Our pandemic dog rescue story… part four

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I have mentioned before that I think Austria is an extremely beautiful country. We haven’t spent enough time there, which is a shame, because it’s a small country that has huge things to offer. I love the scenery there. There are enormous mountains, babbling brooks, Dirndl clad ladies and men in Lederhosen, and lots of great food. I like Austrian food more than German food. Yes, there is a difference.

It seems like Austrian food has a little dash of Italian to it… and it also seems like there’s more variety to it. It’s not just Schnitzel, sausages, Spatzle, potatoes and cabbage. And yes, I know I’m inviting criticism from my few German readers for writing this. But I also know that some of them are reading because they want to know what things look like from an American point of view. Well, I am American, and this is my point of view, even if it’s not entirely accurate. You know what they say about perspectives. I know Germany has a variety of different specialties throughout the land, but for some reason, Austrian food just seems slightly different to me. Not that we had much of a chance to eat it during this whirlwind trip.

I was expecting Bill to stop for lunch. He never did. I don’t know how he hasn’t learned in almost eighteen years of marriage that it’s good to take a break. On the other hand, there weren’t that many appealing stops on the way down to the Slovenian border. We did stop at one place so I could pee. It was pouring down rain, though. I also remember having to pay a toll of 12,50 euros before we could go through Katschburg Pass. Bill was freaking out because the toll was done by machine and it wouldn’t accept his Bar (cash). I told him he should just take his time. People would have to wait. It’s not like they don’t make us wait when they have business to attend to.

Anyway, as we approached the border, we ended up on a narrow mountain road behind some guy who didn’t seem to know which was was up. There were many wrong turn signals, a few weaves and bobs in the road, and slow speeds. The drive over the mountain was very beautiful. The leaves are turning, so the colors were dramatic against the stormy skies. There’s a bunker museum on the mountain road. We saw a lot of signs and had we not had Arran and it hadn’t been raining, it would have made for an interesting stop for Bill. It was built during the Cold War to make sure no one from former Yugoslavia would cross into Austria and raise a ruckus. Again… I would love to visit Kransjka Gora again, so maybe someday we’ll get a chance to visit.

Here are some photos from our drive down from Salzburg.

We rented an “apartment” for our night in Slovenia. I didn’t realize it was really more of a hotel apartment. We told the proprietor that we’d be there at 2:00pm, since they told us they needed an hour to get to Kranjska Gora. We actually arrived earlier than 2:00, but for some reason, it didn’t occur to me to message them through Booking.com. We just waited for a car. Well… first, Bill went to a tiny grocery store near the apartment and picked up a few essentials. Kranjska Gora is very close to both the Italian and Austrian borders. It must have been interesting to live there when Slovenia was still part of a closed society.

After we picked up a few items, we went back to the suite hotel and met the young lady who showed us our digs for the night. For about 86 euros, we got a little place with a bed, a sitting room, basic kitchen facilities, and a bathroom with a tiny shower. It was very clean and had what we needed, but it wasn’t quite as nice as our place in Salzburg. The floors were tile, which makes for easy cleaning, but chilly quarters. Still, it was just fine for a night and the price was right. Checking out was equally a breeze. All we had to do was dump the trash and leave the keys on the kitchen table. That was perfect for our purposes. The place we stayed was called G&F apartments on Booking.com, but it was in the Hotel Klass building, which is very close to the town center. I prepaid for the room and we had to pay four euros for the tourist tax. There wasn’t a pet fee and Arran was definitely not the only dog there.

Our original plan was to get Noizy at about 8:00pm, as that was when Meg was supposed to arrive with him and two other dogs who got new homes. Another American couple, based at Ramstein, I believe, were coming down to pick up a dog for themselves and transport another to a German family in Bavaria (I think). That other couple turned out to be a godsend. More on that in the next part.

