Heidelberg lies on the Neckar River at the point where it leaves a steep, narrow valley to flow into the Rhine. As the city was neither an industrial center nor a transport hub, it escaped bombing in World War II. The renowned Heidelberg University was founded in 1386 and played a leading part in the era of humanism and reformation. Famous alumni include Hegel, Schumann and Weber. The old town is dominated by the imposing ruins of Heidelberg Castle, which was begun in the early 13th century. No hotels in Heidelberg currently meet my standards, but it can be visited as a day trip from Frankfurt or the Wald & Schlosshotel Friedrichsruhe. The latter is in Germany’s unspoiled Hohenlohe, an idyllic region of groomed pastures, green mountains, steep vineyards and picturesque villages. Nearby, the town of Schwäbisch Hall and its two excellent art museums, the Kunsthalle Würth and the Johanniterkirche, also warrant a daylong excursion.