“Have fun storming the castle!” And we did!
Tristan and I spent our morning lazying around, and our afternoon getting acquainted with a few local stores, scarfing down schnitzel and pommes (fries) from the food stand, and driving about 20 or so minutes to Thallichtenberg, inside Kusel, to see a castle.
Now, to say that one of my goals while living in Germany is to see all the castles would be exceptionally unrealistic. It’s said that there are over 20,000 castles scattered throughout Germany. Some are little ruins dotting the hills in towns, and others are wondrously beautiful structures looming through the mist or towering over the towns like giants on their thrones (Neuschwanstein Castle comes to mind). But, come hell or high water, I’m going to see as many of them as I can! While we were here in 2019, we saw Cochem Castle and Heidleberg Castle. Today we explored Lichtenberg Castle.
Castle number three, as most German castles do, stands on a hill with a steep road to the top. As you climb the altitude, the town begins to get smaller and smaller until it looks like little wooden houses at the bottom; much like the little wooden German replica houses my grandpa used to build for the Christmas train track. A thin layer of snow covered the surrounding hills and roofs like vanilla icing on this little castle cake.
One of the things I found wonderful about this castle was the ability to meander around the castle grounds. We could climb the stairs and walk over the bridges and stare in wonder at the town below. There is a restaurant, beer stand, and youth hostel to feed visitors. There are also two museums; the first being dedicated to traveling musicians, and the second dedicated to the exhibition of fossils and the natural history of the area. Unfortunately, COVID, much like everything else around the world, has suspended their services at the moment.
The history of this castle, according to the website, began in the 1200’s as two separate complexes that eventually grew together as the castle was altered, rebuilt, or added on to. Though its ownership changed throughout history, the castle has never been conquered. It stands as one of the largest castle ruins in Germany, and the largest castle in Rhineland-Palatinate.
My favorite part of the castle had to be the view of the town below, especially as the evening grew darker and the lights shone from the houses. I couldn’t get enough of this view! Sadly, the photo’s I took with my phone don’t do the view any sort of justice. As the lights sparkled from below, I felt a moment of peace in this crazy world.
Tristan thoroughly enjoyed romping around the castle grounds, peering through the arrow hole windows, traipsing up spiral staircases and explanations of the architecture from Trish. I’m also fairly certain that had it not been icy and he had his climbing shoes, he’d have been halfway up a majority of the stone walls.
Lichtenberg Castle is a delightful mosaic of modern and old, ruins, renovations, and new builds. One can feel the history all around: simply stand still, close your eyes, and you can see the horse drawn carts, smell the baking bread, hear the clatter of swords and the plucking of arrows from their bows. You can hear the bier (beer) splattering from jovial mugs and the hammering from the blacksmith. It was fun trying to imagine the castle in its prime.
And since the castle is a mere 15-20 minutes from where we live, I know we will visit it again in the spring or summer. Perhaps then, the museum and restaurants will be open to the public. In the meantime, browse through the photo’s I captured while “storming the castle.” Which castles do you think we should explore next? Do you have a favorite castle you’ve visited? Tell me all about it in the comments below!
If you wish to read more about Lichtenberg Castle, visit their website: Lichtenberg Castle. It is in German, so I find that viewing the website is easiest in Google Chrome with translation on. Enjoy learning!