Sunday, October 7, 2012

Visiting a Castle

Thanks to my kind upstairs neighbor and her generous parents, I got to visit some particularly Romantic parts of Germany: the town of Colchem and the castle of Burg Eltz. Which is actually like saying “castle castle Eltz” because “burg” means “castle.” Anyways. 

We started off with Colchem, a cute little German town about an hour’s drive down the Rhine. It has all the required aspects of being a cute little German town, including a lovely old city, buildings from the 15th century and earlier, churches, and tiny shops. Also tiny streets, down which buses somehow drove.

This bit of gate was from the 17th century, or something like that.

A lovely house in the main market square.

The entire market plaza, with a number of wine shops selling local wine.

All towns (and cities) along the rivers have problems with flooding, and Colchem was no exception.

Flood levels from the eighteenth century

After visiting around the town we went to a weingut – a sort of restaurant connected to a winery that serves simple food and excellent wine. There I actually enjoyed a rather dry Riesling (as a true American, I usually only like foods that are sweet) and had a nice conversation with a man from Maine who came over to Germany in the seventies and never left. His German was very accented – I wonder if I sound like him to native Germans?

We ended the day with a visit to Burg Eltz, a castle with centuries of history and a lovely treasury to show for it. I got the chance to look at the various gold and silver objects as well as take a tour of the living area of the castle. During this tour we saw things like chests from the 16th century and a bed from the mid-1400s. It sometimes just takes my breath away to think of being almost close enough to touch something so old, that has seen so much life lived around it.

A picture from the walk to the castle.
A castle. A real castle, with turrets and stuff!

See, turrets. And stone walls.
Burg Eltz is nicely situated on something of a mini-mountain, fairly inaccessible from all sides. This is doubtlessly wonderful for its defense but did mean that we had a thirty-minute walk from the car to the castle. The way there was mostly downhill but the way back was uphill and slightly rainy. It turns out that there are two parking lots. One is for those who wish to hike and one is for those who want to use the shuttle. Guess which one we accidentally picked…

It's starting to be fall.

So pretty!
Very windswept gothic. Verdant windswept gothic, at any rate.

The views were lovely, though, and the entire day was great fun.

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