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Geoff and Suzanne Visit Our Castles

Hirschhorn to Hornberg

April 13, 2005

(finished May 26)


Dear Families and Friends,


This is the second of our four Castle Route diaries and covers our first castle hotel.


John and Marianne



We had picked the "Schloss Hotel auf der Burg Hirschhorn" from the internet, not knowing much other than a couple pictures. It was wonderful, from this gate house up through the schloss*. Once again, this confirmed our faith in travel in Germany - good, family-run hotels and guest-houses are everywhere and they hardly ever disappoint.

website: http://www.castle-hotel.de

* I have not found a good English translation for "schloss". In French, it is "Chateau", which we also use in English but, somehow, it doesn't capture the right feel. Some schloss/chateau were fortified but many were not, they were just big stone houses of the rich. Perhaps "country palace" is the closest simple description, but I'll use the shorter, German word.


Here we are on the terrace, overlooking the Neckar Valley. We even had a bit of sun so this was a very special event!
Schloss Hirschhorn has a tower, so Geoff and I paid our 50 cent entry fees and climbed to the top. It's cheaper than a health club. We could see all of Hirschhorn from up there.
In the evening, we walked down into town to get some local food: pizza. I think we were the only tourists in town. The walk back up was another low-cost exercise session. Marianne and I lagged behind because I had to take pictures. THAT's the only reason.
This was the view from our rooms at night. We looked down on a dam and locks and could see the barges passing up and down the Neckar.

The next morning, we headed out to Burg Hornberg, another castle we had almost to ourselves. The castle was started before the 13th Century by the Counts von Lauffen. For the next four hundred years, a succession of bishops, knights, sovereigns, and royalty owned the place. This was a heavily fortified guard post, perched high on a hill overlooking and guarding the Neckar River. Nowadays, the fortress is mostly ruins, but it was easy to picture the life there.

Nearby Hotel: http://www.castle-hotel-hornberg.com/neckar/leisure/

Index to a zillion castles in the area (in German but has maps): http://www.historisches-wuerttemberg.de/frame/frame.htm

I think Marianne was already decorating this room.

Meanwhile, Geoff and Suzanne had found the castle sofa and picture window.

In Germany, the men's and ladies rooms are called "WCs", short for the English "water closet". At Burg Hornberg, the WCs had no W.
The view from on top of the tower showed the castle ruins and the rebuilt buildings below. The view from on top of one of the gates just showed the path, but it was fun imagining the centuries of foot traffic on this path.

Down the road, in Bad Wimpfen, we passed on the chance to climb another tower, and looked for lunch instead. The restaurant specialized in chicken and, despite the chilly weather, we opted for outside seating. The table was almost in the middle of the street, but I think we only saw three cars during our leisurely meal.

city website: http://www.bad-wimpfen.de

Walking back to our car, we ran across this grotto. Although we were not yet in Bavaria, home of Pope Benedict XVI, we had surely entered a Catholic region of Germany.


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