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Geoff and Suzanne Visit Our Castles

Pommersfelden, Nurnberg, and Home

April 15 and 16, 2005

(finished May 26)


Dear Families and Friends,


This is the last of our four Castle Route diaries.


John and Marianne


Our final castle had to be "our" castle in Pommersfelden, the Schloss Weissenstein. We'd never been here as regular tourists, just as homeowners-to-be. With Geoff and Suzanne we finally made it inside the Schloss on the hourly tour. Unfortunately, pictures were not allowed, but we can say it was worth the price of admission.

The Schloss was built from 1711 through 1717 by Lothar Franz von Schoenborn, the Archbishop and Elector of Mainz and Bishop of Bamberg. In order to afford the building, Lothar managed to sell his vote to Austria's Hapsburgs, giving them control over this part of Germany. Reportedly, the hundreds of rooms were built largely to house the Archbishop's art collection, rooms and art having been paid for by his vote.

Our tour only covered a dozen rooms or so but they were indeed filled with art. Marianne's favorite was a painting by Artemesia Gentileschi, her Florentine heroin, whose work she had seen in Italy a couple summers ago. To me it was amazing that this was still a private collection and our tour guide admitted that it is still not catalogued nor properly studied. Maybe we'll find a way to spend more time inside when we are neighbors!

Websites: All in German! I think this gives us an indication of how useful our English will be in our new home town.:
Town Site http://www.pommersfelden.de/
Site for the Count and Castle: http://www.schoenborn.de/
Schloss Hotel (good pictures) :http://www.schlosshotel-pommersfelden.de/

A tour of nearby Nurnberg (or Nuremberg) normally starts with the walled Old Town (Altstadt) but we'd seen plenty of old stone walls by now so we opted for a different piece of history.

South of downtown is the parade grounds shown in the old newsreels from the height of Nazi Party power in Germany. There is now a museum in the unfinished Congress Hall, originally intended to house Party meetings, and it is a sobering but worthwhile visit. We've been here a couple times now and it remains a useful reminder of the perils of justifying means by glorious ends, without critically evaluating those means and, in the end, achieving only inglorious ends.


Of course we did have to see old Nurnberg as well. We did our normal visits to squares and churches, all very pleasant. I've been in Nurnberg many times, since I often work nearby, but still, I suppose it is one of my favorite German cities. It's big enough to have interesting corners and small enough to be manageable.

Nurnberg Museums: http://www.museen.nuernberg.de/english/index_e.html

On this trip, we discovered a corner I'd missed before: the Toy Museum. Nurnberg was a center of German toy making and the museum covers it all. There were elaborate model kitchens, undoubtedly toys of only the very wealthy, and simpler playthings as well.

Interestingly, it was after World War II that toy making became most important to Nurnberg as the residents struggled to establish a peaceful life. Toys could be made within the simplest of factories and in this way the town drew on its past to build a new future.


Since we were the only children in the museum that day, we could play with all the hands-on exhibits normally monopolized by a younger set. For a while, we were all younger.
The Nurnberg Toy Museum has a great model railroad with most of the elaborate equipment coming from famous local toy train makers.

On our last tour day, Marianne and I had to go to Bamberg to meet with Axel, the architect guiding us on our new, old, home. Here we are toasting with a local beer ("Spezial") made with a smoky flavor that's famous in the area.

Meanwhile, Geoff and Suzanne wandered around the old city by themselves. You can ask them about their impressions but, for Marianne and me, Bamberg is yet another of our "favorite German cities" and one that's well get to know much better I'm sure. But, that's another story.

Bamberg Tourism Website:

Back home in Frankfurt, we managed to squeeze in a couple more tourist stops. Since we are now into German buildings, we stopped at the German Architecture Museum. As museums go, it was OK. Not wonderful, but OK.


Every weekend the Apple Wine Train passes by our apartment building and Marianne says: "We should try that sometime". But there's always things to do to prevent it, or the train is too full, or...

Finally, with Geoff and Suzanne, we made it. We rode the entire hour-long loop - through some of the plainest parts of Frankfurt. If any of our future visitors express an interest, we now know enough to say "Fine. We'll meet back here in an hour".

First Castle Stop

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