This past weekend we visited some of Michael’s family in Bonn and Cologne. The drive up was about 3.5 hours from Stuttgart despite about 9 different roadworks along the way.
The first day we spent the day in Cologne, visiting a cousin and her family. We took the boys to the park and spent the evening having a barbeque and toasting all of the great things that have happened in the family since we last met.
The following afternoon we headed off to a castle/fort in the area. Burg Eltz is a medieval castle from the 12th century and is made up of three ‘houses’ from different families or branches of a family and has been owned by the same family for 33 generations. What makes it so special is that is has survived all this time without any part of it being destroyed by war, making it a castle in pristine condition.
The castle is situated unlike many of the castles that I have visited, in that it is not atop a hill. Instead, one must walk about 15 minutes into a forest before it can even be seen. It is still raised up from the ground, but it is not much higher than the trees that surround it.
Paying for entry to the castle also includes a guided tour and entrance to the treasury, which holds many prized artefacts. This makes it a destination that is well worth a visit. As we were there, we noticed that there were many American and other english-speaking tourists and the tour is also held in english. There is also a restaurant and a snack shop, making it perfect for a day trip.
Unlike many other castles, here you are shown many different rooms from two of the three houses. The guides are also very knowledgeable and friendly.
Another fun fact about this castle is that it used to be on the 500 deutsche Mark bank note.
I know I always say this about the places that I visit, but this is really worth a trip if you can check it out. You do have to walk quite a bit and there are many stairs as you go through the castle, but you can go at your own pace.
Entry for students/children is 6.50€ and about 8.50€ for adults.
Also, if you’re a bit of an art buff, you can see the renowned ‘Madonna and child with grapes’ by Lucas Cranach in the castle.