Monday, August 14, 2017

Western Europe: Germany - A hike from Burg Eltz


I didn't have much luck with my shoes in my past visits to Europe. On my first trip, the sole of my shoes were flapping and holes on the sole, which meant soggy socks and wet shoes. Not my favourite way to walk around. I was glad I brought a pair of good hiking boots this round. One of the right things I did. Ha!

As you can see from the above photo, it was a rainy day the day I went to Burg Eltz. The initial plan was to persevere and hike from Moselkern train station. I saw a girl holding a print out of how to hike to Burg Eltz from Moselkern. I saw the same webpage but obviously wasn't organised enough to have printed it out and bring along. I also saw a couple which I deduced also going to Burg Eltz as I saw pulled out pages of Rick Steves' guide book in the man's back pocket. I wasn't feeling very sociable to talk for the whole of the hike so I didn't approach any of them.

Moselkern train station, after we returned from Burg Eltz
As luck had it, it started pouring that as I reached Moselkern station. I think only four of us got off at Moselkern station. The couple with Rick Steves' guide book approached me and asked if I was heading to Burg Eltz, which I shall now refers to as Bill and Gloria. I said yes and told them that I think the girl was too. We waited till the girl (Melisha) approached us, she was at another carriage and further away from exit.

Rain got heavier and Bill proposed that we get a taxi there and hiked back. None of us had Europe phone connection, so I offered to roam my phone. My current plan allowed me to have international roaming in some countries for a fee of AUD 5 a day and it would utilise my current plan allowance. There was a phone number to taxi just outside of Moselkern station building, and I dialed the number. The man who picked up the phone spoke excellent English. Our driver came after a short 15 minutes wait, and we paid €30 for 4 pax. Bill and Gloria offered to pay €16, so Melisha and I don't have to dig up the additional €0.50 per person.


We were dropped off at the car park and we needed to walk for another maybe 10-15 minutes or so to get to the castle itself. Entrance ticket was €10 per person and this was in the form of a guided tour. Ticket also includes access to their treasury. Rain was on and off the whole day and we had some spare time before the next English tour, so we took opportunity of the time to visit the treasury.



Photography was permitted inside the treasury but not in the castle. English tour were popular and we were lucky to be included in the English tour and didn't have to wait for the next one as they limit the number of people in each guided group. This was where most people hang around to wait for the door for guided tour to be opened. The guides hold a key to the door and actually locked the door behind them once the number of visitors for the group is reached.


Burg Eltz was my favourite among the castles I visited this holiday, it was made even more enjoyable with a knowledge guide and controlled group. He was also loud enough to be heard.

Burg Eltz was first erected nearly a thousand years ago and has never been destroyed. The family and castle are named after the stream Eltzbach and has been owned by the same family since the medieval times. Over time, three separate branches of the Eltz family (Eltz-Rübenach @ Eltz of the silver lion, Eltz-Rodendort @ Eltz of the buffalo horns and Eltz-Kempenich @Eltz of the golden line) own and live together in the castle.

The Eltz-Rodendorf branch of the family ceased in 1786 and part of the castle was passed to the Kempenich family. In 1815 Count Hugo Philipp bought the Rübenach House and the Kempenich family has been the sole owner of the Eltz castle since. The castle is still a private property of the Eltz Family and Dr. Karl Graf von und zu Eltz-Kempenich is the present owner of the castle. One of the visitors in my group asked the tour if he has any children and the answer was yes. I reckon that could be a very popular question and there was a family photo in one of the rooms. Grin. It was also said that Dr Graf stays in the castle with his family when he visits.


We hiked back to Moselkern train station shortly after, luckily the sky was clear by then and it didn't rain the whole time we made our way to the train station.



Side note: Connoisseur ice-cream has got some very yummy flavours

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