12 April 2007

Castles on the Rhein

On Easter Sunday we left Strasbourg early in the morning to drive up the Rhein River to the tiny town of Braubach, Germany.

Braubach is the location of the only castle on the Rhein River that has never been destroyed: Marksburg.

The lowest ramparts of the castle were built in the 12th century. And it quickly became yet another "tax collection point" along the Rhein River. In order to safely pass along the Rhein you would need to stop at the various castles that line it and pay whatever that castle's owner thought appropriate. Failure to do so would result in your ship being blasted by cannon fire.

As the Rhein River is one of the easiest ways to traverse through Europe, the castle owners quickly became very profitable!

The castle was expanded throughout the Medieval Age and into the early Renaissance. And while it has been continuously occupied throughout this time, and a family continues to live in the modernized part of the castle, most of the castle is virtually unchanged since the 14th century.

I found the castle kitchen to be most interesting. And I thought my European stove was hard to figure out!

We very much enjoyed our guide, a brisk and business-like man who never introduced himself. It was obvious that he had memorized enough English to lead an "English tour," but not much more. In each area he would quickly say his script, then with an abrupt "now we go hier..." he would march ahead of us to the next area of the tour.

It is an interesting and beautiful castle. If you happen to be driving or boating up the Rhein, stop in for a visit!

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