There will be organized excursions to (1) Heidelberg, (2) Strasbourg and Alsace, (3) Rhineland-Palatinate and Suedliche Weinstrasse and (4) Baden-Baden and Black Forest on

Sunday 29th July.

(1) Heidelberg

Heidelberg was first mentioned in 1196. Its university, founded in 1386, is the oldest in Germany. Heidelberg lies on the Neckar at the point where the river leaves its narrow, steep valley in the Odenwald to flow into the Rhine valley where, 20 kilometers Northwest of Heidelberg, it joins the Rhine at Mannheim. The old town, in German Altstadt, is long and narrow and is dominated by Heidelberg Castle which perches 80 metres above the Neckar on the steep, wooded hill of the Königstuhl ("King's chair" or throne) mountain with the TV Tower, surrounded by a park where the famous poet J.W. Goethe once walked (although he did not get to sleep in the town, it seems, disappointed by some local guesthouse owner). The city is a vibrant mixture of tradition and modernity. In the past it has been a centre for both science and the arts and today this tradition is carried on with many research centres located in or around the city. Heidelberg not only boasts a medieval castle, but it also is home to one of Europe's oldest educational institutes, the Ruprecht Karls University, more commonly known as the University of Heidelberg. Among the prominent thinkers to have been associated with the University over the centuries are Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, the philosopher of hermeneutics Hans-Georg Gadamer; the critical theorist Jürgen Habermas, and the discourse philosopher Karl-Otto Apel. Karl Drais, who invented the bicycle in 1817, was also a student. The University is also credited with chemists Posselt & Reimann's 1828 discovery of nicotine as the main pharmacologically active component of tobacco.
Heidelberg's library, founded in Heidelberg in 1421, is the oldest public library in Germany still intact. [citation needed] The survival of its collection is due to the fact that it was moved to the Vatican for safe keeping in 1623. The Vatican returned the remainder of the books for the 600th anniversary in 1986. They were presented as gifts of the elector to the university in the church of Holy Spirit (Heiliggeist Church).

    9h30 Departure to Heidelberg
    10h30 Tour through Heidelberg and visit of the castle
    Sightseeing boat-trip on the Neckar (warm and cold meals are availbale on the ship)
    17h30 Departure to Karlsruhe

(2) Strasbourg and Alsace

Alsace (French: Alsace; Alsatian/German: Elsass or Elsaß) is one of 26 french régions, located on the eastern border of France, on the west bank of the Upper Rhine, adjacent to Germany and Switzerland.
Alsace was part of the Holy Roman Empire and is still inhabited by people speaking a dialect of Upper German. In the course of the 17th century, Alsace was gradually put under French sovereignty and made one of the provinces of France. Its capital and largest city is Strasbourg. Alsace is frequently referred in conjunction with Lorraine, because these two regions (as Alsace-Lorraine) have been contested frequently in history, following a division among the successors of Charlemagne in the 9th century.
Historically part of the Holy Roman Empire, the region has passed between French and German control numerous times, resulting in a rich cultural blend.

Strasbourg is the capital and principal city of the Alsace région of northeastern France, with approximately 650,000 inhabitants in the metropolitan area in 1999. Located close to the border with Germany, it is the préfecture (capital) of the Bas-Rhin département. The city's Germanic name means "town (at the crossing) of roads". Stras- is cognate to the English street from the German equivalent of the word, Straße, while -bourg from the German -burg ("fortress, town") is cognate to the English borough. Strasbourg is an important centre of manufacturing and engineering, as well as of road, rail and river communications. Strasbourg is the seat of the Council of Europe, of the European Court of Human Rights and of the European Parliament, though the latter also holds sessions in Brussels.
The city is chiefly known for its sandstone Gothic cathedral with its famous astronomical clock, and for its medieval cityscape of Rhineland black and white timber-framed buildings, particularly in the Petite-France district alongside the Ill and in the streets and squares surrounding the cathedral, where the renowned Maison Kammerzell stands out. Strasbourg's historic centre, the Grande Île (great island), has been classified a World Heritage site by the UNESCO in 1988, for the first time for a whole city centre. Besides the cathedral, Strasbourg houses several other medieval churches that have survived the many wars and destructions that have plagued the city.

