“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 – Germany – More Castles and The End

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

With just two days left of our vacation (the second of which was spent driving back to Amsterdam for our flight home), we spent one day visiting three different castles along the Castle Road.  The first was Castle Colmberg.

We walked around the grounds for a bit before finding the entrance.  This was not a problem as they were lovely and interesting.

I'm guessing the original door wasn't painted in a black and white chevron stripe, but then what do I know.

Like a lot of castles in the area, this one has been converted into a hotel and restaurant.

The view over the countryside and the adjacent town was beautiful.  You can see here that we were looking down from one wall to an outer wall.  There were actually several walls inside each other which very much interested my Geek since he's writing a fantasy novel in which that kind of detail is important.

You can read about medieval castles and even see them in movies, but seeing the real thing brings it all to life.  I could imagine the wheels turning in his head, visualizing men in armor, swords drawn defending their king's castle.

We went inside to see if they did tours, but the only public areas are the restaurant and hotel areas.  She let us go ahead and look around the restaurant since it was early enough that they were not serving yet.  It was set up for a wedding reception to be held later in the day, but with a little imagination you could picture men of ancient times sitting at large wooden tables enjoying a mug of ale after a battle.

Medieval weapons hung on the walls.  This sword in particular caught the Geek's eye.

Our next stop was Castle Steinsberg.  From this point of view you could almost imagine that you really were in the time when the castle was owned by Counts and served as an actual fortress.  Of course the illusion for us was a little tainted by the fact that we were standing in the middle of a blacktopped parking lot when snapping the photo.

The castle was surrounded by a vineyard.  Aren't those little baby grapes cute?  There were entire fields of them.  I've never seen such a thing though I suppose it's pretty commonplace there.  Okay and in California too, but I've never been there either.

The tower in the middle of the courtyard looked much taller than it does here.  I was curious about all the blackened stone – was there a fire? – but the signs were all in German and the staff only spoke German so there was no way to ask.
The Geek tried to figure out what the sign on this well said since he learned German in high school.  He got a few words, but we still weren't really sure.

This castle had also been converted into a hotel and restaurant.  It was lunch time, so we sat ourselves down in the windy courtyard and had a tasty lunch.  The waitress spoke as little English as we did German, but she was very nice and between the few words my Geek knows and pointing at things on the menu, we managed to order.

And if my face looks a little grimace-y in this photo, it's because a fly had just landed in my Chardonnay.  Seriously.  I am not joking.  It was not at all ironic, but it was a little annoying.

The vineyards.  Aren't they just lovely?

Castle Guttenberg was our last castle that day.  This one was closed for tours for the day by the time we got there, but the museum was still open so we got to spend some time there.

The grounds were very pretty.  This was a big castle with lots of walls and pathways and bridges and a gigantic square tower.

The theme at this castle seemed to be birds.  This was a stone bird on top of that ... uh ... cone-shaped roof thing.  Between us and that short round tower was an area full of big cages with birds in them, like some kind of bird zoo.  There was a guy on the other side of that bridge who seemed to be doing a show with the birds, but it was the last show for the day and I'm pretty sure it was in German anyway so we didn't watch.

The museum was a self-guided tour and took you through and up the big square tower.  This was apparently the kitchen.  I'd love to have a big stone hearth like that in my kitchen.

I think we were almost to the top of the tower here, looking down into the castle grounds.  Almost to the top, mind you.  It was a very, very tall tower.  And there was no elevator.  Can you imagine the stairs?  Can you?  Because I will never forget them.  I found out that day just how very out of shape I am.

There were a few rooms off to the sides as we climbed, but most of the landing areas inside the tower looked like this.  And those wood floors they did creak.  I was just sure that one of them was going to break under me and I would go plummeting down, smashing through each floor as I hit it, until I laid at the bottom of the tower while the entire thing came crashing down ... all because of me.

Okay, so it was a fleeting thought, but I did think it.

The Geek had to do a little time in the stocks before we left Guttenberg.

From here, we drove to Nuremberg where we had planned to see one more castle, but it was late and we were tired, and traffic was really ugly and we couldn't find our hotel and ... well, we finally did find it and the room was pretty cool, but I'll tell you, the people of Nuremberg know how to party and they did so until about 4 a.m. right outside our window.  Loudly.  Boisterously.  With great valor of force.

Oh yeah and there was the clock tower.  Did you know that Germany is really into clocks?  This was the second place we stayed where there was a clock tower right across the street from us that insisted on alerting us to the time every quarter hour all ... night ... long.  People who live there must get used to it otherwise no one would ever sleep, because just as you're starting to slip into sleep for the umpteenth time, the clock would start ding donging as if to say, "Wake up!  Wake up!  It's 3:15 a.m. and you need to know it!"

But despite clock towers and partiers, we had an absolutely wonderful vacation.  It's amazing how you can pack so much into 9 days and yet feel like there is so much more you would like to see.  I'd love to visit the Tuscan countryside and stay in an Italian villa, or see the fjords of Norway, or the castles and churches and libraries in England, but what we did see was quite satisfying and we are so happy to have had the chance to experience it all.

Thanks for coming on my little (little!!??) tour with me.  It was fun to go back and remember all that we did while we were there.

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At 1/11/2012 6:16 PM, Blogger Dave Sherman wrote:

That sure was a great vacation. Maybe someday we'll be able to visit some of the other places in Europe that we missed this time.

At 1/11/2012 6:19 PM, Blogger Geekwif wrote:

Maybe, but whether we do or not I will enjoy the memories of the time we spent there.


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