Saturday, June 18, 2011

Lobdeburg Castle

Here are a bunch of pictures from my latest adventures in Germany.

Since we're so poor and work all day we really don't have the ability to travel outside of our town (at least for now). So lately we've been exploring the sights around Jena. Luckily, as is the case with pretty much everywhere outside of the USA, there's all kinds of history right here in our valley.

For instance, here are a few facts about this small city that you probably have never heard of. Jena has Luther's original tombstone and the world's first planetarium. It was a frequent stomping ground for Geothe and Napoleon marched through. Coolest of all: the Carl Zeiss company was founded here.

There's also a medieval town center and castles or towers on almost every hill surrounding the city.

The closest old-stone-thing to our house is the Friedensberg WWI memorial. We found it quite by accident - we wandered up the hill and I saw a tiny trail going into a clump of trees at the top. I jokingly said, "I wonder if there's a castle in there?" So we went in (with Jenna gagging and screaming because plants were brushing against her legs and there might be bugs). We found a huge round stone wall! Circling round we found the entrance and it turned out to be a WWI memorial by the name of Friedensberg.

The gate to Friedensberg memorial

Jenna inside the Friedensberg memorial in Jena, Germany. The inscription behind her reads:

"Our fallen 1914/18"

To commemorate the establishment of the 1st World War fallen citizens of Jena in 1459, primarily from donations of the population, architect: Emil Högg
Inauguration of the monument on the mountain grove, the former gallows, the old Rich Jena site
Renamed Friedensberg

The boundary wall of 30 meters in diameter, enclosing a memorial grove with the altar-like stone block that contains the list of names of the dead.

(Translation via Google translate - a better one would be appreciated!)

The big pretty hill near our house with Friedensberg at the top

Since my last blog post I started work at the Friedrich Schiller University Institute of Applied Physics. I'm doing more high-intensity laser physics and it's all kinds of fun. I actually really like my job, even though everything is in German and it's really hot in the building (but not in the laser labs, which is where I spend most of my time anyways).
Ready for work (with Carlos in the background!)
A couple of weekends ago we had an adventure out to the small town of Lobeda and the castle Lobdeburg (Lobeda is in range of our bus/tram pass). We had all kinds of fun on the way up through the town and found a neat old church.
Lobeda, Germany

A really old church (with a gigantic crack in it) in Lobeda, Germany

It's a cute little village, but our destination was the castle at the top.
Lobeda, Germany - Notice the "No Crapping Dogs" sign

A really small hummingbird
We had to hike up a pretty good sized hill to get to the castle, but the trail and the views were beautiful.
On the way up we had a good view of the soviet-era concrete block housing community near Jena. They're super ugly, super small (I've been in one), and super cheap. Thanks USSR.
We could see another castle in the distance! I can't remember the name of it right now, but we want to go there someday (when we have money to travel outside the range of JeNah transport).
After a sweaty hike we arrived at Lobdeburg, a 13th century castle perched on a hill overlooking the Saale valley. It was all kinds of neat and broken down. Some organization is attempting to preserve it from further decay - thus the fences and braces you can see in the pictures below.
The main features of the surviving castle are a central tower (completely inaccessible) and the knave of the ancient chapel, seen below. As you can see in the above picture it even hung out over the end of the wall.
Lobdeburg Castle, Lobeda Germany

At the end of the wall pictured below was a square tower that I decided to climb.

The view from the top was incredible!

Plus there was an interesting hole in the middle of the tower (notice how thick the walls are!). The circular part was clearly a well, while I suspect the entire hole was a cistern.

After we were done exploring the castle we headed back down the hill a short ways to the restaurant conveniently placed at the castle parking lot. We begged them to take our VISA (cash is king in Germany - so far the only places that have accepted cards are hotels, not even at the grocery stores!) and they accepted! So we sat down to have a lovely meal in a classic German "Beer Garden" perched on the edge of a steep hill. The view was great and we got some great pictures of the sunset across the Saale valley. (At the right of the two sunset pictures below you can see where Jenna and I work. The city of Jena is further down the valley to the right.)

Yummy schnitzel

And to finish the post off, here's a picture of a giant slug I found one day on the way home from work! Epic.


Rachel said...

can I get some schnitzel please.

Lyndi said...

What a cute wife you have. Also, I love the sluggy thing. My nephew told me that they call them shneke there.