“When anybody asks, 'What are you writing about now?' if I try to reply, the book-in-the-works sounds so idiotic to me that I think, 'Why am I trying to write that puerile junk?' So now I give up; if I could talk about it, I wouldn't have to write it."
- Madeleine L'Engle, A Circle of Quiet


European Vacation – Bavaria – Castle Lichtenstein

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

After our night in the quaint little French village of Niederbronn les Bains, we entered Germany and traveled south into Bavaria.  Along the way, we stopped at a castle called Lichtenstein.

A castle was first built at this site around 1200, but it was destroyed in a war.  In the 1800s King Frederick built a hunting lodge there, and the current castle was built a little later by Duke Wilhelm.

There were lots of outlying buildings, but only the castle itself was really on tour.  The rest we only saw from the outside.  It was a bit of a rainy day, but as you can see from my Geek's smile, we didn't let that stop us from having a great time.

I think Lichtenstein may have been the smallest castle we saw, though like I said, there were other buildings we did not tour.

The castle is built on a cliff (there's a better view of the cliff at the end of this post) which overlooks several villages built into the nearby hills and valleys of Bavaria.  Those hills are so beautiful.  This particular village is built in the valley, but many of them were built right into the side of a hill.

Aren't those little gnomes cute?  I might have to find a couple of them to hide under a bench in my own garden someday.

This is the main entrance and bridge into the castle itself, where our tour began.  Unfortunately they don't allow photos to be taken inside the castle so I have nothing to show you from inside.

Lichtenstein looked much like a hunting lodge inside.  It was a little dark, lots of stone, and had a room dedicated to drinking beer, which also featured an emergency exit.  There were collections of armor and weapons and photos of the king who built it and his descendents.  A Duke from his line actually owns the castle now, but doesn't live there.

This was taken from the bridge in the previous photo, looking across to some of the other buildings.

Remember the emergency exit I mentioned above?  In the drinking room?  Take a close look under the bridge in this photo; hidden behind the ivy you will see an opening in the wall.  That is the secret opening to which the exit leads.

You may have seen this view of Castle Lichtenstein before.  You can see how it was built right into the cliff, almost like it just sprung up out of it.  This really is a pretty castle – very classic fairytale look from the outside.  My Geek was soaking up all kinds of inspiration (in the form of photos and memories) for his fantasy novels.  Of all the castles we saw on our trip, this was one of our favorites, possibly second to Neuschwanstein which I'll show you in my next post.

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NaNo Is Over And The Castles Are Coming

Sunday, December 04, 2011

I won.  Yup, that's right.  I won NaNoWriMo.  My final word count was 51,551 as of about 9:30 pm on November 30th.  Never mind that the NaNo image at the top of my page says 51,771.  It's a long story.  Not worth going into.

So, anyway ... I didn't actually finish the story in those 51,551 words, but I'm awfully close.  I just need to wrap up a few things.  The denouement, as it were.

Now as I think back on it I'm doing the whole "holy cow this is the worst book EVER" thing.  But I haven't actually read it, so I need to finish it, read it, and then decide if it really is the worst book ever or if it is worth editing.

Of course, I promised my Geek that he could read it this year.  I'm really bad about letting people read anything I write.  One little criticism and I'm convinced that the entire story is completely idiotic and start wondering why in the world I ever thought I could write anything worth reading in the first place.  And my Geek, he's the type who just sits down and writes and his first draft is wonderful, only a few tweaks needed here and there.  So we'll see.  Maybe a few edits before I pass it off to him.  Or if it really is the worst book EVER, maybe I'll let him read something else instead.

In other news, I have been horribly negligent with the remainder of the European Vacation photos.  Not that I feel awfully bad about it, what with writing a novel in a month and all.  So I'll be getting back to that very soon.  The castles are coming!  I promise.  And boy are they pretty.

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