Burg Eltz

We started today, our second day in Germany, with a light breakfast at a Herborn bakery on a cobbled street just around the corner from our hotel (and if that's not enough prepositions for you...).

Then we jumped into the rental car and headed off on an adventure! With the aid of a TomTom GPS device on loan from our kind host, we drove through the Hessian countryside, and through one picturesque burg after another: Hohn, Rothenbach, Oberahr, Niederahr, the city of Koblenz, and Ruber, the hometown of Albert Schweitzer. Our object, though, was Burg Eltz, and its famous Castle Eltz:

Castle Eltz is the 850-year-old fortress on the River Eltz, which has been home to the same family--the Lords and Counts of Eltz--for 33 generations. The family first erected a structure on this site nearly a thousand years ago.

Trutz-Eltz, a medieval siege tower on the site, was built by Archbishop Balduin of Luxembourg in the mid-14th century. Despite many wars in the region, Castle Eltz has survived intact. In the courtyard remain 700-year-old stone balls Balduin's men lobbed at the castle in the 1330's:

Far below the castle flows River Eltz, surrounded by beautiful forest and hills:

We took a guided tour (in German, though the guide fluently answered questions in English when we asked) through the eight-story Rubenach house (over time, three separate branches of the family built homes in the castle complex--the Rubenach, Rodendorf, and Kempenich families).

Today the castle is owned by Count Karl, who was actually present today, with some sort of film crew (he lives most of the time in Frankfurt, though there are private living quarters at the castle). He spoke very kindly to me and the lovely Robin in English (guess we stick out like sore thumbs) as we exited.

We weren't permitted to take photos on the tour, so the only room we could photograph was the Eltz family chapel:

It was a beautiful Fall day...and a man couldn't ask for more beautiful company.

Not quite two hours later, we returned to Herborn, dined in the Hohe Schul restaurant nearby (below) and returned to our room for the night, tired and grateful.

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