Sunday, October 28, 2007

Burg Eltz

We took a trip to Burg Eltz today. This is the most beautiful place in Germany that we've seen so far -- absolutely breathtaking. Burg Eltz is a medieval castle nestled in the hills above the Moselle River between Koblenz and Trier, Germany. It is still owned by a branch of the same family that lived there in the 12th century, 33 generations ago. The RĂ¼benach and Rodendorf families' homes in the castle are open to the public, while the Kempenich branch of the family uses the other third of the castle.

It's an 800 meter walk from the parking lot down a steep, curving hill to the castle. For the first half of the walk, you can't even see the castle. Just about when you think your knees are about to give out, you turn a bend and see the castle. We happened to be there on a crisp fall day and the castle against the backdrop of red and yellow trees was just breathtaking (or was that from the hiking?).

I quickly learned that a castle is not the best place for an active 2 year old. I spent the whole tour chasing after Carter and trying to keep him from touching anything. [I had visions of a suit of armor crashing down on us!] At the end of the tour, I knew nothing more about the castle but was quite exhausted. I had carried him up and down all the stairs as they were spiral staircases and rather treacherous. Fortunately for us, there was only one other couple (besides my parents) on the tour and they were American and very understanding.

The walk up the hill back to the carpark nearly killed me. My parents were smart and paid the 1.50 euro for shuttle back to the top. Not me, I thought it would be good exercise. Ben and I took turns pushing Carter in his stroller. I huffed and puffed my way all the way up...and in typical German fashion, a 75 year old man smoking a cigarette passed me along the way.

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