Post pandemic trip number two– Germany’s only Glauber’s salt spa

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If you are a regular reader of my travel blog, you might know that Bill and I are big fans of Germany’s wonderful spa culture. We’ve gotten so into the spas here that we’ve even done a very unAmerican thing and indulged in the nude! Yes, that’s right… despite being decidedly middle aged and not having the best body images, Bill and I have both embraced being naked in front of other people. I don’t know how Bill feels about it, but personally, I think the nude spas are liberating and healthy, even though it took us years to finally take the plunge, so to speak.

So far, we have visited these spas:

Mineraltherme Böblingen (probably my favorite, because it has clothed and nude areas, was recently renovated, has a great restaurant, and has a lot to do)

SchwabenQuellen in Stuttgart (all nude most of the time)

Friedrichsbad in Baden-Baden (famously all nude, all the time)

Caracalla in Baden-Baden (clothed everywhere but in the sauna/steam room area)

Palais Thermal in Bad Wildbad (nude in most areas)

Kaiser-Friedrich Therme in Wiesbaden (nude all the time)

Rhein-Main Therme in Hofheim (clothed everywhere but in the sauna and steam room area)

And finally, as of Sunday of last week, we visited the Vulkaneifel Therme in Bad Bertrich (clothed everywhere but the sauna and steam room). If you’re interested in my thoughts on and experiences at the other spas, you can easily find my posts about them in this blog. Just do a search or click the spa tags.

Because I love Germany’s decadent Thermes, I would have wanted to visit the Vulkaneifel Therme regardless of whether or not it was “special” in any way. But as I was researching the Eifel area, I came across ads for the Vulkaneifel Therme describing it as Germany’s only “Glauber’s salt” spa. What does that mean? Well, in English, Glauber’s salt is sodium sulfate, somewhat akin to what we call Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate). I used to use Epsom salt a lot when I had a horse. Applied topically in hot water, it’s great for reducing inflammation, soreness, and stiffness in muscles in horses and humans. Both salts are also used as laxatives, although Epsom salt is supposedly a better drying agent than sodium sulfate is. In any case, both salts are useful for soothing muscle pain, and apparently, the Vulkaneifel Therme naturally has sodium sulfate in its water, making it different from the other spas we’ve visited.

Bill and I decided to set off early for Bad Bertrich, since we weren’t wanting to be there when it was especially busy. Bad Bertrich is also not that close to Meerfeld; it’s maybe 35 kilometers away. I had actually considered staying in Bad Bertrich when I was looking for accommodations and, as we found out when we visited on Sunday, there are a number of appealing hotels in the area. However, now that we’ve been to the spa, I can say that I’m kind of glad we stayed in Meerfeld, again because it’s quiet and unique. Bad Bertrich is very much a spa town and it’s a bit touristy, although it’s also pretty.

We arrived at the Therme at about 10:00am and parked in the large garage right across the street from it. Additional parking is located to the side of the spa. The spa’s front door is contactless; it opens as you approach. The first thing to do is fill out the contract tracing information. There’s a station on the first floor, near the elevator, as well as hand sanitizer. Once you fill out the forms, either take the stairs or the elevator to the top floor, where you pay your admission fee. You can purchase entry to just the Therme or the Therme and sauna. Bill and I aren’t big on saunas, so we opted for three hours in the Therme. In retrospect, that was more time than we really needed, since this Therme isn’t very large. If we had eaten at the restaurant and spent at least five euros, we would have been entitled to an extra hour, anyway. The cashier station is also where you can rent towels, robes, and shower shoes if you need them.

The cashier gave us the familiar “wristwatches” that one gets at almost every Therme in Germany. Strap it to your wrist. It’s your ticket for everything in the Therme, from entering and exiting the turnstiles, to locking and unlocking a locker, to paying for food and beverages or anything else that would ordinarily require money.

Next, go into the co-ed locker room. Not to worry… they have individual cubicles where you can get into your bathing suit in private. Once you’ve changed clothes, find an open locker and put your stuff in it. Close the locker door and use your watch to lock it. There are instructions in English on the inside of the locker doors at this spa. Take a quick shower, then you’re ready to go!

