Right after visiting the Maria Laach Abbey (last post), the weekend after America's Thanksgiving, we drove the 32 km back to Koblenz to visit the Stolfenfels Castle on the left bank of the Rhine.
From our Wyndham Hotel on the other side of the river, we could see it almost directly
across from us over the valley. Once at the castle, we looked back to see our hotel.
And since we were looking back, we also saw other castles and churches.
That's the thing about Germany: more castles than you can shake a stick at.
But this day, it was the Stolzenfels Castle ("Proud Cliff") we chose to see.
It was built in 1259 but was destroyed in 1689 by the French during the Nine Years' War.
Koblenz gave the ruin to the Prussian Crownprince in 1823, who rebuilt it as a palace.
Today it's a UNESCO World Heritage site.
From the base of the hill, near the Rhine river, we started our climb to the castle/palace.
We could have stopped at the arched roadway and gone no further for how beautiful it was.
But on we climbed and climbed and climbed till we reached the entrance,
all the while looking back and across the Rhine for the views.
As castles or palaces go, it did not disappoint...
from one castle to another (bottom-right above)!
I bet you and I could both live there, yes??!
The price of our ticket gave us the option of a tour to the upper floors,
but because it had been a long day, we opted to see only the ground floor views.
Besides, we had already seen the Marksburg Castle nearby across the river
while on our Viking River Cruise back in 2013. We didn't need to see more of the same...
...especially after seeing the inside chapel.
What could have possibly topped that!
We left the castle the back way through the gate house, following the service road...
...down, down, down the hill to the St. Menas parish church from 1833, near the arched roadway.
By now it was already late afternoon, with the sun lower in the sky.
The church wasn't open but we walked around and saw what we could,
looking back to a fine view of the castle.
St Sebastian, with arrows piercing his body, a former Roman soldier and martyr,
now a venerated saint by the Roman Catholics, was displayed near the church entrance,
while Jesus hung on a cross nearby.
And because tomorrow many of us celebrate Christmas, I'm reminded that as a young girl
I often heard that Jesus was "Born to Die."
But he was also born to LIVE a life of love and mercy and peace to all.
In that spirit of the season, I wish us all a
VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS.