The Windows of Heidelberg, Germany

A collage showcases 9 decorative windows in the Altstadt (or Old Town) of Heidelberg, Germany

The German city of Heidelberg is perhaps best known for its romantic castle ruins, its highly esteemed university, and its Old Town, which is studded with mostly baroque architecture.

Having lived in Heidelberg for 10 years, the city means additional things to me though.

It’s where I held some of my first real world jobs, where I came to know myself, and where my husband and I were married. The city also served as the backdrop for introductions to new friends, as well as meet-ups with loved ones from back home who made the journey overseas to see me. It was my launching pad for exploring new lands, my window on the world for an entire decade.

I left Heidelberg in 2011, and for six years, I didn’t return “home.” However earlier this month, Shawn and I made a return visit to this special city on the Neckar River.

The autumn leaves were at their peak. My fifth-floor apartment’s exterior walls still wore a raspberry shade of paint. And the castle hadn’t lost its allure.

The sound of car tires rolling on the Old Town’s cobbled lanes was both comforting and familiar. So too was the aroma of beer being made in one of the Heidelberg’s most beloved breweries. There was also the sight of recognizable turrets — even quirky faces — adorning the Old Town’s buildings. It’s funny how all these details came back.

I used to spend hours walking Heidelberg’s historic streets, soaking up the architecture, wondering who had lived inside the classic old buildings over the centuries.

In this collage, I’ve “collected” all types of windows: a ruined Gothic window in the Heidelberg Castle, a red and pink flower-framed one belonging to the city’s town hall (Rathaus), and the gorgeous window that adorns the Renaissance-style Hotel zum Ritter.

Also featured is one of my old windows. It’s no longer the frame through which I view the world. However, I’m glad I had the chance to write a chapter of my own story there.

Where in the World?

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Photography & text © Tricia A. Mitchell. All Rights Reserved.

Published by Tricia A. Mitchell

Tricia A. Mitchell is a freelance writer and photographer. Born in Europe but raised in the United States, she has lived in Valletta, Malta; Heidelberg, Germany; and Split, Croatia. An avid globetrotter who has visited more than 65 countries, she has a penchant for off-season travel. Tricia has learned that travel’s greatest gift is not sightseeing, rather it is the interactions with people. Some of her most memorable experiences have been sharing a bottle of champagne with distant French cousins in Lorraine, learning how to milk goats in a sleepy Bulgarian village, and ringing in the Vietnamese New Year with a Hanoi family. She welcomes any opportunity to practice French and German, and she loves delving into a place’s history and artisanal food scene. A former education administrator and training specialist, Tricia has a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and a master’s degree in international relations. She and her husband, Shawn, married in the ruins of a snowy German castle. They’ve been known to escape winter by basing themselves in coastal Croatia or Southeast Asia. Her writing has appeared in Fodor’s Travel, Frommer’s, and International Living.

16 thoughts on “The Windows of Heidelberg, Germany

    1. Hi Darlene, indeed, after so many years in Heidelberg, the city does hold a special place in my heart. I didn’t realize that this would be such a sentimental trip. Lots of memories there! Have you been to this part of Europe?

  1. Always such a treat reading your blogs. So beautifully described. Thank you for sharing.
    Hope you and Sean are doing well.

    1. Thanks for your kind words, Fran! Speaking of spending a decade in one place, isn’t that about the same amount of time that you sailed on the Sorrento? You were certainly doing more roving than I was, though. :)

  2. Oh Tricia, dear girl, I so love windows. I love the looking out of them. I love the looking in of them. Windows are the eyes of houses and buildings and if you look properly they tell such wonderful stories. The very best windows for “looking in” I experienced when we were living in Amsterdam. The Dutch do not believe in closing their curtains and shutting the world out .Since most homes were on level with the sidewalks one could stroll around the neighborhood and surreptitiously glance inside. The curtains in my living and dining room are always open. At night the rooms are always lit. I welcoming beacon of light on our dark country road. XXX Virginia

    1. Virginia, I didn’t know that you lived in Amsterdam for a while. How long were you there?

      I so enjoyed reading your anecdotes about the Dutch window customs. Having been to Amsterdam a few times, I can imagine the charming canal houses illuminated — and looking quite inviting — on a grey day. It sounds like that penchant for openness has made a lasting impression on you, even though you’re now on the other side of the Atlantic. :)

      1. It was eleven years ago and we were there for six months. A custom I brought back is lighting candles in the day time on dark rainy days. Our weather and temperature is similar to Amsterdam. XXX Virginia

    1. Carol, were you there on a river cruise? Despite calling Heidelberg home for 10 years, I only made it out onto the Neckar River a few times. However, I have a family friend who came to the area by boat. I think she was on a Rhine River cruise and was then bused into Heidelberg.

      The river valley is gorgeous, though — especially when the sun sparkles on the water and the hillsides are dressed in dark-green foliage or autumn hues. From my kitchen window, I used to see a bit of the river through the jumble of terracotta rooftops below.

  3. ” Windows are the eye to the world”, I think. They al tell stories, we like to discover, behind it. Thank you for your beautiful post, Tricia.

    1. Is there a German expression about something being a “window to the world,” Cornelia? I’m always curious if expressions have a counterpart in another language.

      After so many years away from Heidelberg, it was wonderful to be back. Our visit also coincided with the changing leaves, making the Neckar Valley especially vibrant. Have you spent much time in Heidelberg or Baden-Württemberg ? Thanks for dropping by, and hope you are doing well. :)

      1. Hi Tricia, so wonderful to hear from you. I haven’t experienced the real change of leaves for a long time, because here in Southern California , there isn’t much of that. Well, I am not aware of if there is a German expression ” window to the world”, or “windows are the eye to the world” . I just made that up in my curious mind. Hope you are doing well in what ever part of the world you are in right now.

  4. What a variety of colors, styles, and adornments! Looking in instead of out is an opposite perspective on windows. Right now I am looking out the window where the sun is shining in, and what I see is the incredibly bad job I did cleaning the windows!

    1. Hi Marilyn, oh, that Oaxacan sunshine sounds marvelous, even if it does highlight some pesky dust! Here’s hoping that your week is off to a super start, and that you’ll have some time to do some exploring. The windows can wait, right? :)

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