Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Cochem Castle and the Autobahn

For my birthday and the 4th of July, Jenna and I rented a car and drove over to West Germany to visit my Aunt & Uncle & Cousins for the weekend. I drove on the Autobahn, they took us to the military base commissary, we celebrated the 4th of July with Americans en mass, and we visited the Cochem Castle in the Rhineland's Moselle River Valley. Keep reading for details!
Cochem Castle
The Autobahn was all kinds of fun! Before I came to Germany I thought the Autobahn was just one road with no speed limit, but it turns out the entire German freeway system is the Autobahn. Although not every mile is without speed limit, a lot of the intercity stretches have no limit. Well I had fun maxing out the speedometer on our 4 cylinder rental car at every opportunity. Unfortunately the speedometer only went to 180 kph (112 mph) :( Someday I'll come back and rent a nice car and go really fast.
Maxing out the speedometer on the Autobahn
Along the way we saw a half-dozen castles just chillin' on hilltops.

My family took us to the American commissary which is an American grocery store in Europe. It was AMAZING. All the same selection you would find in America at the same prices - including frozen and refrigerated foods and bread. The military must have a massive supply line to get that stuff over here, but I tell you I was in heaven. Jenna and I have been eating like (American) kings ever since.

Later in the day the military base we were visiting had a big 4th of July shindig for all the military personnel and their families. Highlights were: yummy American food, non-Aryans, a carnival, and fireworks.
The Abbott family and Jenna (and a couple of dudes)

On Monday we crammed in the Abbott's (American) mini van and headed off for the Moselle River Valley, in the Rhineland of Germany,

It was good for Jenna to be around children. She's not too fond of the entire genre, but she rather liked my cousins. (It's all part of my plan...)

Here are pictures of the beautiful Moselle River Valley and the small town of Cochem. (Trivia: Nicolas Cage's mother is from Cochem.)

Cochem, Germany
Pretty standard German town, until you see the GIGANTIC castle right in the middle!
Cochem Castle
The Imperial Castle sits on a hill right in the center of the city, necessitating a steep hike to the top through beautiful medieval streets and vineyards.
A neat wine-cellar style restaurant built up against the cliff

Cochem Castle (click to enlarge)
I was busy taking pictures of the awesome castle we were in, but all Jenna saw were the pretty flowers!

The builders scraped the hill down to bedrock and built the castle right on it

The view from Cochem Castle
We took a tour of the castle, but there wasn't much to see. It was blown up in 1689 and rebuilt in a Gothic Revival style (whatever that is - just not medieval fortress style!) in the late 1800s. The man who rebuilt it did so for a summer house, so there weren't any neat dungeons or draw bridges and the like. I was pretty disappointed, but there were some pretty paintings and woodworkings.

After seeing the castle, we went down into the town and poked around for a bit.

On the drive back to the Abbott's house we passed through some beautiful areas. Here the walls of an eery old convent stand amid vineyards and the Moselle River.
Stuben Convent, near Bremm, Germany
St. Aldegund, Germany

1 comment:

Jessica Rose said...

Ohhhhh wow. LOVE the castles--and I agree that next time you should rent a super nice car and max out ITS speed limit.
also...happy birthday!!