Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Burg Hohenzollern

We had a wonderful trip this weekend to a castle less than an hour from us. (How convenient, eh?) Of course, before starting off, we nod to a Minnery tradition: doughnuts for breakfast. Despite Ellie's expression, the kids were thrilled. (So were their parents.)

Here we are driving down the autobahn. See the castle? The view as you drive up to it is amazing.

Thank goodness they have a shuttle because did you see that hill in the previous picture? 30 min steep walk--not optimal for two kids under the age of 4. Also, one is sporting her Snow White dress and Burger King crown (because, after all, we are visiting a castle!) so walking would definitely cramp her princess style. Where the shuttle drops us off is the main entrance, and where we purchased our tickets. We met some really nice Americans from upstate NY so that was fun.

One of the NYers offered to take our family picture and this was the result. Hmmm. We're guessing he didn't attend Cornell. (Just kidding)

Ok, about the castle itself--it's home to the Prussian royal family. Neither Prussian prince lives here now, but it's their ancestral home. The foundations go back to the 11th century but it was totally demolished (except for some of the chapel) by the beginning of the 19th century. In 1842, King Wilhelm IV commissioned artists to rebuild the castle. It was finished in 1867 when Wilhelm was Wilhelm I (king of all Germany, not just Prussia). He never lived in the castle, but wanted it rebuilt anyway (he lived to be 90!). The crown of the Prussian family is on display (one way we kept Kate interested in the inside tour was to search for the crown...it worked for a while) as well as some amazing artwork and craftsmanship. We were not allowed to take pictures of the inside, but it was just as impressive as the outside. In fact, if you come and visit us, this is a definite easy and fun trip--keep it in mind--we don't mind returning. And of course, I asked the question that was most on everyone's mind--was Prince Georg Friedrich invited to the British Royal wedding? They guide said yes. (WHEW)

Here is the courtyard, where we spent most of our time while waiting for tour in English. The chapel is off to the left. Our tour commenced at the top of the stairs that you can just see beginning on the right.

Here's a closer view of the canon. But of course, to our princess, the canon is her carriage. See them riding the carriage together.

The casements (catacombs, basement of the castle) was open to explore. The openings and doors were really small and narrow. Today, this area houses the royal plate and china. And here's the princess, waiting to be rescued by her hero, Daddy.

A view of the outer ramparts.

After our tour, there were lots more people, and better yet, the ice cream stand opened! Three of us picked schokolade and one erdbeer (can you guess the flavors? It's your German lesson for today.) Ellie had never tried ice cream out of a cone and I could not get her out of mine. Literally, she was diving across me to lick the cone. So funny.

Even though the castle we saw was never used for defense of the kingdom, it looked combat-ready with guard towers, a winding, narrow, underground entrance up to the inner courtyard, and several portcullis. All in all, a definite thumbs up from all of us, especially the princess. And her sister was a good sport, barely making it through the guided tour through timed offerings of fruit snacks. Whewwww. Of course, we had the only kids on the tour. But they did as well as could be expected. Maybe next time we go, Jon may even get to hear some of the tour. :)

And here's a movie for your enjoyment. Wait for the screaming pink banshee to run across the courtyard at the end...I wonder who that kid belongs to? Sheesh, those parents should pay more attention.


Betsy said...

A real castle...oh my, what fun! Tha princess in her element...love the "carriage". Ice cream!! Where was Pops? Looks to be a terrif day. Loved those tractor pics. We imasgine all slept well at the end of this fun weekend. The adventure continues. Thanks for sharing w/ us. Love, G+P

Nana said...

Oh, that video cracked me up. You set us up to wonder who had the out of control child and it turned out to be you. How funny! I just laughed and laughed! She is really moving. What fun to be at a real castle! Thanks for so much detail in the description and it's wonderful that you are taking advantage of seeing the sights. Did Kate really have fun being in a castle? I'll bet she did.

b.niel said...

Wow, so cute! I love Ellie's faces. Kate is adorable in her princess garb, and the castle looks fantastic! Perhaps a return visit is in your future. :)
Love you guys!

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful castle you saw! It looks quite complete as compared to some of the ancient castles Uncle Al and I have seen! How fortunate you are to be able to be at a castle with a real princess! This is so fun going through Germany through your eyes. Love the family picture - watch those negative comments about the photographer, as this would be one of my good ones!!Love and Kisses, The Calif. Gang

Shari Baker said...

Mmmmm, doughnuts, what a good way to start your day. So, as for the ice cream, nobody has guessed yet. I think the first one is chocolate for sure, but the second one, I'll have to guess...vanilla? Let me know please! :)