About Me

I am a 45 year husband and dad, currently adjusting to life back in the United States after living in Italy for a little over two years. I love spending time with my family, cycling, model railroading, mosaics and watching TV and movies.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Marksburg Castle

Once again, the alarm woke us up at 8am, this time to the sound of heavy rainfall. We got ready for the day and went upstairs for breakfast. We ate breakfast at a window table and watched the rain come down, hard at times.

After breakfast we went back to our room to get our gear. The rain had stopped and the skies were beginning to clear. We walked up the street to catch a train going north to St. Goar. I think we have the automated ticket machines figured out.

While we waited of the train, we met a mother and daughter from Arkansas. We chatted for awhile about Germany and travelling while watching – and feeling – the very fast freight trains go past the platform.

We caught our train and 11 minutes later we were in St. Goar, where we exited and ran to catch the river ferry. We needed to cross the Rhine and catch a train on the opposite side. We arrived as the ferry was pulling in, paid our toll and rode it across the river to St Goarhausen. Finding the station, we caught another train to Braubach, about at 30 minute ride.

Enjoying the ferry ride across the river.

The Rhine River is very busy.

Train to Braubach.

Our plan in Braubach was to visit the Marksburg Castle. After exiting the train, we walked into town to figure out which direction it was to the castle. We were not interested in another hike up a steep hill, so we looked for the tourist ‘train’ (tractor and cars that look like a train). They typically charge about e3 per adult for the ride. We found the train but it appeared to not be operating today. Major bummer. Time for plan B, hiking up the hill. This was no big deal since we had already climbed up to castles earlier, but it was hot and humid and we just didn’t want to hike again. Oh well, we found the path and started hiking. It was hot and humid, but we made it in about 25min and saved about e8.

The Marksburg Castle is located on the right bank of the Rhine. It has an unusually slender keep towering above the surrounding courts and ramparts. The Marksburg was originally called Burg Brubach. Among the many hilltop castles which flank the Rhine on both banks it is the only one which has escaped ruin or romantic renewals and largely maintains its medieval character in spite of some 17th, 18th and 20th century additions.

Marksburg Castle from Braubach.

You must take a guided tour to visit the castle. We bought tickets and waited near the entrance and tried to take advantage the shade and light breeze to cool off. The tour guide only spoke German, so we had to read through an English guide book.
We walked up the through the main gates and up to the artillery arcades. We also visited the maiden’s chambers, the chapel tower, the kitchen, banquet hall, the tiny inner courtyard, herb garden, wine cellar, the armory, blacksmith shop and a few other areas.

View down the Rhine River.

View up the Rhine River.

Coat of Arms

The Great Battery, 16th and 17th century.

Castle outhouse...don't stand under this room.

A small section of a very large kitchen. They could roast an entire ox in the oversize oven.

Recesses in the outer wall were used to relaxing: playing music, knitting, etc.

Climbing up into the chapel tower.

The Knight's Hall on the upper floor of the Gothic Hall.

The outhouse off of the Knight's Hall. Notice how thick the walls are this high on the castle.

In the armory they had a display of the armor and how it changed over the centuries. As the weapons became more sophisticated, the armor became much heavier. We learned some information about two myths. One myth is that once a knight was knocked off of his horse, his armor was so heavy he wouldn’t be able to stand up on his own again. This was not true. What is true is that it was almost impossible to remount the horse. The second myth concerns chastity belts. The most common myth is that knights used them to protect their women while they were off crusading. There are no written accounts of this. There are, however, written accounts of prostitutes in Venice not paying their taxes and being fitted with chastity belts as punishment. There are also written accounts of women wearing them for protection against rape when travelling.

The armory display.

The blacksmith shop.

More views of Marksburg Castle.

After our tour we had some pretzels for a snack before trekking back down the hill to Braubach. We were hungry, so our plan was to find some lunch. Initially, all we could find were a few restaurants that served Italian food! We didn’t want Italian food. We could have that at home. We wandered some back streets, took more pictures of the castle on the hilltop then found a little pub that served German food.

Interesting architecture in Braubach.

This is for Andy...and anyone who has Playmobil toys.

Buying train tickets for our return to Bacharach.

A freight and a passenger train going the opposite direction that we want to go.

After lunch we made our way back to the train station for the trip back to St. Gorehausen. When we arrived the ferry was just pulling up…no waiting. Once we crossed the river, we had to jog to the train station to make the next train or we would have to wait an hour for the next one. We made it to the station, bought our tickets and arrived on the platform as the train pulled in. Perfect timing.
We rode the train back to Bacharach and headed straight to the grocery store for some cheese and crackers for dinner. Unlike yesterday, this time we made it. Brandon and I headed back to the room with our goods.

Katrina took a more leisurely pace while taking more pictures. We spent the evening in our room relaxing, packing our suitcases and watching the Tour. We ended up only eating a small portion of our cheese and crackers. I guess lunch really filled us up.


  1. Heyyyy... Playmobil?

  2. what was the purpose of the coat of arms

  3. The coat of arms was the symbol of the family, king or kingdom.