Auerbach, Alsbach, Frankenstein – Amazing

Three Castles in One Day

 

View from Auerbach Schloss

View from Auerbach Schloss

Jeff (me) drinking wine at Weingut Steinmueller, Bensheim

Jeff (me) drinking wine at Weingut Steinmueller, Bensheim

MTB Ride in Morning

After having been in the office until about 8pm (or later) each day this week, I was so eager to go rent a bike and ride outside. In fact, I actually went out and ran yesterday evening, just before dark, since I needed some type of physical activity and to breathe fresh air (not in an office!).

T-Mobile forest is still beautiful

T-Mobile forest is still beautiful

I went to Velocity and rented a mountainbike. However, they didn’t have my “normal” bike, so I had to settle for another. This ended up being a not-so-good experience. I started riding around 11am, and headed out through T-Mobile forest, and then down to Pfungstadt. Then, I headed over to Jugenheim, and really started to notice problems with the bike. First, the front tire was low on air, and second, both front and rear wheels were both slightly out of true, and the rear brake was worn down way too much, AND the rear shifter would work sometimes unless one pushed upward as well as inward to shift.

The best part of this ride was finding that blackberries are in full bloom (everywhere) in Germany! I stopped and spent about 5 minutes picking and eating blackberries in a remote part of the forest along a train tracks near Pfungstadt. It was a HUGE patch – as big as I’ve ever seen in the wild.

Blackberries near Pfungstadt

Blackberries near Pfungstadt

Mountain bike with problems, while picking blackberries

Mountain bike with problems, while picking blackberries

I stopped at a Tankstelle (service station) and found a free tire/air pump. In about 2 secs, I had me front tire filled up. Then, I decided to top off the rear tire too, since it was also feeling soft. However, this was a BIG mistake. The rear tire had a strange adapter on it, and when I unscrewed it, the whole tire went flat! I played with it for about 15 mins, and finally managed to fill it back to about 75% full.

I started heading toward Alsbach, but the bike felt so unresponsive, and I began to worry that the rear tire was going to flat, that I turned around and limped back to home (actually, to the Maritim Rhein-Main Hotel in Darmstadt).

Cool House near Jugenheim

Cool House near Jugenheim

Going Exploring

My goal for the morning’s MTB ride had been to make it to Auerbach, to see the “better” castle (better than Alsbach’s, as told to me by a very nice person). However, I never made it due to mechanical issues. So, I decided to just head out and start driving by car down along Naturpark Odenwald, and explore the small villages that way.

FRANKENSTEIN’S CASTLE – Castle #1

Frankenstein's Castle!

Frankenstein's Castle!

My first discovery was that Burg Frankenstein (Frankenstein’s Castle) was only a few minutes away from my hotel! Burg Frankenstein is a castle about 5km south of Darmstadt, and sits on top of a hill near the Naturpark Odenwald. There is actually a Naturpark built around the castle. The road up the castle is very windy and climbs quite a bit. It would be a great climb on a road bicycle…not too steep and not too long, but a great workout.

The Frankenstein’s built this castle in 1250 (YES, I said 1250!) by Konrad Reiz von Breuberg. Today, two towers, a chapel, and some ruined walls remain of the original castle, which was a much bigger fortress. It is believed that one of the castle’s inhabitants used to steal dead bodies for the purpose of studying anatomy, and that perhaps Mary Shelley (who wrote “Frankenstein”), was influenced by this legend. Who knows? All I know is that someone was getting married there while I visited, and it wasn’t scary in the slightest.

It was an absolutely beautiful day – temps in the low 70s, blue skies punctuated by puffy white clouds, and long shadows being thrown in the late afternoon sun. Here are some more pics from this fabulous location:

Fortress wall at Burg Frankenstein

Fortress wall at Burg Frankenstein

Tower at Burg Frankenstein

Tower at Burg Frankenstein

Amazing view over Darmstadt/Frankfurt from Tower at Burg Frankenstein

Amazing view over Darmstadt/Frankfurt from Tower at Burg Frankenstein

I have to say that I was really enjoying myself this afternoon – I think it was the combination of having been penned up in an office for the past several days, and the wonderful fall-like weather. I wish that Alyssa had been here with me (she wanted to come with me to Germany this week, but the rigors of work for Go-Live would’ve made most of her stay here boring).