We enjoyed the Vulkaneifel Therme, probably because it wasn’t very crowded at all during our visit. It’s not a very big Therme, although it does offer a large soaking hot tub, an exercise pool with jets, and a large central pool with indoor and outdoor access and jets. I noticed that they didn’t turn on the external “waterfall” jets that are usually periodically turned on at Thermes for people wanting to stand under them. I guess that’s to prevent the potential spread of coronavirus. The water in the exercise pool and main pools is kind of lukewarm; both were about the same temperature. Bill and I liked the exercise pool because we had it to ourselves for almost an hour and there are several powerful waterjets in the pool that are great for massaging sore backs, feet, and legs.

There were signs everywhere to remind people to wear masks and be socially distant from one another. Most people were respecting the social distance rules, but it’s hard to wear a mask in a pool environment. I was glad to see people were being sensible about that, too. I noticed people cleaning surfaces while we were there, which was reassuring to see.

After about three hours in the pools, we were pretty wrinkly, but relaxed. We didn’t try the wellness area, so I’m not sure if massages are being offered right now. I doubt they are. Anyway, we have yet to try a massage at a Therme, although we’ve had them at other places. Maybe someday, when the coronavirus is hopefully no longer such a threat, we’ll get an opportunity. We took another shower, used the watches to get our clothes, and since we didn’t buy anything in the Therme, had no need to pay the machine (much like the ones you find in a parking garage) before we put the watches in the turnstile and exited.

We walked around Bad Bertrich looking for a place to have lunch. The town does have several restaurants, but none were especially appealing to me. I wanted to have Italian food and the Italian places didn’t appear to be open at lunchtime. Several places also appeared to be closed, although I did notice that some shops were open, even though it was Sunday. I guess it’s because Bad Bertich is a touristy area. I did take some pictures of the town, which is really attractive and worth consideration for anyone who is looking for a base in the Eifel area.

Since we were unsuccessful in finding a place that appealed for lunch, we decided to leave Bad Bertrich. That turned out to be a good decision, even though it was after 1:00pm, and I was nervously eyeing the time. Remember, in Germany, a lot of places take an afternoon pause. If you don’t get to a restaurant before 2:00pm, you may be out of luck for lunch.

The GPS in our Volvo directed us to Christophorus, a pizzeria in a little town called Büchel, which was not too far from Bad Bertrich. We got there at about 1:30 or so, and two of the three outdoor tables were occupied. Christophorus is a roadside restaurant and, at first blush, doesn’t appear to be especially interesting. But we had a great lunch there, mainly because besides the good food offered, there was also exceptionally friendly service.

Bill decided to have a Bolognese Pizza, which came in three sizes– mini, mittel, and grande. He ordered the “mittel”, which was more than he could eat. I went with tortellini al forno. It wasn’t exactly low cal, but I was really in the mood for pasta. We each had a hefeweizen. As we were crying “uncle” at the end of the meal, a very pleasant and super friendly masked lady with extremely short hair came over to talk to us. I got the sense that she might have been the proprietor. We started out speaking German, but it turned out she spoke pretty good English, came to Büchel from Giessen (which used to host the U.S. military), and she was genuinely interested in how we were enjoying Germany and our trip. When she realized we are Americans, she shook her head sympathetically and said, “America is not so good right now.” Unfortunately, we agree… and we feel very lucky to get to be in Germany during this time.

Although it wasn’t the fanciest place we’ve ever eaten, I was really glad we stopped there instead of eating at a touristy place in Bad Bertrich or Cochem, which is where we went after lunch. Also, the inside of the restaurant is very nice. I loved the bar area, as well as the booths. It doesn’t look like a particularly special place if you’re just checking it out from the outside, but it really was a good stop. Other than Christophorus and another Italian roadside restaurant, there isn’t a lot to Büchel. But it is on the way to Cochem, which is a nice city with a beautiful castle. That’s where we headed after lunch.

