I've always wanted to see the beautiful castle of Burg Eltz in Germany. When I was in Dublin on a Haunted Walking Tour, I made a friend named Kim. After leaving Hanover, Germany, I took a train to Cologne and met Kim in Bonn. I saw that Burg Eltz wasn't too far away from Bonn and set my sights on visiting the castle.
Finding transportation to Burg Eltz proved a bit more difficult. They have shuttles from the train station, but they only run on weekends and public holidays. Just my luck it wasn't a weekend, or public holiday. There is a shuttle from the car park to the castle, but it would have been longer to walk to the car park then the actual castle. So determined as I was, I planned for the hour and a half hike to see my castle.
I did run into a mishap along the way. I pulled my computer out on the train to find it completely covered in brown goo. My first thought of what this brown substance was horrifying, then I realized it was chocolate. I hadn't shut my computer off all the way and the heat had melted some random floating chocolate pieces in my backpack. Yes....I had random pieces of unwrapped chocolate in my bag.
After frantically cleaning it off, my computer was fine, but I'm still skeptical that some day it will just crash from all the things I've put this laptop through. I think this mishap might have been a bit of karma. Kim and I went to Imhoff-Schokoladenmuseum (a chocolate museum in Cologne). We chose not to pay for the museum and just visit the gift shop. I think Abraham Lincoln once said, "Karma is a B*tch."
After the chocolate fiasco, I picked myself up by my bootstraps and headed off towards the castle. I weaved in and out of the sleepy village streets, passed neighborhoods and old, abandoned industrial buildings. Then into a forest with a path. Just when I thought I was lost, I'd see a handmade sign pointing to Burg Eltz to show that I was on the right track.
I was jamming out with my headphones and singing along to The Proclaimers, "I'm Gonna Be (500 miles)," when I realized that there was an entire construction crew staring at me. I'm guessing it wasn't because of my excellent singing voice.
Through the trees I could see the tops of Burg Eltz appearing. Standing at the base of the hill I was able to take in it's magnificence. The transportation conflicts, chocolate mishap, and hike were well worth the beautiful view.
This great medieval castle has stayed in the same family since the 12th century. My first thought is because it's so freaking out of the way to get to. It's actually the strategic connections the Eltz family had with surrounding powerful families.
What's interesting is that the castle was originally built by multiple families (include the Eltz family). Building a castle is expensive! This style of living is called Ganerbenburg, where their are a number of lords and their families residing in the same castle.
After a tour of the castle, I sat down on a rock to enjoy the view. I watched people coming and going by the shuttle, taking a few photos and moving on. Since I had worked so hard to get to this castle, I was perfectly happy to just hang out and enjoy the impressive scenery.