Tag Archives: Germany

Mimi’s Back: June Round-Up and Home for the Fourth of July

Avignon Papal Palace
The Papal Palace in Avignon, France

Mimi has returned from Europe concluding her roundabout travels of local, national and international destinations. She explored Georgia, Tennessee, France and Germany by boat, train, airplane, auto, taxi, van, bus, bicycle, ATV, helicopter, zipline, raft and on foot.

Sainte Chapelle
Sainte Chapelle in Paris

She hiked a trail in the Smoky Mountains, descended into Forbidden Caverns and strolled the Champs Elysées. She was drenched by the swirling StormChaser and snoozed on a bed at 35,000 feet. She discovered the wonders of the medieval Papal Palace in Avignon and Sainte Chapelle in Paris built by French King Louis IX to display Christ's crown of thorns.

She savored apple fritters in a restaurant encircled by orchards, French croissants still warm from the oven and barbequed ribs that were finger licking good. She lingered at sidewalk cafés tasting escargot and pâté and sipped robust Chateauneuf du Pape wine. She drank beer in Munich's famous Hofbrahaus where she met a complete stranger from her hometown.

Lavender Field
Farmhouse in the Lavender Fields of Provence, France

Debi in the lavenderShe photographed lavender fields by day and cathedrals at night; farmer's markets; mountain streams and her two month old grandson's feet.

It was a month on the move and Mimi is tired. She's glad to be home to watch fireworks and celebrate the Fourth of July. In upcoming blog posts she will share her recommendations on hotels, restaurants, activities, places of interest and compelling reasons to visit.

Family Feet--Jonah, Mommy and Daddy

Photo of Mimi (AKA Debi) in the field of lavender by Susan Bowen.

Germany ~ Hirschhorn Knights

Towers on the Castle Grounds
On the terrace
Hirschhorn Castle Tower

A Review of Castle Hotel ~Schloss Hirschhorn in Germany

By Debi Lander

Legend asserts that Friedrich, last Knight of Hirschhorn, died from a curse.

Whether folktale or truth; his order erected a mountaintop stronghold in 1203, adding living quarters, moat, church and town wall over centuries. As guardians, they protected the surrounding countryside through devastating wars. After the plague in 1635, few remained. But their stone structures still stand.

Now as a four-star hotel, the knights’ castle of Hirschhorn, Germany beckons from its forested peak. Below, a village of crimson-roofed buildings lies packed against the quay of the swift Neckar River. The churning waterway swerves through the glen in storybook fashion, disappearing into the distant horizon.

Neckar River from Schloss Hirschhorn
Neckar River

Enter the main fortress, where upstairs, eight guestrooms blossom with red and blue chintz curtains and matching bedspreads. One suite offers an elevated seating area with bow windows overlooking nature’s panorama. Modern bathrooms are surprisingly roomy and an elevator, just big enough for one person and their bags, makes luggage handling easier. Unfortunately, no gallant knights or bellman here.

Room in Schloss Hirschhorn
Room in Schloss Hirschhorn

Hotel guests sit at (what else) round tables on the sun-drenched terrace, listening to the splashing sounds rising from the river. They sip Rhine wine, nibble German pastries and watch the laden barges pass through busy locks.

Meander a musty English garden pathway to 17 additional bedchambers in the Marstall, a renovated old stable. Further down the embankment, dotted by crumbling curtain walls, visitors can explore a 1406 Gothic church. In the cemetery discover some headstones belonging to knights of yore. Only drawback is the steep trek back to the main complex.

Schloss Hirschhorn’s restaurant serves unexpected and memorable delights fit for royalty; delicate flaky fish with gorgeous fresh vegetables. Game is the dining room specialty, when in season. And don’t miss the local Riesling wine, a tasty bargain.

Fact is old Freidrich killed his cousin (Hans of Handschushsheim) in a duel, which provoked his aunt to cast the spell. They say when Friedrich died in 1632, so did the 400-year reign of the Hirschhorn Knights.

But their chivalrous presence lingers in this old castle, on the hill. Spend a knight and don’t worry about curses; Freidrich’s Aunt is long past.

If you go:

Schloss Hirschhorn sits above the town of Hirschhorn, in southwest Germany, just 12 miles from Heidelberg. Guests driving a compact car may brave the winding narrow road. Larger vehicles should take the longer, circuitous route through the park.

Request a room in the main building for a night you won’t forget.

Hotel rates are kind-hearted on a traveler’s bill-of-fare. Double rooms around $150 and singles less than $100.

For further information: www.schlosshotel-hirschhorn.de

A shorter version of this article appeared in Travel Post Monthly, October 2007.

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