It was mid afternoon by the time we were finished with lunch. I told Bill about Cochem, which I thought would be a good lunch stop if Christophorus Pizzeria didn’t pan out. Since we had nothing else to do, we headed down that way, about 10 kilometers from Büchel. Just as you approach Cochem, there is a place to pull off the road and take pictures in a very scenic spot. You can get a great view of Cochem Castle, as it’s situated by the Mosel River. We missed it on the way into town on Sunday. That was a pity, since the weather was beautiful and sunny, and a lot of people were taking advantage of it. We drove through Cochem, noticing how many people were out and about… it was a bit of a madhouse. However, if you want to take a boat cruise on the Mosel, this is a place to do it. There are also plenty of places to stay and eat, as well as visit the gorgeous castle on the hill.

Because it was so crowded and busy, Bill and I decided not to stop. However, we did make a note of it and perhaps might visit after the high season. It’s not that far from where we live, and it looks like a very nice base for exploring the Mosel area. Here are a few photos from our drive through Cochem.

The next post will be my last in this series. Sunday night was our final night in Meerfeld, and we were due to drive home to Wiesbaden on Monday morning. Stay tuned!

A day in Bacharach…

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After last week’s trip to Eppstein to see the castle, I thought maybe we might want to go to another castle this week.  But Bill had other plans.  Elton John is going to be playing a concert tonight in Wiesbaden and since we saw him in Stuttgart and have no desire to sit in Staus from Hell again, we decided to avoid the city.  Remembering a lovely day we spent in the Rhein-side hamlet of Bacharach, back in 2014, Bill decided we should visit there again.  I was game.  Bacharach has the distinction of being the very first German town I ever laid eyes on, back in 1997.  It’s an adorable place, even if there’s not a lot to it.

On the edge of town.

We didn’t really do a lot in Bacharach other than wander around, take pictures, eat lunch, and have beer at a Biergarten.  We were blessed with wonderful weather– much better than what we had when we visited in 2014.  I don’t have much to write… but I do have lots of pictures.  Feast your eyes on this cute little historic town, located about an hour away from Wiesbaden.  It’s nice to be so close!

If castles are your thing, you could do worse than visiting Bacharach or any of the other cute little towns near it, like St. Goar.  There are many castles around the area.  I caught these photos on the ways in and out of town.

Lots of pretty vineyards, too.  Bacharach’s Schloss is now a youth hostel that sits majestically on a hillside overlooking the town.

You can see the hostel in the background.  I stayed in a lot of hostels during my 1997 epic train trip through Europe, but I didn’t stay at Bacharach’s.  I think I was intimidated by the climb up the hill.  Bacharach’s hostel is in the historic Burg Stahleck Castle, which dates back to the 12th century.

When I stayed in Bacharach, I stayed at the Hans Dettmar B&B.  I was excited because the room came with a shower and a WC.  My standards have changed a lot since 1997, but so has my budget.

Our first order of business was to find something to eat.  Bacharach was busy with tourists today, most of whom were sitting outside.  We didn’t necessarily want to eat outside, although on a warmer day, it’s nice to be in the open air.  I have to balance wanting to be cool and wanting to stay out of the sun.  We ended up having lunch at a garlicky smelling place called Pizzeria Pippo (or Pippo Bistro, depending on what sign you’re reading).  Based on the decorations on the walls, I would guess it’s owned by Sicilians.
Cheers!
They had lasagne on the menu that looked tempting, but they weren’t offering it today.  I had spaghetti with “Lachs”– salmon and onions.  It was okay, though I have had better.
Bill went with the daily special, housemade tagliatelle with tomatoes, herbs, and cream sauce.  He seemed to enjoy his dish more than I liked mine.  

