Thursday, December 24, 2015

The Stolzenfels Castle in Koblenz, Germany


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.


10 comments:

  1. Simply spectacular! The light, the setting, the stone, that bridge. What a heavenly day that must have been.

    Merry Christmas Eve to you and Astrid! xoxo

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    1. It was definitely a heavenly day, Ruth, especially when you include the Maria Laach Abbey from the morning. WOW. I still pinch myself for all we have seen!

      Merry Christmas Eve to you, too. Enjoy your holiday weekend!

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  2. Germany is known for the many many castles along the rivers to protect them against the enemy. Stolzenfels Castle is a wonderful one and from the castle you van see miles in both directions along the Rhine. It was a grand day, so many things to see and a wonderful walk towards the castle.
    It was good that we did not got stuck in the meadow.... I am lucky we had the winter tires to 'pull' us out HA.....
    Christmas is here again. Time flies. I think we use it well.
    Merry Christmas, IHVJ.

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    1. Believe it or not, what I loved the most about this castle was being able to look across the Rhine to see the castles on the other side. It all just blows my mind! What memories we have!

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  3. A castle that reminds me of Grimm's fairy tales...wow. Wishing you and Astrid a very Merry Christmas!!

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    1. A good reminder of those tales, Donna. Indeed! It's our 2nd Christmas day as I write this, so we're still celebrating. I hope you are, too! :)

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  4. WOW! I honestly don't know how you keep all of this straight! My head spins! What a wonderful world we live in!! xo

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    1. If I didn't stay on top of these posts, Robin--trust me--my head would also be spinning! And yes, what a wonderful world we live in, in spite of all the negative energy. May we continue to do our part to bring everything positive to those around us wherever we are!

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  5. Well, I like the castles a lot more than the hotel, but I guess the modern world has to do its thing. Be careful about shaking sticks at German castles. Some may shake back. Beautiful pictures, as always. Have a very happy new year.

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    1. No way will I ever shake a stick at a castle, Ted, trust me. I have learned to respect them profoundly. :) Happy New Year, also, to you, Jane and family. Did the year really fly by so quickly!?!

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