Castle Hopping – Part One

Friends – castles. Over the weekend, we saw three of them. OK, fine, we saw one castle and two palaces, but you get the general idea. We also visited some monuments, a small fort with an actual moat and drove between two countries. It was amazing.

Here’s how it went down.

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On Saturday, we drove to Koblenz. This amazing little town, built where the Rhine and Moselle Rivers meet, must be one of my favourite places in Germany. If you want cobbled streets, fabulous views and architecture, Koblenz is the place to go. It’s also the home of the statue of Wilhelm der Grosse (William the Great), otherwise known as Kaiser Wilhelm I, the king of Prussia and first German Emperor.

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After strolling through the town, we went to the Electoral Palace, which is a massive Neoclassical building that’s probably going to inspire a ton of stories in my future. Unfortunately, we couldn’t go inside, due to a function.

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From there, we headed toward the Deutsches Eck (German Corner – the place where the two rivers meet), to see the statue of Wilhelm. Impressive, to say the least. We also found this colourful tree.

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Next stop, Wierschem. This adorable little town would probably never have seen our likes, were it not for the fact that it has a castle. And not any old castle, oh no, Eltz Castle. Now, Eltz is one of two castles on the Rhine bank that was never destroyed, and is also still owned by one of the branches of the original Eltz family.

It’s a two kilometre forest-walk to get there. There is also a shuttle for those less adventurous *read less stupid* than us. You’re wondering about the ‘less stupid’ thing, aren’t you? Well, to get to the castle, it’s downhill. Anybody can walk 2 kilos downhill, so we took the scenic route. HOWEVER, the climb back up (AKA the shortcut) is 100m rise in a 600m walk. We. Were. Dead.

Eltz is a Romanesque-style castle with Tudor elements, a popular building style throughout Germany. The outside view is amazing (I’m telling before I show, I know. Sorry, Nerine) and the treasure vault still contains some of the original pointy sticks and sparklies from ages past.

The interior of the castle was nice too, but I have to admit I was expecting more. Since the owners of the castle still seem to live there, we could only access a small section as part of a guided tour. Though I’m not a guided tour fan, I get that the family doesn’t want to be disturbed or whatever, so they have their patrons leashed and led through their home.

More annoying was how rushed the tour was. A different group was inside every part of the designated tour area at any given time, and as soon as one finished, the other groups progressed to their next room. Thirty tour-goers were squashed into a group, so we couldn’t see all of the fine details in the rooms. Additionally, we couldn’t take video or photos, for preservation reasons – which I can appreciate. The biggest fly in the soup was the tour guide, who sounded like a robot. It didn’t seem as if he wanted to be there at all, and every word he spoke was part of a well-rehearsed info dump.

Still, Eltz is a majestic sight.

I tried to vlog this, really. I took A LOT of videos during both days, edited the footage, only to have an error message telling me some of the files are missing or corrupted. So I edited again. Three times. You’ll have to settle for the photos.

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If you find yourself in Germany (in North Rhine Westphalia) and you have nothing to do, check out Eltz and the other Rhine castles. Seriously, it’s worth it. And visit Koblenz too, if you have the chance. Chances are, you’ll even find an English waiter. 😀

Tune in for part two.

Have a good one, folks!

Yolandie

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