While we were sitting there, an English speaking group of 7 showed up.  They were making special requests.  Kudos to the waitress for handling it so well.  I think if we go there again, I’ll try a pizza.  They have a stone oven and the sizes looked manageable.  As it was, I managed about half of my dish, while Bill finished his.  We spent 37 euros.
After lunch, we wandered around… toured a church, strolled by the river, and wished we had more time to take a cruise.  The breeze coming off of the Rhein was lovely.
Check out those pipes!
This is different.  I probably would have kept going to church if we’d had one of these where I used to attend.
Literature lovers will enjoy this…
Another shot of the hostel/castle.
Boat schedule.  We’ll have to make a point of coming up and spending more than a couple of hours.  
The town itself is super cute.  And if you want to buy some wine, you can easily accomplish that.
I would actually love to find a little vacation apartment and come up for a long weekend with the dogs.  Bacharach is not that far from Wiesbaden, but it feels like a world away…  this is the kind of place we love to visit on weekends.  The Black Forest area is chock full of them, but we’re still trying to make discoveries up here in Rheinland.
We stopped at a Biergarten– the Kleines Brauhaus at the Rhein Theater— where we had a memorable afternoon in 2014.  We happened to visit on German Father’s Day, and there were many fathers and sons at this Biergarten, getting loaded and singing songs…  It was such a special memory for us that we decided to go back.
They had a full house.  We had to wait for someone to vacate a table under the carousel canopy.  One young lady– looked about seventeen or so– was bravely handling all of the orders.  She was remarkably chilled out. 
I had a Bacchusweizen Krug.  When it arrived, the Germans at the next table looked at me with bemusement.  Maybe it’s not very ladylike to order a liter of beer.  Maybe it’s not smart, either, since it will get warm if you don’t drink it fast enough.  Believe me, I’m up to the task.  This beer was a little bitter.  I liked Bill’s 1489 Dunkelweizen better.
In the foyer of the theater.  I took this same photo in 2014, which you can see on the post I linked at the beginning of this post.  I see they’ve added a safety vest.  
Someone started up this calliope.  Pretty cool!
I do like the Rhein Terrasse.  We didn’t make any new friends here this time, like we did in 2014, but it was still a pleasant place to kill an hour or so, before we decided to go home and feed the dogs.

We’re supposed to have similarly beautiful weather tomorrow.  Maybe we’ll visit that castle I was thinking about.  Or maybe we’ll do something else entirely.  I’m just glad we aren’t sitting in traffic.
On the way out…

Bratwurst in Bebenhausen…

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I very nearly gave in to the urge to stay in and read a book this afternoon.  But then Bill said he wanted to go out and do something.  I had been wanting to visit Bebenhausen Monastery for awhile, so I suggested we go there.  It turned out to be a good day for a visit to this monastery, located in a peaceful valley on the outskirts of Tübingen.  The GPS sent us through Herrenberg and Holzgerlingen to get to the kloster, not our usual route to Tübingen.  As the gorgeous monastery appeared on the horizon, I gasped in awe.  It really is a beautiful place.

It turned out Bill missed the turn for the parking lot, so he drove up a hillside and managed to find a lone parking spot right next to the tower pictured below.

The “Schreibturm”…

 

We passed this little garden area on the way to lunch.

It was about 1:45pm when we arrived, so we felt it would be prudent to get lunch before exploring Bebenhausen.  I have a tendency to get “hangry” and a lot of restaurants take a “pause” after 2:00.

There are several traditional Swabian restaurants in the town.  We stopped at the first one we came to, Gasthof Sonne, which is billed as a “laid back gasthaus”.  The had the Biergarten open and plenty of people were out there enjoying the warmer weather and hazy sunshine.  We took a seat and prepared ourselves for a very typical German lunch.  There was a sign outside that read “warm food” all day on  Sundays and holidays.  But there was also a sign that read that they only serve coffee and cake after 2:30.  I’m not sure which one was accurate for today.

Bill looking impish, probably because I told him I’m about to come after his eyebrows with tweezers.

Beer makes everything better.

 

This restaurant serves very typical Swabian fare.  It’s very hearty and tastes good, but it will fill you up.  We both opted for sausages.

Bill had the “Linsenteller” (lentil plate) with beer sausages, spaetzle, and lots of lentils.  He probably won’t be hungry again for awhile.

I had bratwurst with potato salad and a mixed salad.  The salad had a really nice dressing on it.  It was kind of like mustard vinaigrette with a twist.  I was sad when a little gravy ended up on my new turquoise shirt.  I need to start carrying a bib with me.

