Saturday, April 9, 2022

Burg Eltz

In the beginning of November, I took another CLO trip to Burg Eltz..a.k.a Eltz Castle. (fun fact: Schloss, Burg, Festung, Kastell, and Turm are all German words for Castle). Burg Eltz is about a two hour drive from our place.

Burg Eltz is located in Eltz forest. You park near a little chapel and then can either take a shuttle (for a couple €) or walk DOWN to the castle. 

There are easy to follow signs directing you in the right direction. Normally you think of castles as towering high up on the tallest hill and being seen from miles away. Burg Eltz is tucked away and hidden in the forest.

As you walk down, there are several look out points to enjoy the view of the castle. Here you can see the small river that runs around the base of the castle.

With C-19, they were limiting the number of visitors and had entry times. So we loitered around on the bridge until it was our entry time. 

So naturally, one wanders around and takes some

The stone bridge was built by hand, very cool that for something ~865 years old it looks this good. Rudolf von Eltz signed the deed in 1157 and ever since then that family has been continuously inhabiting the castle!

So the castle's location, in a valley (and on a'll see soon), has allowed it to remain unscathed through many wars in the area.

The foundation was built right into the rock. Apparently some windows and such are at odd angles to maximize winds.

A colorful turret.

At some point during the tour inside, we could look into a similiar little room jutting out the side. It is a chapel attached to a bedroom. The purpose for it being 'outside' the house is that nothing can be above God and so you could not build another floor above the chapel, but since it has its own roof nothing is above God.

Seemingly random accent piece.

Going into the castle courtyard, I may or may not have been picturing knights of yesteryear (Hollywood style) charging at it. 

Sometime before 1268, the castle was divided between three brothers. Their respective families and heirs lived in essentially their own castles. So Burg Eltz is three castles in one! Each castle had its own crests and color palette. We saw two of the three (the other is still being lived in). At some point, two of the lines ran out of heirs/the other line bought them out. So only one family now owns the castle.

Obviously, being privately own, I couldn't take any photos on the inside. They had all kinds of historical things you always wonder was that real or just a made up Hollywood thing from movies of the middle ages. The kitchen was pretty interesting, surprisingly modern for an ancient building - even had water taps over the stone sinks bringing water from the river surrounding it. I learned that heating a stone castle was quite expensive and most castles were quite cold in the winter with only a room or two used. Therefore, the more fireplaces a castle had the more wealth a family had......there was a lot of wealth!!

Afterwards, we had lunch at one of the two cafes on site. Then had some time to explore the grounds and hike/enjoy the last bit of the fall leaves.

The castle was closing for winter at the beginning of November and just reopened at the start of April. So if you are in the area during the warmer months of the year, I recommend checking it out!

Friday, April 8, 2022

Some fall escapades...

Sadly with C-19 number still all over the place, most Oktoberfest celebrations around the country were canceled. The Consulate was able to hold a small event with registered guests (for contact tracing of course) that was outdoors. We stopped in for a little bit, Clarissa got her hair braided, pretzels and beer were consumed, and the need to pick up our own dirndl and lederhosen was discovered.  

Clarissa actually did a wardrobe change when we got home and wanted to take some photos of her styled hair. Problem is to get the cute face you can't see the braid. So here's a little video of her braid.

The following weekend was Halloween/Richard's birthday. Friday evening was the compound door decorating contest. We and two of our other neighbors went all out. We dug out the old gravestones we had made a few years back...and used our little LED lights on them. We gathered up leaves to make it look likely freshly buried The door also had spider webs, spooky witches that talked to you and jumped, fog machine (I managed to not take a picture of it). We won most cool initially, then after checking out all entries we won first place!

The next day we had our friends from Doha, who are now posted in Frankfurt! Over for a little pumpkin carving party. It had been a while since we had one of these with pumpkins being so pricey in Qatar and Fiji!

It was chilly carving outside, so we took a break and came in for some hot drinks and Richard's birthday cake (again, somehow no pictures of the cake. Clarissa did the baking and decorating this year, so I'll use that as my excuse. I typically take a picture when I finish).

Clarissa dressed up as Enola Holmes and the teen as a character from Bob's Burgers (I've never watched that show, so IDK).

I took a couple day trips (more on those later). The teen turned 17! Can you believe it! 

My birthday came and went. We all went out to eat one Friday evening at a little Italian place up the street to celebrate everyone's birthdays. We celebrated Thanksgiving. We invited a friend of ours from the hood over....we knew her back when we lived in Tbilisi......(start singing "It's a small world after all......")

As you can see, already putting some of that Polish pottery to use! Then it was time for Christmas and Christmas stayed tuned :)

Thursday, April 7, 2022

Walking around Bolesławiec, Poland

So in the mornings, we had some downtime around the leisurely breakfasts before heading out pottery shopping (shops don't open super early and we were staying really close by). So I wandered around the property and the street where we were staying. A few pictures were from around one of the pottery shops as well. I won't say much, just enjoy the pretty pictures of the Polish countryside.