Wissembourg (German: Weissenburg) is a small town and commune situated on the little River Lauter close to the border between France and Germany, in easternmost Alsace region, approximately 60 km north of Strasbourg.
The picturesque town is set in a landscape of rolling wheat fields retains its Augustinian convent (1279); the Church of Saint Jean, Church of Saint Ulrich Its Grenier aux Dîmes (tithe barn) belonging to the Abbey is 18th century but an ancient foundation.
The Benedictine abbey around which the town has grown was founded in the 7th century, perhaps under the patronage of Dagobert I. The abbey was supported by vast territories. Of the 11th century buildings constructed under the direction of Abbot Samuel, only the Schartenturm and some moats remain. The town was fortified in the 13th century. The abbey church of Saint-Pierre et Paul, erected in the same century under the direction of Abbot Edelin was secularized in the French Revolution and despoiled of its treasures; in 1803 it became the parish church, resulting in the largest parish church of Alsace, only exceeded in size by the cathedral of Strasbourg. At the Abbey in the late 9th century, the monk Otfried composed a gospel harmony, the first substantial work of verse in German. In 1354 Charles IV made it one of the grouping of ten towns called the Decapolis that survived annexation by France under Louis XIV in 1678 and was extinguished with the French Revolution. On January 25, 1677 a great fire destroyed many houses and the Hôtel de Ville; its replacement dates from 1741 - 52. Many early structures were spared: the Maison du Sel (1448), under its Alsatian pitched roof was the first hospital of the town. There are many 15th and 16th-century half-timbered houses, and parts of the walls and gateways of the town. The Maison de Stanislas was the retreat of Stanislas Leczinski, ex-king of Poland, from 1719 to 1725, when the formal request arrived, April 3, 1725 asking for the hand of his daughter in marriage to Louis XV. Wissembourg formed the setting for the Romantic novel L'ami Fritz (1869) co-written by the team of Erckmann and Chatrian, which provided the material for Mascagni's opera L'Amico Fritz.

    9h00 Departure to Strasbourg
    10h30 Historic tour through Strasbourg and visit of the cathedral
    13h00 Lunch break, opportunity for a traditional "Flammkuchenessen" (a kind of pie, local speciality)
    14h30 Boat trip on the Ill
    15h15 Stop at the European Parliament.
    15h45 Departure to Wissembourg and small tour through Wissembourg
    17h30 Departure to Karlsruhe

(3) Rhineland-Palatinate and Südliche Weinstrasse

Südliche Weinstraße is a district in the south of Rhineland-Palatinate . The district was formed in 1969 by merging the districts Landau and Bergzabern. It is named after the first touristic route built in Germany in the 1930s, the Deutsche Weinstraße (German wine route) which is one of the major wine growing regions in Germany.
Landau or Landau in der Pfalz (pop. 41,821) is an autonomous (kreisfrei) city surrounded by the Südliche Weinstrasse district of southern Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany. It is a university town (since 1990), a long-standing cultural centre, and a market and shopping town, surrounded by vineyards and wine-growing villages of the Palatinate wine region. Landau lies east of the Pfälzer Wald, Europe's largest contiguous forest.
Neustadt an der Weinstrasse has a beautiful old town centre with a market square surrounded by many half-timbered houses. Most important for Neustadt's economy are tourism and wine, as in the entire Palatinate. The largest local employer is the BASF (Badische Anilin und Soda Fabrik), located in Ludwigshafen am Rhein - one of the largest chemical companies in the world. The symbols of Neustadt are the Elwetritsche which can be visited at a special well in the town centre. These are fabulous beasts of local folklore.
On May 27, 1832 the Hambacher Fest took place in the castle of Hambach, an event which marks the beginning of the German democracy.
The Hambacher Fest was a national democratic festival, similar to the Wartburg festival of 1817, celebrated at Hambach Castle near Neustadt an der Weinstraße (Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany), on May 27-May 30, 1832 with about 30 000 participants.
People came from all ranks of society, workmen, students and members of parliament, as well as from different nations as France and Poland. Amongst the Polish there were many who fled after the November Uprising (1830 - 1831) from Poland to Germany and further on to France.
At that time under the control of Bavaria, the local population suffered from high taxes and censorship. The main demands of the meeting that had been disguised as a non-political county fair were Liberty, Civil rights and National Unity (against the sectionalism that had prevailed in Germany since the Thirty Years' War).
No consensus was reached in regard to actions, and a few uncoordinated violent acts were carried out by students later on. This was criticized as missing a chance, e.g. by poet Heinrich Heine. The meeting had no immediate results, but the meeting is a milestone in German history, and saw the establishment of the colors Black-Red-Gold as a symbol of a German democratic movement (Flag of Germany).

