Burg Eltz was on the agenda for today- described as the ‘best castle in Europe’ by Rick Steves (the kids’ preferred travel guru- not!!). It was a big call. We left about 8:30am, as Google told us it would be 1 hour 15 mins (therefore we expected it would be at least 2 hours). After wandering up and down mountains for a while, we discovered a tiny sign that pointed to the castle with an icon of people walking 🚶, and another sign pointing in another direction with a bus 🚌 on it. We deduced from that that the bus sign was for bus parking, and the walking sign was for the hike up to the castle (from where we had read you can catch a shuttle bus). No shuttle bus appeared once we parked however, and after asking at a local restaurant we realised that we had somehow come to the wrong place. No matter! We strapped on our shoes and set off for the 2.4kms to the castle. I was delighted to see that the hike was part of our old friend, the Moselsteig. The kids were less impressed. Although a beautiful path through the forest and next to a bubbling stream, we soon discovered that some in our party were going to find the path tough as it was slippery and very uneven. Mum and Dad decided to retrace their steps, and the plan was that they would drive around to where the bus sign was directing, take the shuttle, and we would meet them at the castle. The boys and I hiked on. It was a stunning surprise when we rounded the final corner and glimpsed the castle.
Once up at the castle, our initial euphoria dissipated as we awaited Mum and Dad’s arrival. The plan was that if they didn’t show up, the boys and I would see the castle and then walk back on the path where they would be waiting for us. After at least an hour’s wait, I was becoming a little concerned. Shuttle after shuttle arrived with no sign of Mum and Dad. Just as I booked tickets for the kids, thinking I would sit out the tour in case Mum and Dad appeared (and then didn’t know where we were), they arrived. It turned out that they had had to travel at least another 20kms to find another route through to the castle, from which the shuttle went (nothing to do with the other sign which had led them on a wild goose chase). What a relief!
The castle itself I found a little underwhelming – perhaps because of Rick’s big build up and the stress of my parents going missing! It has been in the same family for 850 years, and many of the ancient weapons, tapestries and furniture were on display. The castle has never been attacked (perhaps because it’s so difficult to find!). A guide took us through, explaining everything in English. It was certainly magnificent from the outside, but quite small inside the part we were allowed to see (a member of the family still lives here).
We took the elusive shuttle back to the car, ate (or mostly discarded) our warm salami sandwiches, and headed for home. Tonight my pen friend and her family are coming for tea, and then we are off tomorrow morning, headed for home. Thanks for coming along for the journey and your comments Ian and Sue!!