Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Our First Castle!

As promised, here are pictures from the Farley adventure to a castle. The castle is only about 10 minutes away from base and they have lights on it in the evening and you can see it on the hill all lit up from the Autobahn we take home. I would try to take pictures of it but I know my camera would fail miserably. Anyway, this castle (or what's left of it) has been around since about the 13th century when it was commissioned by the Pope because he thought that there needed to be more reinforcements in this part of Germany. In the 16th Century it was in the hands of the Sickingen family and one of the rooms you can view is where the last person of that family to hold the castle died. They have a bust and his coat of arms in the room. I hope I have most of my history right, it's been a while since we've been there and I'm too lazy to look it up on the internet right now :-) At any rate they've been doing renovations for the last hundred years or so and are still finding rooms and compartments to this day.
This was in the courtyard outside the main entrance to the castle. It has the family coat of arms and their name on the placques in the rock.
Another view of the courtyard outside. This day we didn't actually get to go in because it cost about 2 euro per person and being silly new comers to the area we had no euro on us, and they didn't take Visa.

This is the restaurant they have set up outside the castle. Inside it kind of has the feel of a ski lodge because it's decorated in light colored wood, has a fire place and has antlers on the wall. The only thing that would be out of place at the ski lodge is the 2 replicas of a German suit of armor. My pictures of them didn't turn out quite right, which is why they aren't posted. So when we inevitably go back, even if it's just to the restaurant, I'll get better pictures. They have really good food, too. We've eaten there twice and have learned that the specials of the day seem to be better than what's a staple on the menu. But overall great food, beer and atmosphere.Like it did for most of the month of November, it was raining when we visited the castle. While it made walking around a little uncomfortable it made the colors really pop out on the pictures. My camera apparently does best when it's over cast.
This is a picture of the town of Landstuhl from the castle. This town is pretty cute and it's not that far away at all from base. It takes us less than 5 minutes to get there. We haven't done a whole lot of exploring yet in town but we did got to a Christmas market there and that was fun. They shut down the whole street for the market and there were food booths, crafts, clothes and hot wine. Very festive. I had my camera with me the day we went to the market but it was raining harder than it was at the castle (which in all reality was just a drizzle) so I didn't want to risk it getting ruined.
That's the highlights of our first castle. We hope to go on many more adventures, a little farther from home too :) The USO has some great tours and we're going to try and hit up one at the end of the month. It's to a medieval town called Bernkastel-Kues and the tour includes a traditional German meal and a tour and tasting at a local winery. The region of Germany we're in is apparently very well known for it's wine and this town has several exellent wineries around. I'm really looking forward to it because Germans make excellent sweet white wines, some of the best around.

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