Being amongst old friends has its perks; we woke up around 0730 this morning and didn’t have a care in the world. I rolled out of Bob & Rachel’s super comfortable downstairs guest bed thinking that all I wanted was a cup of coffee, I was wrong. What I really wanted was to make a hot cup of coffee and place a stroopwafel on top of it. I didn’t even know such a thing existed. A stoopwafel is a kind of caramel glazed breakfast biscuit. The heat from the coffee softens and melts the sugary stroopwafel into quite a heavenly treat. Those with an adventurous spirit might even dare to dip it into their coffee!
After fattening up on some homemade biscuits and gravy breakfast (I’ve probably gained a good amount of lbs on this trip already), we hit the road for Burg Eltz castle. The drive was about an hour and a half, with the first hour on the autobahn and the last half hour comprised of mostly farm roads that were completely void of people. Little did Brianna and I know, today is Unification day, a German holiday to celebrate German reunification in 1990. The holiday wouldn’t normally mean much if anything to us, but today it meant that Burg Eltz castle would be abnormally crowded for what would have otherwise been a quiet Wednesday.
The castle itself is unlike most others I have seen in that it is completely hidden within a secluded valley. The nature of it’s hidden location isn’t one of the main reasons that this castles is still completely in tact and so many other similar castles are nothing more than ruins and speculation. The Eltz family were politically connected social science geniuses.
What was the first thing we did upon arriving to the castle? Eat food of course! Brianna and I had our own German pretzels and split a schnitzel between the both of us. The pretzel looked divine, but only after biting into it did we realize that there was a hidden buttery surprise inside. It’s not a huge secret that I’ve largely cut meats and dairy out of my normal everyday diet. I do believe that indulging in culturally different foods is important, probably just as important as visiting castles and cathedrals. Food has the ability to bridge gaps in both time and space, it can bring people together or split them apart. Understanding what people eat and why is essential to putting together the pieces of who they are and how they got there. Food pictures are some of the most fun things to share via Instagram because pretty much everyone can relate to them in one way or another.
Holiday traffic was high, and as a result, there were no English speaking tours being offered today. We were given an English translated pamphlet to read while the German tour guides spoke their Germanic scripts. It worked well for me because of my tendency to space out during guided tours. Instead of wondering what I missed, I just reread the pamphlet and refreshed myself on what was going on in that particular castle room.
The Burg Eltz castle is really well maintained, definitely worth the trip into the country. Some European castles are for show and others for function, Eltz definitely leans more towards function in that the family used it’s trade-route location to secure multi-century long political and strategic relevance.
We returned home from the castle for a little bit of modern fun. The kids had some prescheduled sports activities that were pretty special for us to be able to sit in on and support.
Tomorrow, we head to some pretty serious Stuttgart festival fun. Wish us… luck? 🙂