Hey everyone! We've seen and toured a lot of cathedrals, and we've seen several castles as we sail down the Rhine, but now we are actually going to tour one in Braubach and one in Heidelberg. Are you ready?
The Castle of Marksburg sits high on a cliff, seemingly impenetrable to enemy forces. And this castle has withstood more than most. It holds the enviable title of the only medieval castle in the Middle Rhine that was never destroyed. I took this photo from the lounge on board our boat -- it's distorted because I was taking it through the window.
The Eppstein family is the one we have to thank for this marvelous example of medieval architecture. The Marksburg Castle is a miracle in itself. For over 700 years, it has not been touched by the ravages of time or the destruction of war. Even with two world wars, the Marksburg has been happily spared so that current and future generations can appreciate its splendor.
The craggy, nearly inaccessible cliff on which the castle sits has certainly helped it to survive such bloody centuries. The original purpose of Marksburg was to protect the citizens and town of Braubach.
Our guide was constantly reminding us to watch our footing. Do you see the wall to the left? Well, that's how irregular and uneven the walkways were throughout the castle.
Cannons at the ready!
I know some of you are drooling over all of this pewter!
Not exactly a Wolfe range!
This would be the prep area of the kitchen, complete with the "biggest" dough bowl I've ever seen!
The Man was standing behind me to keep me from falling over backwards as I tried to photograph the ceiling in this private chapel room. It was dome-shaped and the colors were still so vivid.
The castle's Armory Museum.
No, honey, you're a teddy bear not a fighter!
This fireplace was huge.....the hood was well above my head!
The Music Room
The Game Room -- chess anyone?
The "Throne" room, and the most vulnerable place for an attack. Why? Because it's open to the ground under that seat cover, so basically anyone using this facility had
their b_ _t hanging in the wind!
That weirdly surprised & giddy look on my face is because......this is a craft room, people!
This is a copy of a postcard we bought. We found postcards to be a great way to get extra pics of places that were more difficult to photograph. The dungeon and torture chamber were gruesome.
The view from the Marksburg was incredible! Our boat is somewhere down there on the Rhine.
Koblenz sits on both banks of the Rhine at its confluence with the Moselle River. It was established as a military post in 8bc and celebrated its 2000th anniversary in 1992.
Pretty amazing to think about!
This was a beautiful statue-fountain in Koblenz, depicting 2000 years of history. If you click on this photo go to the original size, you can really see a lot of detail.
This is a photo of a brochure we picked up. Too bad I can't speak German!
We spent the afternoon sailing and arrived in the quaint little town of Rudesheim. We had a little "after dinner" walking tour.
What can I say?
Sometimes I felt I had been transported into a fairytale.
Back on the boat, we settled into our bed as we sailed through the night to
Heidelberg and the Heidelberg Castle.
The castle sprawls over the hilltop.
The best information about this castle says that it's over 500 years old. It started out as a very small structure but was added onto several times. It met with numerous disasters over the years.....fires caused by lightening strikes occurred more than once; and the ravages of the "30 Year War," followed by a volatile attack from France, left no hope that it could be restored.
Although there is still so much beauty to see, this castle is considered a "ruin."
Deep in the bowels of Heidelberg Castle is the world’s largest wine barrel. The Heidelberg Tun or Grosses Fass holds over 220,000 litres (58,000 US gallons) and stands an impressive six to seven metres (roughly 20 to 23 feet) high and between eight and nine meters (approximately 26 to 29 feet) wide. To encourage partying, a staircase leads to a dance floor installed on its top so people could drink and dance all evening! The sad news is that the barrel spent most of its long life empty, as it was originally used to hold taxes (paid in the form of wine) from the local winegrowers – just the thought of mixing all those wines gives me a headache! Savage axe marks remain in the barrel from where Napoleon’s soldiers attempted to access the golden liquid inside. They were unsuccessful but ironically, the barrel was empty anyway.
Much of the beauty of this castle is in the rich red color of the sandstone. Sadly, sandstone easily erodes away.
The scaffolding shows that attempts are being made to keep this beautiful structure from disintegrating anymore. I hope they are successful.
The picturesque town of Heidelberg as seen from the castle walls.
This was such a cute little market, and I do mean little. I tried to take a photo of their shopping carts, but there just wasn't enough room inside. Just think TJ's little kid shopping carts and that's what they looked like!
Our afternoon sailing time was filled with photo-opts.
Terraced vineyards and........
I always plan to not overload you with photos, but I am obviously very bad at that!
Our next stop will be Strasbourg, Breisach & Comar. Sadly, we only have 2 more days on the boat.