Alsbach Schloss – Castle #2 

Although I have ridden to Alsbach Schloss several times on my MTB, I still drove up and visited again. I’ll only include one picture here, since I have shown pictures in my blog before. I only spent about 15 minutes here, and then headed out to Auerbach. 

Alsbach Schloss

Alsbach Schloss

Auerbach Schloss – Castle #3 (and most amazing)

View from Tower at Auerbach Schloss - Amazing

View from Tower at Auerbach Schloss - Amazing

I was amazed that a wonderful castle like Auerbach Schloss was so close to my hotel (which I’ve spent months in here in Darmstadt), and I’ve never been there before. It was beautiful. The pics that I’m including don’t do justice to its magnificence. Plus, there is a great restaurant in the castle, and one can shoot a cross-bow or throw an axe. There’s even a jousting lane!

The entrance to Auerbach Schloss is beautiful

The entrance to Auerbach Schloss is beautiful

Restaurant at Auerbach Schloss, as seen from entrance

Restaurant at Auerbach Schloss, as seen from entrance

Upon entering the castle, you are facing a beautiful building attached to a wonderful restaurant (on the left side). The castle towers rise majestically on your right – there are two completely intact towers which one can climb. I walked around the lower portion of the castle, inside the outer fortress walls, but outside of the inner walls. I found a tent where a group of period-dressed people were showing off cross-bows and other knight’s weapons. It looked fun! There were also several cool implements and a large round grill.

Knights Weapons Display

Knights Weapons Display

 Then, I climbed the steps and entered the inner part of the castle. I climbed the steps up to the top of one of the towers, and the 360 degree views were incredible. The rolling green hills of the Odenwald were on two sides, and the outstretched flat valleys were on the others.

Beautiful view of countryside around Auerbach Schloss

Beautiful view of countryside around Auerbach Schloss

Valleys below Auerbach Schloos

Valleys below Auerbach Schloss

After spending about an hour in theh castle, and taking some neat videos (for everyone at home to watch), I left down starting driving down. Now, the interesting thing is that the road up is one-way and another road down is one-way. So, at the bottom, I had to drive through Bensheim, which turned out to be a gorgeous little town. I quickly found a place to park and walked up and down its narrow streets.

Typical Bensheim building

Typical Bensheim building

 

The one side of the ancient cobblestone street had a small stream running down in (in an indented section of the cobblestones…really cool). There were beautiful, old German buildings all along this street. After walking up and down a few times, I found a wine cellar/store called Weingut Steinmueller. I saw a group of pretty German girls all dressed in white doing a wine-tasting there. After they left, I went in and spoke with the owner. I asked her to recommend a red wine for me, and she suggested the St-Laurent. I bought 2 bottles (only $11 each) and then she opened one and I sat down in the old courtyard with her Newfoundland dog and sipped on my wine.

Me drinking wine in courtyard of Weingut Steinmueller in Bensheim

Me drinking wine in courtyard of Weingut Steinmueller in Bensheim

The street name was called Bachgasse, and it had not only beautiful homes, but also nice restaurants, too. I ended up eating right next door to the wine cellar at a restaurant called Dorfmuehle, which means Village Mill. I was starving, and the schnitzel hit the spot. The restaurant owners had a sense of humor because when one opened the door to the WC (restrooms), it pulled a rope and it lifted something over one of the tables. Also, they interspersed hand-drawings of pigs on the menu whenever they meant schnitzel. It was fun, and I ate outside in the warm evening sun.
I ate Schnitzel at this Bensheim Restaurant

I ate Schnitzel at this Bensheim Restaurant

Flowers and stream on Bachgasse in Bensheim

Flowers and stream on Bachgasse in Bensheim

More beautiful streets

More beautiful streets

Published in: on August 9, 2008 at 6:45 pm  Comments (3)  

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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Your blog is interesting!

    Keep up the good work!

    • Visit these 3 every year! My family lives right in the middle of these! Great pictures!!

      • Hi Sandi. Thanks for the comment. Yes, I really enjoyed my time here, and loved the incredible views, castles, trails, and people.


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