Honey Bear and I received a little tip that Schwetzingen, a place 15 minutes outside of Heidelberg, was putting on a firework show and we should head down to check it out. An hour later we found ourselves checking out several nice options for dining on the Schlossplatz. Realizing we weren’t hungry we continued walking around the Schlossplatz and found ourselves in front of two interesting sculptures, one of a woman selling asparagus and one of a couple riding a pig.
We found this local article that explained the city celebrated its 1250th birthday of the city in 2016 with an iconic sculpture created by Peter Lenk; The man riding the pig is Elector Carl Theodor who was known for acquiring lands through peaceful means, in a manner that would allow him to avoid the legality of inheritance and pass them on to illegitimate sons. He is responsible for a cultural legacy that includes the construction of Heidelberg’s Old Bridge, the Palace in Mannheim Palace, the English Gardens in Munich, the Benrath Palace in Düsseldorf, the Schlosstheater and the gardens at Schwetzingen. Knowing these details, it is easy to see the woman on the pig represents the Elector’s many mistresses or muses. The pig itself represents the cultural belief of good luck and fortune. Which makes us feel a little guilty for eating bacon.
Entering the palace we walked around the gardens and found ourselves enjoying the different sculptures. The exotic themes were surprising but beautifully balanced. The festival capitalized on the layout by setting up a rock n’ roll stage in one area, a spiritual harmonic vibe in a secluded area, an energetic performance of popular songs from different movies or show tunes on the main stage, and several DJs sprinkled throughout the grounds. The event was well organized and promoted itself as family friendly with a nice lawn setup for children and easy access for strollers. I especially loved seeing people dressed in gorgeous attire from the period lending itself to the atmosphere of the place. It was like watching museum pieces come to life! My only regret is that we resisted exploring all of the hedged pathways-perhaps another day will give us the time to do so. The best part was that the spacious grounds meant the event didn’t feel overly crowded and we could enjoy the evening at our leisure. Waiting for the fireworks was a pure delight! When the firework show was over we knew it was time to leave. Near the train station we picked up an ice cream treat to keep us cool on our walk back to the car.
I’m always looking for places I can recommend and this fits the bill nicely. Outside of events like the Festival of Lights, Schwetzingen is a cultural gem that offers local charm with a mixture of satire and heritage. And if you are traveling with kids, remember to check out Alla Hopp-a play area near the palace that is more than a playground!