Sunday, March 9, 2014

German Distraction

I recently realized with all my gallivanting around Europe, that I haven't seen very much of Germany in quite awhile. So last the other weekend I went with two friends, James and Nina, to visit two sites in Germany. One was Ulm M√ľnster, in Ulm, Germany. Now this isn't technically a cathedral I guess, since it was never the seat of a Bishop. I didn't know that, and apparently it's a pretty big distinction. That aside, however, it is the tallest church in the world (damn), and the 4th tallest structure built before the 20th century. I'd say that's something worth having on your resume. 

Since this was a Saturday, the local farmers market was going on in the church's square. We wandered around it for a little bit while we took pictures of building. Then we went inside and were not disappointed by the interior. Like most European churches, a lot of work had obviously gone into the design and it was beautiful.

After admiring the stain glass windows and architecture we decided to try our luck climbing the steeple. Unfortunately, due to ice and the cold weather, we weren't able to go all the way to the top of the steeple. 

 However, after climbing to the 3rd gallery it became obvious to me that the 5 flights of stairs I take on a daily basis do NOT prepare you for stairs of this magnitude. Not only where there an incredible number of stairs to just the first level in the building, when I got to the level my legs gave me that feeling of “I”m done, you can go the rest of the way on your own.” The doors were open and it looked like we could go a bit further up the stairs, but Nina and I decided we didn't need too and waited for James to check out some more things before we made our way down to reality. It was quite a beautiful view. Maybe I'll have to try again after I get some more hiking and stairs under my belt. The view from 160 meters with no other tall structures around has to be fantastic. After the church, we stopped at a side curry stand for a quick lunch before making our run towards the next site, which was around an hour away.

The second site we visited was Lichtenstein Castle, the one in Germany. Wouldn't think that would be in Germany, would you? This, while not the largest castle I've seen, was one of the coolest. I had found it by googling castles in Germany and found a link to 7 most Beautiful Castles in Germany. The trait about this one that you notice right away is that this castle is perched ON the cliff. No room walk the walls, just a straight drop and with sudden stop. The view is awesome, and the picture possibilities are pretty good too.

To see the inside, we paid to go on the German tour. While I didn't understand most of what was said we were able to get a sheet with the English translation and that helped to show me how much my listening ability to German had improved, which was more than I thought. I learned the castle was named for the light stone it was built on (lich == light). And the original castle's location was actually 500 meters away, while this was was a pretender that was only built in the 1300s. One of the neat side notes was a room where there was a hole and cracks in a mirror and wall. This was apparently caused when the allies shelled the castle. Talk about leaving your impression in history... This was definitely a small castle but quite beautiful, and definitely had a claim to the neat factor.
Before we called it a day and headed home, we stopped for Coffee/Tea and Cake/Soup at the local restaurant to the castle called Altes Forsthaus. A small snack before the 3 hour drive home, really. It was quite good. The tea and coffee hit the spot with the cold weather. The soup finished off the cold with no mercy. While a delicious “Beef Noodle” soup, the only disappointing thing was that there was no beef in the soup. Just broth and noodles. Still I don't regret it at all. The cake that Nina had was a cheesecake with fruit in it, and she claimed it was very delicious. After tiding over hunger, we started our trip home. All happy and content after the sites of the day.

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