Sunday, December 22, 2013

Burg Hohenzollern

 A great thing about being in Germany during the Christmas holidays are the Weinachtsmarkts.  Translation: Christmas Markets featuring lots of handmade ornaments and decorations (especially wood) and an amazing variety of local food and desserts.  Of course, no German celebration would be complete without huge mugs of beer but the Weinachtsmarkts highlight is glühwein which is a hot mulled wine.  I don't care for it but it is very popular and a good way to warm up while perusing the stalls in the cold.  These markets run during the 4 weeks of Advent and can be found all over Germany.  Stuttgart has one of the largest and oldest and I will be posting images of that one soon.  This is the first Weinachtsmarkt we visited this year at Burg Hohenzollern.  This particular market only runs for 2 weekends (others run the entire 4 weeks).  The Hohenzollern Castle is about 30 miles south of us at the seat of the Schwäbische Alb (Swabian Alps.  Swabian refers to our unique cultural region here).  It is 2805 ft above sea level.  We drove up the mount part of the way, then took a shuttle bus another part, then another smaller shuttle up the steep, windy switchback trail, then walked up the rest of the way on a paved trail into the castle.  Crazy!  It is still privately owned by Prussian royalty... cool!  We went during the evening with some very good friends so we could enjoy the lights at night.  It was very overcast and foggy for the most part so the views were somewhat obstructed.  I can't wait to go back during the spring for the Mothers Day event when tourists can stroll through all the castle rooms!  Here is the website link if anyone is interested.
Click on photos below for larger images.
A pict of the castle from the web.   Our view from the car as we approached.

Inside the castle.  This was the only area open to tourists.

Me with some castle greeters (very Cirque de Soleil as one friend commented!)
And my favorite wintertime treat here... hot chocolate!
It is sooo chocolatey and so rich it's almost like pudding.
Of course, being in Germany you can have it plain or with a shot
of Bailey's or - my favorite - Amaretto. 

Our very good friends, the Wamberas...
Leonhard, Isabel, Thomas and Louise.

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