In the Footsteps of Mark Twain
In the summer of 1878, the American author Mark Twain, whose humorous and acutely perceptive descriptions have made him known and loved all over the world, came to Heidelberg.
Here he remained for three months, and wrote the book that has tied his name to Heidelberg forever: A Tramp Abroad.
Dates: Saturday, May 8 (German), 2021 at 3 p.m. and
Saturday, May 22 (English), 2021, at 3 p.m.
Meeting Point: University Square, Lion Fountain
(€ 3,- extra admission fee for Student Prison / Old Auditorium)
The tour is available for booking in German and English
The tour starts at University Square with a visit to the famous and impressive Alte Aula, the hallowed lecture hall of the Old University. Here Mark Twain attended lectures as a guest, and in A Tramp Abroad he described with wit and wonder the distinctly formal character of the classroom relations between students and professors at a German university. The Alte Aula, which is in use by the University still today for important lectures, presentations, graduation ceremonies and concerts, is one of Heidelberg’s favorite sights.
Much livelier was student life in the legendary Student Prison, the next stop on the tour. The colourful prison walls, decorated by the inmates who had the good fortune to be incarcerated there, offer an ideal background for a photo, particularly with the visitor as a transient captive.
On the Old Bridge we enjoy the incomparable view of the castle, the Neckar river, and the panorama of Heidelberg. Mark Twain’s famous raft trip down the Neckar and its connection to Huckelberry Finn are brought to life. One rainy night, Mark Twain crossed the Neckar and experienced the Castle Illumination, held three times a summer, still today every bit as beautiful and sometimes in very similar weather.
…”several vast sheaves of varicolored rockets were vomited skyward out of the black throats of the castle towers, accompanied by a thundering crash of sound, and instantly every detail of the prodigious ruin stood revealed against the mountain-side and glowing with an almost intolerable splendor of fire and color.
For some little time the whole building was a blinding crimson mass, the towers continued to spout thick columns of rockets aloft, and overhead the sky was radiant with arrowy bolts which clove their way to the zenith, paused, curved gracefully downward, then burst into brilliant fountain sprays of richly colored sparks.”