Burg Trifels

Guess third time is a charm with this castle! We were finally able to explore Burg Trifels. We had driven to Annweiler twice before to be met with rain both times. The weather today was beautiful.

The Emperor's castle of Trifels is the most formal of the forts from the Staufer period and is situated on the highest of three mountains - all with castles - above the small town of Annweiler. The mountain, Sonnenberg, (sun mountain) is 494m above sea level and 310m above Annweiler and the castle is built on a rock which has two clefts, and therefore looks like three rocks, hence the name: Trifels. . Trifels was built upon the remains of a wooden castle from the 10th century. It was documentarily named for the first time in the year 1081, when the Knight Diemar von Trifels presented the castle to the king before becoming a monk.

The chapel served as the depository for the imperial crown jewels. Today the empire insignias are once again in the castle, but as copies as the originals have been in Vienna since the year 1800.

Castles along the Rhine

You’re certain to feel as though you’re waltzing through a fairytale on this journey through the breathtaking landscape of terraced vineyards, old-world towns and historic, fairytale castles of the Rhine river valley.

We spent two week-ends in April exploring  a few of the castles along the Rhine River. It was like being in a fairytale. The cannons aimed at the river..ready to defend, the suits of armor, the breathe-taking views  from the castle towers.

As we climbed the winding staircases, I wondered what amazing stories could be told by those who had lived here so many years ago.
Korey, Aley and Doug at Rheinstein Castle
Castle Reichenstein
Castle Sooneck
Have I mentioned how much I love living in Europe? Not sure what I will do with my week-ends when I move stateside, but I do know I won't be be exploring castles.

Mannheim in March

Sometimes my travels are planned around Starbucks. Sad, I know! But I miss being able to hit the drive-thru for a Srawberry Frap on a whim. Mannheim is about an hour drive from our house. Not too far for a Starbucks run, right?  One of the most famous icons of the Jugendstil (Arte-Nouveau style) in Germany, the water tower (and small park surrounding it) is a great place to sit and enjoy my frap.

After my Starbucks fix, we toured the Mannheim Palace. Mannheim Palace is a large Baroque palace. It was orignally the main residence of the Prince-electors of the Electoral Palatinate. It is now primarily used by the Universary of Mannheim.

I wasn't allowed to take any photos inside the palace. The palace was beautiful and full of many orante details.
Mannheim is where the Burgenstrasse (castle road) begins. Over 90 castles, palaces and castle ruins line the Castle Road. I wish I could could travel this road from beginning to end...exploring each castle, palace and castle ruin. I know I won't get to all of them, but so far I have been fortunate enough to visit:
Mannheim Palace
Heidelburg Castle
Bad Wimpfen
Rothenburd ob der Tauber

I am so behind....

And I really need to better about updating this blog! So, lets see where I have traveled to in 2011.

I am not used to winters that make me want to hibernate. After spending most of January and February inside...I had to get out!! We went to Mainz. It was about an hour drive from our house.

The highlight of this city is the Gutenberg Museum downtown. This museum contains the Gutenberg printing press from 1440 and an original Gutenberg Bible located in a vault upstairs.

There are also several churches in Mainz worth a visit, inculding the Dom, a 100-year-old cathedral.

Me in front of the Dom
One of the largest Fasching parades in Germany is held on Rose Monday in Mainz. I hope to be there in 2012!