This trip will include a visit to the castle of Hambach and a wine-tasting of local wines.

    9h15 Departure to Rhineland-Palatinate
    10h00 Tour through Landau
    12h00 Lunch break, free time
    13h30 Departure to Neustadt an der Weinstrasse
    14h00 Tour through Neustadt an der Weinstrasse
    15h00 Departure to Castle of Hambach
    15h30 Visit if the Castle of Hambach
    16h30-17h30 Wine tasting of local wines at the Castle of Hambach
    17h45 Departure to Karlsruhe

(4) Baden-Baden and Black Forest

Baden-Baden is located on the western foothills of the Black Forest, on the banks of the Oos river, in the region of Karlsruhe.

The springs of Baden-Baden were known to the Romans, and the foundation of the town is referred to the emperor Hadrian by an inscription of somewhat doubtful authenticity. The name of Aurelia Aquensis was given to it in honour of Aurelius Severus, in whose reign it would seem to have been well known. Fragments of its ancient sculptures are still to be seen, and in 1847 remains of Roman vapour baths, well preserved, were discovered just below the New Castle.

  • Kurhaus, the casino
  • Friedrichsbad
  • Caracalla Spa
  • Lichtentaler Allee
  • Sammlung Frieder Burda
  • Old Castle "Hohenbaden", built in 1102, a ruin since the 15th century
  • New Castle, former residence of the margraves of Baden
  • The famous Festspielhaus Baden-Baden
  • Ruins of Roman baths, ca. 2000 years old, excavated in 1847
  • Stiftskirche (a church), including the tombs of fourteen margraves of Baden
  • "The Paradise" (Paradies), an Italian style Renaissance garden with lots of trick fountains>
  • Mount Merkur with Cable Railway and observation tower
  • Fremersberg Tower
A highlight of the trip to Baden-Baden is a visit of the Frieder Burda Collection Museum which concentrates on Classical Modernism and contemporary art and now encompasses almost 550 paintings, sculptures, objects and works on paper. Featured artists are for example Max Beckmann, Alexej von Jawlensky, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Wilhelm Lehmbruck, August Macke, Karl Schmidt-Rottluff, Adolph Gottlieb, Willem de Kooning, Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko and Clyfford Still and Pablo Picasso.
The building by architekt Ricard Meier is the RIBA European Award winner 2006 and a piece of art on its own (picture on the left by Rholand Habe).
The Black Forest (German Schwarzwald) is a wooded mountain range in Baden-Württemberg, southwestern Germany. It is bordered by the Rhine valley to the west and south. The highest peak is the Feldberg with an elevation of 1,493 meters (4,898 feet). Black Forest ham originated from this region.
Geologically, the Black Forest consists of a cover of sandstone on top of a core of gneiss. During the last ice age, the Würm glaciation, the Black Forest was covered by glaciers; several cirques such as the Mummelsee are remains of this period.
The Black Forest is part of the continental divide between the Atlantic Ocean watershed (drained by the Rhine) and the Black Sea watershed (drained by the Danube).
The cities of Freiburg and Baden-Baden are popular tourist destinations on the western edge of the Black Forest.

This trip includes a visit to the Black Forest Open Air Museum, a forum for the entire Black Forest region. It carries out research projects and explores the cultural heritage and development of all rural areas in the Black Forest region. The museum features historic farmhouses fom the 16th and 17th century, as well as mills, sawmills, chapels and storehouses, seven kitchen gardens and a herb garden. and traditional breeds of domestic animals. Together they present the many different faces of life in the Black Forest: its architecture, traditions, customs and trades, and the way people have lived and farmed throughout the ages.

    9h00 Departure to Baden-Baden
    9h30-11h00 Historic tour through Baden-Baden, highlights: Kurhaus, Casino, Festspielhaus, Kurpark, etc.
    11h00-12h30 Visit of the Museeum Frieder Burda
    12h30-14h00 Lunch break, free time
    14h00 Departure to northern Black Forrest
    15h30 Visit of the "Vogtsbauernhof Gutach", an Open-Air Museeum with historic farms from the 16th and 17th century.
    17h00 Departure to Karlsruhe

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