FolkestoneJack's Tracks

A bend in the river

Posted in Germany, Hirschhorn by folkestonejack on May 30, 2014

The last two days have been spent exploring the Neckar Valley and checking out a few of the many possible locations to photograph the special steam hauled services running on these days. Away from the rails, we have taken the opportunity to explore some of the most beautiful spots and chief amongst these was Hirschhorn.

Hirschhorn

Hirschhorn

Hirschhorn is widely known as ‘the Pearl of the Neckar’ and has a stunning position, hugging the hillside, on a horseshoe bend of the river. The historical sights include a castle, monastery and some lovely old churches which you can explore by following the historical town walk published on the town’s website. A walk along the Panorama Weg also offers a wonderful view of the castle and town (this turned out to be our chosen spot for one of the steam specials, watching as it blasted out of the tunnel underneath the castle on a very wet Thursday afternoon).

The most interesting sight, the Ersheim Chapel, is located on the opposite side of the Neckar, which can easily be accessed on foot using the bridge over the lock (the location of the chapel is clearly marked on this handy map of the town).

Ersheim Chapel: The Mount of Olives

Ersheim Chapel: The Mount of Olives

The Ersheim Chapel dates back to 1345 and is believed to be the oldest church in Hirschhorn, though it has been expanded and altered over time. On the exterior wall you can find a rather lovely scene from the Garden of Gethsemene (added to the church in 1669), whilst the interior astonishes with a beautiful gothic ribbed ceiling and some intriguing frescoes. It seems that the chapel is also home to a large breeding colony of the greater mouse-eared bat (over a thousand female bats raise their young here over summer) but we were thankfully unaware of their presence!

A railway enthusiast watches a steam hauled express pass through Hirschhorn

A railway enthusiast watches a steam hauled express pass through Hirschhorn

Our two visits to Hirschhorn were a delight, though a special mention has to go to the Café am Rathaus which served up some delicious cake and lunch to sustain us on our explorations.

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