18.11.2019 - 04.01.2020
I really wanted to see the Heidelberg castle so we got up relatively early to beat the crowds. It was a short walk up the hill behind our hotel, up an old cobblestone pathway. We got to the balcony level and had a beautiful view over the city and down the valley. It didnt seem like a big valley from the town but once you got up higher you could see beautiful old houses up the river and the other way was lots of chimney stacks and industry. The castle was gorgeous. The first parts of the building were built in the 1200s and then many more pieces were added on. Even the mad king ludwig contributed something! We wandered around the courtyard and took in the sights from every angle. Henry and Aganetha were just in awe. It wasn’t quite as spectacular as neuschwinstein but it was right up there! We toured the apocothary museum as well which explained the history of modern pharmacy. We didn’t want to be late to the John Deere factory so we wandered back down to the town, had a quick lunch. Michael found the cookie balls (schneeballen) that originated from rothemberg so he was pretty happy. I found some delicious currywurst! The John Deere factory was in manneheim, about a 20 minute drive away. We couldn’t figure out where to park the car so it was a good thing we left early. Eventually we figured it out! We had a look around the forum which had all of the current John Deere tractors. This factory produced the 6000 series R and M. Inside the factory was fascinating. They produce a transmission and a tractor rolls off the line every 3 minutes! The efficiencies were amazing! Everyone had they own small task and then it was on to the next. The had a couple of different buildings: transmission, gear assembly, engines, hardening, and tractor assembly. The cabs came from another factory 40 km away and a load containing 8 cabs arrived about every 20 minutes. So impressive. In the gear shop we got to see a lot of the robots at work. Unfortunately the factory wasn’t running while we went through because they didn’t have any English tours in the morning (they work 6-1), but it was still very impressive. Each tractor has a tag on it which had the buyers name, country, and any special specifications. There are thousands of possible combinations. The thing I found most interesting is the changes by country because of regulations like lights or emissions or even tow hooks. So many options and so much to keep straight. The tour was about an hour and a half, then we finished off at their museum. They had our old 2140 on display! (But with a cab) The factory was originally a Lanz bulldog factory. They built only single cylinder tractors. When John Deere took over they painted the bulldogs they had green and yellow, then switched future production to their own tractors in 1956. After the tour we went back to Heidelberg and did a bit of shopping before dinner. We found a great homemade liquor place, and of course Michael and I couldn’t agree on a flavour so we had to buy two! The perfect holiday treat For dinner we were recommended the Schnitzelbank and it did not disappoint! The food and atmosphere were fantastic. The guy running the place had a great personality and good sense of humour. We all tried the schnitzel and it was delicious. I had the blue cheese sauce. Mmm mmm good! We also had some local weissbeir and white wine it was the perfect evening to end our time in Germany!