Monday, October 23, 2006

Castle Day 

Columbus Day weekend we decided to take a day trip and check out a couple castles we had not been to previously. The list of castles to visit in Germany is endless, but some are definitely better than others. Some you can't go in, some are only ruins to be explored. These two looked promising, since they both offered tours and were in close proximity to each other. We loaded up the car with snacks, DVD player and started out, pretty early on Saturday morning. It was almost a 3 hour drive to the first castle, Schloss Sigmaringen. This is definitely not on the main roads, we went through some beautiful countryside to get to it. This is one of the times that the GPS is invaluable, I think we would have been lost with just a map.

We arrived in the town of Sigmaringen to blue skies, which was amazing since it had been rainy and cloudy for most of our drive. We headed to the castle first, to see when the tours were offered. We had perfect timing, a tour was just beginning. Although the tour was in German, they provided us with an english translation of the tour in a book. The castle was really neat, one of the best ones we have seen. Jacob really enjoyed the hunting trophy room, as well as the armory full of knights' armor and swords. After finishing up the tour, we walked around the town for a short time, and had a really good italian lunch. Then it was time to head for the next castle!

The next stop, the Burg Hohenzollern, was about 1/2 hour away, this was a parking lot about 1/2 way up the hill. To actually get to the castle we had to take a shuttle bus up a really steep road full of switchbacks. But definitely better than hiking up! There were a few different things to see on the castle grounds, as well as a tour of the castle. Just to look at the view over the valley is worth the trip up, the inhabitants of the castle would never be surprised by visitors. They could see for miles and miles into the surrounding valleys. We went down in the casemates under the castle, and into a chapel that was open for viewing. Then it was time for the tour, which was also nice. This castle tour required us to wear slippers over our shoes, to protect the floors. This tour also was in German, but again there was a booklet with an english guide to follow along with.

After we finished our tour we began our trip home, arriving late in the evening. We decided that the second castle was better on the exterior, while the first castle was better on the interior. Both of them were great though, and it was a really fun day. We also enjoyed the scenery along the way, since we were off of the autobahn cruising on the smaller roads. We plan to try and find some more castles to visit in the spring, to add to our "castles visited list"!

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