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Burg Eltz shim John & Kristie

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travel :: Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Burg Eltz
EUROPEAN VACATION DAY 13 :: MOSELKERN, GERMANY :: The last stop on our European vacation was Burg Eltz, perhaps Germany's most famous and best preserved medieval castle (it's also Rick Steve's favorite). Built in the 12th century, the scenic structure sits strategically upon a large rock, towering ten stories and more than three hundred feet above the namesake river. From the parking lot, the castle is about two kilometers away via a steep road or a beautiful forested trail. We chose the road on the way down, and the more gradual trail on the way back up. There is also a van that shuttles visitors along the road, but the lines were long.

In the courtyard, we joined an English-speaking tour guide that took us through a dozen or so of the 80 rooms in the castle. These rooms that are open to the public are furnished and decorated much as they were centuries ago. After more than 30 generations, the original family still occupies the castle and reserves 1/3 of the rooms as their private residences.

The castle has only ever been attacked once during its 900 year history. The attackers were persuaded to call off their assault and there was no damage. Today, the castle's worst enemy is simply time. Parts of the structure and foundation have settled, and sections of the outer wall are splitting apart. Many of the outer walls were covered with scaffolding, and I was disappointed by the spoiled view.

After our tour of Burg Eltz, we were ready to return to our own castle for one more night before our long trip back home. It had been a wonderful two weeks in Poland and Germany! Although it will probably be a while, we look forward to visiting Europe again!

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