Tuesday, July 10, 2012

German Castle Tour


Have you ever visited a German castle? Here is a photo tour of a castle our family visited this summer. Between the city of Cologn and the city of Mainz there are over 30 castles on both sides of the river Rhein. In addition to the castles you can find, monuments, churches and monasteries and plenty of other sights worth visiting.

Crossing the river by ferry

I spent my Highschool years looking out the window over the river Rhein towards Rudesheim. wishing myself away, thinking I'd rather be hiking up to the Germania instead of another boring Latin lesson...
Another castle on the river...

  In the first picture you get to see what it actually looks like when you cross the river with a ferry. The ferry in Bingen is big enough to carry a number of cars. For 6.50 Euro (for family of 4 with car) you can drive onto the ferry and they will take you across to Rudesheim. You can hike up the the Germania statue. Or you can continue your drive along the river.
We did the latter and drove along the banks of the river for about an hour towards the town of Braubach where the Marksburg is located. You can stop at other castles. We had our mind set on this one castle.

During my childhood I had visited many castles with my family or on field trips with my school. Since the Marksburg was not conveniently close I had never seen this particular castle. I chose to show it to my family because it is the only castle along that stretch of the river that was never destroyed and has been continuosly lived in for 800-900 years.

During the summer months you can get tours every hour between 10AM and 6PM. The English tour is offered twice dayly (at noon and 4PM).  A ticket for the whole family costs only 15 Euros. I thought that was really cheap compared to the price of many sights in the city of Barcelona we had just visited...

You can drive up a narrow driveway to the castle and park your car just below a short walkway up to the castle. The walk is barely 5 minutes from there.



The view down towards the river valley is stunning.

View over the castle wall down into the valley

The children loved seeing the old canons and canonballs that were used over time to defend the castle. They were also used to charge money to passers-by as the way for the castle-lords to make a living. Since the river was used as a main passageway for transportation of goods, people charged money for "safe passage".

Pay or else...



Note how entryway was narrowed down to make passage smaller for defense purposes! Windows above were used to poar hot oil and other fun stuff at attackers...
You can also see an old wine cellar with cascets and wine making equipment. Back in the day, we were told, Germans consumed on average 3 liters of win per person per day (children included). The alcohol content was much lower though and people drank it like water with their meals. Some Germans still do...



We got to peek into the castle bedrooms, servants' kitchen and dining room, noblemen's dining room, chapel, and saw a castle toilet. The childrens' favorite were the rooms that showed different armor over time and a secret narrow passageway used to escape the enemy.

Servants' kitchen and dining area
Knights Dining Area

Armor through time...





I very much hope you enjoyed this tour and get the chance to visit a German castle yourself some day. I know travel is not cheap but if you can somehow manage to afford such a trip you should do it. It is an amazing invaluable experience for children to see history so close up and personal. We may be broke for a while now but it was worth every penny!





4 comments:

woolies said...

How cool! I want to take a castle tour!

MamaWestWind said...

Oh Ulla! This is so awesome. Such a beautiful place and all the history. Some day I'll get there. My family is part German. My maiden name is Pfleuger. Your kids must have had such a blast!

Becca

mrsbeccijo said...

Love the tour! Looks like you guys had a great time!

ziezo said...

Lovely tour! Fantastic to see that the Marksburg is still in such good shape.