This morning, Bill called my attention to a swollen cut on my dog, Zane’s, face. He and our other dog, Arran, had a fight last night. After Bill broke them up, he thought both dogs were okay. Neither appeared to have a scratch. In fact, Zane had actually come out the victor, having scored a rare rawhide treat that Arran had momentarily let out of his sight. We were marveling at that, since Zane is not really a fighter and tends to be the less aggressive of our dogs. But then this morning, there was that swollen place on his face.
Zane enjoyed the freshly mowed grass yesterday, before he and Arran had their little spat. He’s going to be ten in November and both he and Arran have had cancerous mast cell tumors that have had to be surgically removed. But they’re still plugging along and at each other.
Bill and I don’t have kids together, so we tend to be neurotic about our dogs. Because puncture wounds can get infected quickly, Bill decided to take Zane to the on duty vet, a gruff guy in Herrenberg named Dr. Katz. Dr. Katz took a look at Zane, said he was fine, and told Bill to keep the spot clean. Then he said goodbye without even bothering to charge Bill for the visit.
Since Zane seemed to be okay, Bill and I decided to go out to lunch in Nagold. Afterwards, we had plans to visit Ruine Mandelberg, another one of my highway finds during our many recent trips to the Black Forest. I had noticed the sign for it as we passed the turnoff for the little hamlet of Bösingen, a true one horse district if I’ve ever seen one. I had looked up Ruine Mandelberg on the Internet and I wasn’t sure if it was something that would excite me, but since it’s pretty close to where we live, we decided today was the day to see it.
We started in Nagold, where parking is free on Sundays and you never know what’s going to happen. Lunch was at Provenciale, a little Italian restaurant near the main square. We had eaten there before, but it had been awhile. For some reason, this restaurant does not get good reviews on Trip Advisor. I don’t know why. Our experiences there have been good. In fact, today we both enjoyed our pasta dishes. I especially liked mine.
We enjoyed malty hefeweizens. Sometimes, when I drink one of these, I taste Ovaltine. That sounds strange until you realize that beer is malty and so is Ovaltine. Bill had to move as the sun did.
Bill enjoyed cheese filled tortellini with spinach, ham, and gorgonzola cheese sauce. He said it was delicious, even if he preferred yesterday’s mushroom extravaganza more. Personally, I preferred his choice for today, if only because it didn’t smell of fungus! Sigh– if I only liked mushrooms, my life would be so much easier!
I went with the very safe Tagliatelli Salmone, made with cream sauce and very tender, delicious pieces of salmon. I loved it. What can I say? I like comfort food. It shows… especially on my ass.
This particular restaurant also specializes in ice cream and we saw plenty of people enjoying fancy Italian/German style ice cream treats today. I think many people were substituting ice cream for lunch! Our bill came to 27 euros, which Bill rounded up to 30. Before we left, we caught the Albanian cultural/dance club Shota marching by. My German friend says they were performing at Kinderfest today. I caught a short video clip of them parading by. I’ll have to see if I can upload it to YouTube.
After lunch, we got back on B28 and headed for Ruine Mandelberg. We drove through tiny Bösingen, which has an interesting looking antique shop, a gasthaus, a church, and lots of pretty scenery. There’s a road where cars are not supposed to go unless they are going to the ruins. There’s a small parking area near a park/picnic area. It’s free to park there and, as you can see below, there’s playground equipment for kids.
A map of the sights in the area. If you wanted to, you could take a nice hike here. There are lots of trails.
It looked like a group was having a picnic today.
We parked the car and started walking. It was about 1.5 kilometers to the ruins themselves, though there were a couple of other trails and roads that made Bill nervous we weren’t going the right way.
But then we rounded a corner and easily found the ruins, which date from the 12th century. Actually, according to Wikipedia, the 11th century ruins predeceased what is there now. The first time the castle was mentioned in documents was in 1287. The castle burned down during the peasant revolts in 1525 and was never rebuilt.
A sign offering a brief history… in German, naturally!
The community of Pflazgrafenweiler purchased the property in 1970 and renovated what was left of the ruins. In 1975, they renovated the keep, which is 35 meters high and offers nice views of the surrounding countryside. Below are some pictures I took during our visit.
First glance of the tower. A family of four was at the top when we first arrived. They met us at the bottom as I was wondering whether or not I really wanted to climb up the extremely tight spiral staircases. The parents were encouraging us in German, telling us it wasn’t unlike climbing the church spires in Ulm!
The first steps seem narrow…
And the tower seems high… You do get two opportunities to pause on the way up and down.
But those steps are extremely narrow. You must hold on to the railing and the center or risk falling. Bill got dizzy going up the tight spiral.
But then you reach the top… Thank GOD! It’s very well fortified, so there’s no need to worry about falling. Unfortunately, some people left trash up there.
At the top of the keep, we were rewarded with some very beautiful views. Below are some pictures from the top of the tower.
This isn’t a great shot, mainly because the barrier prevented me from getting more of the grounds in the picture. You can see the cistern on the left, which is unfortunately full of trash.
A couple of closer pictures of the cistern from the ground.
After a few minutes, we decided to climb back down. Going down was less strenuous, but a bit scarier. You can see how far down it is as you climb down. I am very cautious about climbing, so I tend to go slowly. The last thing I need is to faceplant in a tower. When we got to the outside steps, I realized that might have been the best spot for picture taking, especially within the ruins. Here is a 360 tour of the ruins.
Directions for other areas of interest. I was too sweaty and dirty to hike more.
One last look at the tower.
Bill gazes at the view.
With a friendly ghost?
Bars on the window… wonder what for!
Auf wiedersehen, Ruine Mandelberg!
I couldn’t resist taking pictures of this pretty church we passed going in and out of the little hamlet.
I think these ruins are worth seeing if you’re interested in old castle ruins dating from the 12th century. It might also make an okay stop on the way to Freudenstadt or some of the other attractions in the Black Forest. It doesn’t take long to see the ruins, but if you wanted to hike longer, you certainly could, and the area is pretty and offers good picnic/play opportunities. I’m glad we stopped by. I was also considering visiting Herrenberg’s new Schönbuchturm, but figured it would be crowded, since it just opened yesterday. Maybe we’ll do that next week!