Castle Chronicles: Burg Neu-Wolfstein

It’s been almost a month since I’ve posted last – it’s been busy around here! I began working on the unit (I never knew how much I could miss patient care), and we moved into our house. There is still so much to do in order for us to be fully settled, but we’re over halfway there!

It’s been difficult acclimating with the lockdown in full swing here. It’s not like in the States – Deutschland means business: if it’s not essential, it’s not open. So we’ve been eating a lot of take out and trying to discover replacements for our favorite grocery items we had in the States. We’re also now permitted to move within an 100km radius of our home, which opens things up to explore within our state: Rhineland-Palatinate. So, today we went adventuring not far from our friends in Kusel: Burg Neu-Wolfstein.

We picked it because it was close, the trails seemed easier (we brought Old Lady Lily, our dog), it looked quaint, and there was a two-fer: Burg Alt-Wolfstein (Alt = Old, and Neu = New) was also in walking distance. This little town certainly didn’t disappoint. Many of the older buildings remain along the brick road up to the castle trail. It was easy to picture yourself back in the “days of old,” trudging up the muddy paths and dodging the horse-drawn carts. The castle itself is mainly a ruin with a small vineyard blanketing the hill it sits on. The views were spectacular! The thick fog sitting on the hills and mountains gave the town an air of mysteriousness, like we were walking into one of Grimm’s Fairytales.

The history of this little ruin is a bit unknown. According to good-ole Wikipedia, it’s first recorded as Hus zu Wolvenstein in 1324, but was probably built between 1275 and 1324 by Rudolph of Habsburg. Like many castles, it was likely built as a defensive fortification for the town when it was established.

The castle was damaged in 1503, and over a hundred years later, it was demolished and rebuilt. After wars with the French and Bavaria using it’s ruins as a quarry, it was mostly used for the chapel at the castle. Sometime after it was used as a vicarage in 1798, the castle fell into ruins. In 1963, the ruins were under the ownership of the state of Rhineland-Palatinate and is considered a heritage site and WWI war memorial.

A cafe along the main road

As we walked through the town to get to the castle trail, we passed many closed cafes, restaurants, bakeries, and stores. Wolfstein seems to be a bustling town with many events and festivals throughout the year in otherwise “normal” times. I would love to come back and visit during the summer, hoping that many of these places will once again be open to enjoy.

As mentioned, the castle itself is not more than a ruin, a few walls and the gate still standing. A couple of memorials for the soldiers lost in WWI stood on the outside gate and in the center of the castle ruin. The views from the hill were breathtaking. I’ll never tire of the view from a castle hill down into the little villages, towns, and cities of Germany. There is just something about those little winding roads and the houses smooshed together, the roofs slanting in sharp angles, and the steeples and spires of the churches in town piercing the cold, grey sky.

Trish and I wondered aloud about which road could have been the main road into town. Tristan tested out his new Go-Pro and attempted to climb the rocky walls of the ruins. Lily excitedly darted from wall to wall, sniffing about as the chilly air piqued her spirits.

We walked the trail halfway to Burg Alt-Wolfstein before we called in a day. Lily was beginning to limb and Tristan wasn’t so sure he’d be able to walk back. While my feet and legs are thankful for this now, I wish we’d had the energy to see both – but that just means another adventure for another day!

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