Thursday, April 28, 2011

Fairy Tale Beginnings

A friend of mine told me that it's completely surreal when you first get to Germany. You fly in to Frankfurt and first, everything is in a foreign language... but everything is still understandable because you're at the airport. They try really hard to make things foreigner-proof. It's when you're driven out of Frankfurt to wherever you're staying that you realize you're over the rainbow.

Everything is so green! Just lush, rolling fields of beautifulness that simply do not compare to the corn fields, tobacco fields, or cotton fields of the states... And then *PoP!* There's a quaint little village! You can tell that the houses aren't like American houses... they're different with their pale walls that lean a little topped with steep, dark roofs. Then you're suddenly back to more vast green beauty. This switch between landscape and adorable Disney village continues for a while until it happens...

You're relaxing into your seat, letting the jet lag set in, getting cozy and thinking to yourself "I live here!" when you see it. Off in the distance, maybe poking out of the trees on a hill, maybe slowly rising on the horizon as you crest the next hill, but there it is... a castle!! The home of great sword battles! Princesses, knights, and kings! With drinking halls and tales of valor encapsulated in stone walls... and I live here!! you think.

At least, that's how it was for my friend. We landed in Stuttgart. Instead of lush, rolling fields of green... we saw the beautiful and symbolic... golden arches! Once we got out of the city we saw tall, skinny trees that you can only imagine were the source of all the creepy forest tales from the Brothers Grimm. We were then promptly greeted by Porsche, Mini Cooper, and Mercedes dealers. Perhaps ours was meant to be a more modern fairy tale adventure...? Oh, well, I though. There will be plenty of castles to see...

And I was right.

The first on my list of adventure was Lichtenstein Castle. Unfortunately, we were not allowed to take photographs of the inside.. but there are a few on that website. I was also with a large group and couldn't hear much of the history, but here are some key points I picked up on. I think you'll find it hard to dispute their cultural significance:
  • There's a moat - awesome.
  • The stained glass windows here with incredible detail date back to the 14th century.
  • It was built for a duke, not a king... which explains why it looks kind of small and less majestic than in the movies.
  • The first wife of the guy who lived here died young, which seemed to happen a lot to the first wives of German royalty and noblemen.
  • The guy's second wife gave him a champagne flute as tall as he was as a wedding gift. It was *almost* 2m tall, which was tall for guys back then.
  • People who lived in the time of castles were TINY.
  • Another guy associated with this place turned out to be gay... discovered shortly after he married a young, beautiful woman. This also seemed to happen a lot with German royalty and noblemen.
 So, there's your history lesson for the day! When I go back, I'll gather more information. But on to what you're really looking forward to...



Entrance to main part of the castle. See the bridge? This was moat #2!

Tiny cannon for tiny people.
Cute little town waaaaaaaay down below.

Kind of gives perspective to how high up we were and the steep drop-off one side of the castle was built on.

Two horse garage?

Not sure what that was. It was separate from the rest of the castle.

Looking through the archer's hole.

Most recent addition to the castle.. decades, if not centuries, ago.

Cool planter outside the restaurant there.


  1. Okay. That is just too cool. But if you go to Schloss Neuschwanstein, I may just die of envy. I'm not quite sure how far away Bavaria is from Stuttgart, but do yourself a favor and make the trip there. But before you go, read all about my favorite European monarch, Ludwig II of Bavaria.

    I really am jealous. Germany is sooooo coool.

    Also, hi!

  2. Yay for tiny cannons! For tiny nobles and their tiny court members. :D