Happy Field Trip Friday! Thanks to our new schedule, we no longer get to go on Fridays per se, but I still have a day each week earmarked for getting out and exploring the world. On Monday, Bug started a new distance learning class with Bridgeway Academy on the Middle Ages, so I have a goal to hit as many castles as we can in the next 8 weeks while he attends his class. This week, we started with the castle closest to our home, Burg Eppstein, in Eppstein, Germany.
This little village is adorable, and is exactly what I expect when I picture Germany. Tiny, cobblestone roads, only big enough for one car. Half timbered houses that don’t stand quite straight. And, a beautiful, tiny, old castle up on the hill. These castle ruins are better maintained than many, and when you purchase admission, you get free reign to wander the grounds without a tour guide.
We met up with Mr. Man’s “Girlfriend,” L., who we haven’t seen in “like a million years” as a special treat and set off to explore together. Mr. Man and L. were SO excited to see each other that they could hardly keep their feet and voices still, which wasn’t terrible since we were the only ones on the grounds this morning.
That little blue door is to a house and the office of the man who takes money for admission right inside the castle gate. You can tell from the picture how well they have taken care of this castle which was built sometime around 1122. The holes in the walls for defense show the age of the castle and fortifications.
Climbing the tower to see the guards room was the highlight of the adventure. The old staircase up the tower was placed with a reenforced concrete and steel spiral staircase (whew) recently, but the rest of the structure is original. It was built in stages, and added on to through the centuries. Today, you can see a huge distance from the top, but knowing how jittery the kids were, and the state of Germany “safety standards” (basically, if you get hurt, you should have known better), I didn’t take my kids past the keep and guard room at the top (in the picture of the tower above, we went to the stone windows, but not up the last staircase).
All in all, this was a wonderful trip SO close to home. If you’re local, Burg Eppstein also has a museum which is only open select days and limited hours so check the site. They frequently has open air festivals on the grounds. It is very inexpensive, and they have tons of English signs. At the base of the castle is a wonderful ice cream shop and bakery. Leave the stroller at home, and wear the little ones.