 

More people came into the restaurant as we were finishing up.  At one point, a party of three asked if they could sit with us.  We actually had three chairs open, although one was at the end of the table and my purse was on it.  I had forgotten I put it there.  Then someone else motioned them over to share their table.  A few minutes later, a young couple came in looking for a table and asked if they could sit with us.  We welcomed them.  They heard us speaking English and apologized in fluent English for not realizing we’re Americans.  Actually, I took that as a compliment.

They wondered if we’d understood their request.  We said we did.  Then they asked where we’re from and we told them.  We also told them we live here.  I was impressed by their language skills and embarrassed by my lack of language skills.  But we probably do okay for Americans…  Bill called for the check, which came to about 31 euros.  Service was friendly and professional and the food was good.  Yeah… after a total of five years living here, I have the German comprehension skills of a toddler.  But I’m slowly getting there.

The outside of Gasthof Sonne.  I’d go back, even if it does get lukewarm reviews on Google.  I noticed at least two other restaurants in this little town, one of which was connected to a small hotel.

 

We walked back to the monastery and quickly found the entrance, which is situated in a small gift shop that has everything from whisky to cold water for sale.  Admission costs five euros per adult.  There is also a family ticket available.  You walk into the kloster and there’s a “rundweg” that takes you through the monastery.  It’s very beautiful and peaceful inside.  There are signs explaining what you’re looking at, but almost everything is in German.

Littered with coins!

Graves of abbots.

Dormitory room… or “cell”.

Washroom in the dormitory.

Straw mattress?

This was what I was waiting for.  I love walking into European churches.

We finished walking around the monastery, then visited the WC, which is clean and free of charge to use.  Then we walked around the grounds.  It was a beautiful day to tour the area, which is coming alive with spring.

Lots of fish swim in this fountain.

A good view of the parking lot Bill missed.  There’s a larger one further down the road, obviously for buses and overflow.  There’s a brief but pleasant walk from the larger lot.  Parking is free of charge.

To my shame, this reminded me a lot of Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, Virginia.  I spent four summers working there.  Of course, Germany for real is way better than fake Germany in Williamsburg.

For another two euros, you can tour the palace kitchen.  I recommend taking the trip, especially since there is information in French, English, and Russian.  It was the only part of the monastery that had information in languages other than German.

Some old style “modern” appliances.

If we’d wanted to, we could have spent more time strolling around the beautiful grounds.

One last shot before we decided to head home.

We took a different route home, driving through Tübingen instead of Holzgerlingen and Hildrizhausen.  Basically, my Mini got a nice tour today.  I put the top down and probably annoyed people with my music.  It was nice to get out.  I’m glad I resisted the urge to stay in and read.

I would highly recommend a visit to Bebenhausen, especially when the weather is so agreeable.  It’s a very beautiful place, even if parking is a bit obnoxious.  And what better thing to do on a Sunday than go to a place where God is the cornerstone of life?

We finally made it to lovely Schloss Lichtenstein…

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Bill and I have now lived in the Stuttgart area for a total of four years.  We were here from 07-09 and we have been here this second time since August 2014.  We have seen a lot of cool places in the local area, especially since we moved back here the second time.  The first time we lived here, we spent way too many weekends cooped up at home.  That was a huge mistake and we have been doing our best to rectify our error during our second Germany experience together (Bill had a third experience back in the 80s, but it was when I was still jailbait…)

Today, we finally made the trip to Schloss Lichtenstein.  I am ashamed to admit that the first time we lived here, I had no idea this beautiful little castle near the town of Sonnenbühl even existed.  It wasn’t until we moved back and my new Facebook friends from the local community started posting pictures that I realized what I had missed.  I have now seen several castles here in Germany and I think Schloss Lichtenstein may be among my favorites.  I think I like it even more than the much hyped Neuschwanstein, which I did manage to see during my first time living here.

Bill and I set out for Schloss Lichtenstein at around noon.  We expected our journey from Unterjettingen to take about an hour via B28.  What we didn’t know was that traffic was going to be absolutely horrendous driving through Tübingen and Reutlingen.  Turns out there’s a lot of construction going on in those towns, plus it was a beautiful day.  Lots of people were out and about, so traffic was backed up.

