West of Heidelberg is a wonderful town called Schwetzingen. I passed by Eppelheim and Plankstadt before arriving in this town located in what is known as the Rhine-Neckar triangle. I was told that this is a good time to visit the town because its Spargel (Asparagus) season. There’s a route they call Baden Asparagus (which starts in Schwetzingen) that passes through asparagus producing town in the province of Baden-Württemberg.Unlike the asparagus we know, the ones they harvest, and enjoy the most, is oddly white.
Out of curiosity I ordered a steak meal with spargel at Brauhaus xum Ritter (not far from the castle and ruthaus, their town hall). The spargel takes center stage – the steak became the sahog. It was served with some white sauce and butter. The restaurant had the feel of a cabin house. I observed some German families had plastic bags of fresh asparagus on the floor while dining. They just love their spargel. I had a mug of schwarzbier, their version of cerveza negra, only stronger. Beers are the beverage of choice around here – of course. Coming from a place where beers are reserved for occasions, its fascinating to see people casually consuming beers as part of their meals.
The town still carries with it the old rural atmosphere. Too bad for me the town’s famous castle (they call it schloss) was under going some conservation work. I had to ask for the guard to allow me to walk around the garden. This castle with its spacious garden was the summer residence of some princes and counts (both German and French descendants). Interestingly, there’s an old mosque not far from the main castle. I’m not sure if it really is but it appears to be one. Most of the houses in the historic town center has been converted into shops. Its amazing what they’ve accomplished here. Just like almost all the German towns I visited Schwetzingen employ much effort in retaining their heritage buildings. They understand that their identity is represented by the old architecture and the town’s historical layout.