocked by how small it was.  All the food for the 192 passengers and 40 personnel on board came from an area about twice the size of my kitchen at home.  It was divided into two areas: a cold kitchen and a hot kitchen.
During the tour we learned a few interesting facts:
* Seventy percent of the pastries we ate (and we ate a lot) were made from scratch in this kitchen.
* Food is purchased along the river each day from local farms.
* Kitchen workers are on the job seven days a week for two months straight, and then they get two weeks off.
 * A single person prepared most of the breakfast buffet each day.  More staff is added for lunch.

While we were there, the pastry chef was busy making chocolate Ls.  Lots of them. I wasn't getting the Love Boat vibe in this kitchen.  Working on the ship sounded like a hard, tedious job.

Coming up: A brief stop in Rudesheim


  1. Loved your observations of the first church. I hadn't picked up on the Einstein/atom bomb references. Seem particularly relevant in a university town.

  2. We only drove through Heidelburg on our trip, so interesting to see your photos of this town. We spent more time in other cities, but this one really has the name recognition. What were the "L's" used for?

    1. The L's were for the pastry, but I can't remember why an L. Do any of my siblings or in-laws remember?