Having studied the route before we left, I was surprised Bill didn’t opt for B27, which would have taken us south of the construction.  We did come back that way and it was much easier going!

The drive to the castle is absolutely gorgeous and it was so nice to have the top down on the convertible, speeding along country roads.  As we approached the parking lot and saw all the cars there, I could see there were lots of people who decided today was a good day to see the castle…  or perhaps they had come for the Abenteuer Park

 

Here are a couple of shots I got of the ropes course.  Lots of people were there today, enjoying the zip lines and climbing challenges.  Much to my great surprise, Bill said it looked like fun and he wants to come back and try it!  I might have to sit at the biergarten when he does…  

 

We momentarily thought it would be a good idea to eat before we visited the castle, but did not realize that the onsite restaurant Altes Forsthaus (Old Forester’s Lodge) had been booked for a wedding reception.  It was closed.  So we went on to the castle.  Here are some photos I took. 

You can either pay a couple of euros to walk around the grounds or opt for the tour.  The tours run for about 30 minutes and cost 7 euros for adults and 3,50 euros for children.  Our tour was done in German, although you can purchase a card that explains everything in a different language.  I understand English tours are also available on request.  We muddled through with German; consequently, I didn’t understand everything that was said.  Guess I’ll read up on it.

Stunning views!

I was kind of sad that we didn’t get to go to the top of the tower.  The tour was very short and really only consisted of the first two floors.  The inside of the castle is beautiful, though, and well worth seeing.

I think it was worth the price of admission just to get the pictures!  Wow, this is one pretty little Schloss!

I think this is my favorite photo of the day!

This is the chapel, which I understand can be rented for weddings or baptisms.  There is also a tiny chapel in the castle itself.  The ceiling looked like it came straight from Florence.

After we toured the castle, we decided to go have lunch at the Castle’s Tavern.  This is basically a snack bar that offers a few items of substance.  I noticed they had a few specials today to include a vegetarian dish and Maultaschen.  They also had turkey schnitzel and the usual wursts with pommes. Bill got us two schnitzels while I waited.  He ordered in German and the lady behind the counter answered in perfect English as she handed him a “beeper” to let him know when our order was up.

I took a photo of our spot in the biergarten… little did I know, this was the calm before the “storm”.

Ahh… refreshing export beer…

Our schnitzels…  they came with substantial salads.  We probably should have just shared one.  We almost forgot the salads and the lady from the counter brought them out to us with a gentle reproach.  I didn’t get a picture of the salads, but they were substantial and surprisingly tasty.  I especially liked the pepper relish that came with it.    

 

Just as we were sitting down to eat, a German family came over and joined us.  It was a young mom, dad, and two little boys close in age…  I’d say one was probably two and the other was perhaps four.  They were a boisterous lot.  I think Oma was also in tow, along with another woman who might have been a friend or an aunt.  They filled up our once roomy picnic table.

I didn’t mind them too much, although the older boy startled everyone when he spilled his drink all over the table.  His dad started yelling at him in German.  I am surprised to say that I understood much of what he said and it sounded a lot like what many parents yell at their kids in English!

As we were finishing up our late lunch, we heard lots of honking and saw cars driving up the road to the castle.  The wedding party had arrived!

There is a playground next to the biergarten for your little ones to go burn off some steam.

And a rather dark photo of the Castle’s Tavern.  It does have an indoor dining area, too.  I don’t think anyone was sitting in there today.

A map of the area.  There is a lot to do near this castle.  I want to go back and visit the Easter museum and the caves…  

 

We didn’t bring Zane and Arran with us, though we did notice a couple of folks with their pooches walking around the grounds.  If we do go back, though, it’ll probably be so Bill can try the ropes course.  And I will most likely be talked into trying it with him… which would mean Zane and Arran would need to stay home again.

All in all, we had a great day!  I would definitely recommend visiting the Lichtenstein Castle with your kids and any visitors coming your way.  It makes for an excellent day trip from the Stuttgart area.