to the - according to Google - 82.102th webpage about the castles at the Rhine.
Do we really need this one then? Probably not. But I did quite a few trips to the castles at the Rhine. Some were great, some alright and others still were of little experience ( but Iīm a statistician and therefore canīt afford to miss ANY experience...).
So, you wonīt find anything but my experiences here.
Iīd be pleased if someone, who doesnīt want to spend a fine summer Sunday watching some freaks driving in circles on TV gets inspired by this page.
Two things Iīd like to recommend to you:
1. Pretend to be a tourist (which you are probably anyway, as you decid- ed to read this page in English....)
Yeah, I know, being a tourist is uncool, and every German who ever went to Majorca is right in complaining about all the annoying tourists who spoil his holiday. Why couldn't they have stayed at home?
But pretending to be a tourist right in front of your door is a lot of fun. And even if you grew up in the area, youīd be sometimes amazed about this different world at the Rhine. (Apart from that itīs quite astonishing how friendly people are. Whether they were boatman, guide, cashier or recep- tion clerk at a 5 star-hotel, they nearly always turned out to be nice.)
HOW TO DO THAT:
While youīre on your way, tell EVERYONE you exchange but one word with, that youīre here to visit the castle and where you come from.
Take the car ferry across the Rhine. Even if you visit a castle on YOUR side of the river. Take it twice, then. Get out of your car and climb the steep stair to the upper deck. ( The "keep off" sign is probably there only for in- surance reasons).
Take a picture of EVERYTHING. Ask the personal to take a photo of you with every knight's armour. To be on the safe side, let them do it twice.
Collect every piece of information you can get. Even the pricelist for the conference rooms.
Buy souvenirs. I know they are manufactured in China 10p each. And I know as well, you really don't need sword-letter-opener, cannon-letter- weights and knight-key-fobs. But anyway.
And besides, it's probably an expensive business, running a castle; some- one will be grateful.
Stop for coffee and cake at every castle.
Write postcards to all the loved ones at home. On your way back, start worrying whether someone thought of emptying your letter-box.
OK, here's the deal:
You DONīT need to wear shorts, sandals and white socks. You DON`T need to cry out delightfully at every picturesque view: "Oh how lovely! It looks just like Disneyland!"(No kidding. I really heard that one.). And you DONīT have to drink a Riesling from the region.
2. Use your imagination. Quite often only a small part of the castle is ac- cessible to visitors. Imagine the size of the castle in former times, other- wise you could be disappointed about its actual dimension.
Not EVERY castle necessarily conveys an authentic feeling of the middle ages.
Most of the Rhine castles as they appear today date from the 19th century. Being impregnable fortresses against any enemy at the time of their foun- dation, they were doomed by the invention of "modern" weapons like can- nons and firearms. Being thus "out of time", they were abandoned or met their final destruction in one of the wars.
In the 19th century the Rhine with all its picturesque ruins suddenly ap- pealed to the "romantic zeitgeist" of that period. Writers like Mary Shelley ("Frankenstein" ) and Goethe were inspired by the bizarre scenery.
All of a sudden it became "trendy" to own one of the ruins and have them reconstructed according to "modern" ideas; yet reconstruction wasnīt exactly conducted by historical accuracy but rather by the neo-gothic pre- vailing taste.
So it didnīt take long until numerous Prussian princes, American industrial magnates and local aristocracy owned one of the former ruins to rebuild them according to their personal taste ( and financial abilities...).
Initially you may find this somehow disillusioning as you probably imagine a much older history than just 150 years if you think of a castle.
But firstly, there are enough remains at every castle to give an impression of its appearance in the middle ages, secondly, even in their "modern" form they are impressive still, and thirdly, as mentioned above, imagina- tion can work wonders. (And by the way: would you really NOT want to see the - soon to be cloned - dinosaurs just because they had already been dead 60 million years ago?)