After breakfast today, Christian and I headed down to the train station to grab some transport to the town of Weikersheim. It was just a little ways up the road, and we had heard we could walk through a preserved castle there. Yay for Europe and its history! (The States don’t exactly have anything reaching back more than a few hundred years, as far as monuments go). Because we only needed one train for the short distance, our tickets were 2 Euros, significantly better than the 48 Euros we both paid to get down here from Frankfurt.
Our directions to the castle had been this: “It’s in the center of town, you can see the spire from a distance. About 10 minutes walk.” Well, you can’t see the spire from the station, but thankfully it wasn’t hard to guess the center of town and we started towards that.
It was actually very easy to find. There was a town square, which serves as a sidewalk, a road, and café seating combined. Yet somehow it all flows and works. On one side there is a beautiful church. On the other, the welcoming gates of a castle. A Castle! GUYS I AM IN EUROPE AND THERE ARE CASTLES AND I GOT TO SEE ONE. Ahem, sorry about that. My inner nerd is a very happy person right now. You can imagine my poor brother having to put up with my pictures and excitement and general jumping up and down, and you might pity him a bit.
We walked in and signed up for the tour. While the tour would be in German, they did have English books to help us along. Unfortunately no photography was allowed inside, so I don’t have pictures of the interior. But I am a writer, so I will try to paint a little bit of a verbal picture for you.
It wasn’t so much medieval as it was resided in until about 1720. That does not detract from the beauty of the place, however. There was lots of little tidbits of history and culture that even as a non-German speaker who didn’t pick them all up it was pretty cool to see. The rooms with their rich tapestries and beds and drapes, the ornateness of their decorations. So many pictures everywhere! Family pictures, landscapes, a lot of beautiful reliefs in plaster on the wall. I remember thinking that technically it should feel over ornamented, but somehow with the large rooms and the style and the expectation of what I was looking for in a castle, it didn’t seem so to me. The tile work in the upper floor was weird, because it was really a checker board of tiles with a sort of cement in between, which was set lower and made the floor uneven to walk on. There were two of the most beautiful staircases, one a winding tower staircase and the other a more simplistic but wide and sweeping stone staircase that was inside the castle.
We of course only got to see a portion of the castle, as some was under construction and some just wasn’t a part of a tour (Isn’t it always thus?). But we did get to go wander the gardens (Which is free and actually not a part of the 6 Euro tour price). Also not included in the tour but open to the public was a room devoted to Alchemy, a subject I find fascinating and unfortunately a subject I know 0 German words for. But the room also displayed some of the original castle walls, which were fascinating in and of themselves. We looked around this room, hit the gift shop, and then walked down into the gardens.
We were both hungry after our walking (and my legs were starting to shake from so much exertion this week. Yikes! I hope that’s on okay thing?). We found a café in the courtyard, and I had a pork Schnitzel while he had some cutlets in mushroom sauce. It was one of the spendier meals we have had since arriving (which means to say all told it was somewhere like 35 Euros), but we both agreed it was some of the best food we have had all year. The pork was tender, flavorful, balanced and just perfectly done. It hit the spot and gave us our well needed break.
Unfortunately, we could find little to no shopping in Weikersheim, so we decided to head back and get a bus ticket back to Bad Mergentheim. We did find a fire station (Christian is a volunteer fire fighter back home and is hoping to get a look inside a German station). Unfortunately, no one was home.
With no office open to buy tickets from , we somehow successfully managed to buy tickets at the kiosk. We then watched as the hour for our train came and went, with no sign of anyone. We started to get nervous, but thankfully the next train showed on time and took us back home.
I took a nap for a significant portion of the afternoon. I hadn’t thought I was running around so much, but apparently I needed some rest! Dinner was very good, and comprised of salads, a lemon soufflé that was amazingly delicious, and some bread and cheeses. I honestly still wasn’t hungry after our large lunch (also, Christian has a stash of gummy bears I have been snitching from…)
Mom and I had signed up for an art therapy class (her doctor told her she should and she didn’t want to go alone), so we went after dinner. It was watercolors, a medium I was very familiar with but generally like to take many days to accomplish. I ended up painting a sort of simplistic, colorful cat. We had seen a Salvador Dali Bible exhibit which was on display when we went to the museum in Bad Mergentheim, and I tried to pull some inspiration from that. Certainly not my best work, but it was fun to just paint with abandon.
Mom of course out painted me, and did many cool things, one of my favorites of which as her little castle, meant to represent Germany.
After watercolor I chilled in Christian’s room, where I poured myself a small glass of this coffee liqueur we found at the grocery store. A little sweet but very very good. Not technically German in the slightest, but a fun way to wind down the evening.