I have always loved writing, and now that I am retired I thought I would be able to find time to write, but it seems that I still manage to fill my days with activities. I have however found that while I travel, I enjoy writing about some of the interesting things we do. I hope you enjoy reading of our adventures as much as I like writing about them.
Thursday, September 25, 2014
Not Another Bloody Castle!
Regis loves castles. She loves looking at
them from afar, loves touring them, and just really enjoys visiting places that
have castles. The river cruise through Europe was perfect, one day is spent
cruising the Middle Rhine, and the brochures claim that “There is a castle
around every corner!” is not really that far from the truth.
Castle Overlooking the Town
The day started with a tour of Marksburg
Castle. This spectacular castle sits right on top of a hill overlooking the
Rhine. This castle is unique, because it was never destroyed and so although
sections are “restored”, it remains basically as it was in the 13th
century. The castles on the Rhine were mostly built to allow someone to control
a section of the river and collect “tolls” from ships using the essential
waterway, so they are built on the rocky hillsides looking down on the river.
As a result, the castles are built to fit the hillside and come in many shapes
and configurations, rather than your “regular” square castle with four ramparts
and a central building protecting the lords and ladies. Marksburg castle
wanders up and down over the hilltop with the actual rock it is built on
serving as the floor in sections (Not real comfortable . . . ). It was a
wonderful tour visiting the chapel, kitchen, armory, living areas, and the
Once leaving Marksburg, there literally
seemed to be a castle around every corner. This of course makes sense. The
castle sitting on the hillside could only control the section of river they
could see, so as soon as one castle as out of sight another greedy robber baron
could build another castle and start collecting tolls. It must have been a
nuisance for the boats using the river, and indeed in time, as the central
government became strong enough the practice was stopped.
Wake me at the next Castle
Unfortunately most of the rest of the
castles were torn down at least once if not multiple times. The King, to
prevent the collection of tolls, destroyed some. Apparently the French came in
during the 1600’s and destroyed most of the castles to establish their control of
the region. Some have remained as ruins, but many have been rebuilt. Our guide
on the boat giving a running commentary as we cruised past these castles used
the expression “Restored in the. . .
style”; in other words they were sometimes not restored, but rebuilt to suit
the new owner. Some are private homes, some museums, one is a hotel, and a
number are youth hostels (you sleep in bunk beds but have the BEST view). This
entire section of the river has World Heritage Site designation, so most of the
castles are now somewhat protected, but it really is a spectacular section of
We spent the afternoon, sitting up on deck
chairs on the sundeck, waiting for the boat to round the next corner and the
next spectacular castle to appear. We got to the point that even Regis was
saying “Oh no, not another bloody castle!”