Rivers, Castles, & Friends - Wednesday, September 10, 2003

We came to Frankfurt to visit M's friend Susan from Austin who had married a German-American a few years back. Susan & Douglas live with his sister and family. This happy home, dubbed "the Commune", is always home to a seemingly non-stop stream of welcome visitors. Thanks to Susan & Douglas, as well as the von Schroder family (Kristin & Benedikt, Wendelin & Claudius (impressive 17 yr old twins) & Konstantin (6 yr old budding Mr. Bean impersonator) for their hospitality!!!! It was great catching up with Susan as well as getting to know her husband (thanks 4 all the yummy, authentic, German food).

Tasty Food
We've been sampling much of the local food including the infamous apple strudel..mmmm! Check out the goodies...a big change from our less-than-inspiring Norwegian food experience:
- Federweissen (sweet wine from the 1st stage of production...just fermented)
- Appelwein (wine sweeter than cider but very tart...ick)
- Pflammkuchen (pizza-like crust with sourcream & bacon)
- Dampfknodel (bread dumplings-good with gravy-very thanksgiving-like)

Day Trip to Rhine
The Rhine is strewn with mountaintop castles, more castles than in any other river valley in the world. Castle-owners chose mountain-tops as strategically ideal situations (not for the builders!) to protect their lands from predatory neighbors and theives. Owners raked in the $$ levying tolls on merchants along this 35 mile stretch of river. Our scenic cruise down the Rhine afforded much time soaking up the vineyards, small towns, and castles dotting the river banks and mountains.

We jumped off the boat in St. Goar for a steep hike to Rheinfels Castle. This ancient fortress was built in 1245 and withstood a siege of 28K French troops in 1692 but was not destroyed by the French until ~ 100 years later. We were rewarded with stunning views of the river valley once we reached the top. While the castle was only a shell of its former self, it was not hard to imagine what a bad-ass place this was! 300-600 people lived in the castle during peacetime and over 4500 during wars. CROWDED!!! Worth the visit..

Eltz Castle on the Mosel River
It took a few hours train ride and an hour hike to get to this incredibly well-preserved castle that looks just as it did 820 years ago (fabulously furnished and all!). Apparently within this national monument the 33rd generation of the Eltz family still lives. The castle is positively medieval and is so well-preserved due to clever marriages and smart diplomacy!

Previous Posts: 

Monthly Archives: 

Copyright © 2002- www.theharalsons.com