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Trip Report Schwetzingen and its Baroque Gardens

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If anyone is looking for a wonderful place outdoors to spend a half-day in the Heidelberg area, one of my favorite places is Schwetzingen Palace with its baroque gardens, in the town of the same name.

Contained on seventy-two hectares, it has both formal (French) and landscape (English) gardens with something for every interest, including topiaries, statues, bosquets, an aviary, water fountains, a mosque, a bath-house, the orangerie, as well as whimsical temples to Mercury, Apollo, and a Roman Water Fort. The parterres and floral bed are meticulously maintained (pansies have just been planted to have some color through the fall and into winter) by a reported crew of 30 or so professionals. The Arboreum has trees of every variety, many of amazing height and width, and even rarity.

I don't know which season is my favorite. Winter has the quiet solitude. Spring has the spectacular orchards bursting with pink blossoms and yellow jonquils. Summer has the flower parterres and Lichtenfest. And Fall has the riot of colors and nip in the air that encourage a stop for Kafee and Kuchen.

Best of all, the gardens are open to the public for a nominal fee, including holidays. An annual pass is around 20 euros (and worth every centime) but a day ticket is also available. As a matter of fact,a stroll there is a popular activity for locals and tourists alike whether it's Easter or All Saints Day.

So the next time "regular" places and shops are closed because of a holiday, go to Schwetzingen! You won't be sorry.

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