Archive for July 2009
D and I were both working in Bückeburg for a few days in May. D spends ALOT of time there lately for work, but since we both were there together, we took a little time one morning to see the castle.
So now that I’ve learned burg is German for castle I’m expecting every city ending with a -burg to have an associated castle. I’ve been told by one of my German coworkers that this is not entirely true. And that sometimes the burgs have been destroyed. Bückeburg at least, fits the pattern. Here are some photos:
Etymology, word history, lesson?
Did you know that the word ‘burg’ is German for castle? And the word ‘burglar’ cames from the same word? http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/burglar
This never crossed my mind until recently but no, we’ve not been sneaking around at night wearing black. Though the thought of D and me, 7 months pregnant, breaking into houses does sound quite amusing. I’d probably be knocking over things with my protruding-more-than-I-realize-belly and D would be concerned more about me jumping down from the window ledge than the actual mission.
Anyway, burglar stuff aside, we have been visiting some nearby burgs or castles lately. Hmm, I have no clue the German term for castle touring – probably something like Überzahlungburgtouristen. The German language seems fixated on compounding words.
About a month ago we visited with D’s friend, who has the summer off, he teaches, and he was spending 3 weeks in Europe. Yes, he had the obligatory framed backpack. His first week he spent in Paris before hopping on a Thalys train to visit us for the weekend. What do you want to do as a tourist in Germany? The top of the list for most people include:
- Drink beer (plural)
- Eat German food – because it’s authentic, not because people love fatty meat, right?
- Visit castles
- Do a festival – especially nice if it includes/centers around item No. 1
Luckily, we got around to doing all 4 items in the span of two days.
1. Drink beer
On that Friday afternoon we visited Aachen, and although it was cool outside, we managed to do a few beers/apple juices on a terrace before we were all chilly and looking for the indoors.
2. Eat German food
We fudged a little here and went to dinner at a place that serves potatoes in every meal. Not exactly traditional but definitely authentic German type fare – meat and potatoes, fried:
3. Visit Castles, Marksburg Castle
Marksburg, a working castle open to the public, is about 1.5 hours drive from where we live now. So Saturday morning we packed some snacks and drinks, the GPS, and cameras, and headed south:
We got to the Castle just in time to join the tour, and though it was offered only in German, they did provide an English tour pamphlet, so we followed along, kinda.
Marksburg claim to fame? It is the only Medieval castle on the Rhine that has never been destroyed. The first reference to the castle dates back to 1231.
So we’ve heard, quite a few times from different people, that there are many, many castles along the Rhine River. The reason? The Rhine has been, since Roman times, an important river in Europe used for travel and merchant traffic. Many castles were built not only for the headquarters of lords or only to defend their territory but also to provide a strategic vantage point to regulate traffic flow on the river across a particular territory and to levy tolls on merchants passing through.
The bed below looks very short. According the guide, it wasn’t because the people sleeping in it were also very short, but that during the time, people slept propped up, in a semi-sitting position.
Of course, looking at the door out of the bed chamber makes me think they were just short…
- View from the herb garden
Somewhere toward the end of the tour, we, and two other English speakers, got lost from the rest of the group. Sigh.. So typical for us non-conformists. We waited at the gate about 15 minutes before the next tour arrived, and we could exit.
4. Do a festival, Stolberg goes Espana!
After the castle we stopped in Cologne to see the cathedral there, always impressive, but when we arrived home we realized there was a festival going on, one block from our apartment. So why not. It was all about Spain, so we checked it out: