Archives for February 2016

We Went to Burg Eltz in Germany

burg eltz

Before you read any further, there is something very important you should know: ‘burg’ is the German word for ‘castle’.

So anyway, when my parents were over here in Amsterdam, we thought it would be fun to go over to Germany for a couple days. We wanted to watch a river flow, look at some old buildings and churches, drink some wine, and walk around historic centers. Afterall, that’s what you are supposed to do when you come to Europe, and since it was their first time on the continent, it seemed especially appropriate. Oh yeah, we also wanted to see a castle, and that’s where Burg Eltz comes in.

Burg Eltz, and I’m cutting and pasting from Wikipedia here, is:

“a medieval castle nestled in the hills above the Moselle River between Koblenz and Trier, Germany”.

It’s also a perpetual nominee for the ‘Most Romantic Castle in Germany Not Named Nueschwanstein’ Award, and travel show hosts and guidebooks love to tell you that it’s really unique because it has been owned by the same family since its construction.

Mainly though, it’s just super pretty.

burg eltz

Burg Eltz is indeed nestled in hills, but I would also add that those hills are covered by scores of trees, trees that at the time we arrived were in the final stages of their annual transformation through fifty fiery shades of autumn brilliance, only adding to the allure of the stone structure, and our collective breath was taken away the moment we spotted it. Or something like that.

Yes, coming around the corner after a twenty minute stroll on a footpath to find the castle staring right at you is worth the price of admission alone, and if you are wondering, the price of admission was around ten Euros.

Once inside the castle, we took the guided tour where you get to see how the people who lived there over the centuries ate, slept, and killed people if it ever came to that.

If you ever make it over to this part of Germany, I recommend you stop by Burg Eltz yourself, you’ll probably like it a lot like we did.

Key Points:

-‘Burg’ is the German word for ‘castle’

-Burg Eltz is a very pretty castle near the Moselle River

-You can go there and take a tour and take pictures outside if you pay 10 Euros

Travelly Picture: Kölsch in Cologne

We were in Cologne for a couple nights, and while we were there, we made sure to go to one of the famous Kölsch beer halls. Kölsch is beer from Cologne, and it is light and yellow and tastes, well, good. It is served at every bar in the city, but the waiters that serve Kölsch in the traditional beer halls are super serious about their job and put on a good show. They just keep plopping down a new beer in front of you even before you finish your current one, just simply using their pen to make a little tick on your coaster – as you can see below – to keep track of your bill.

Kölsch beer

 

 

You Could Always Go to Chur, Switzerland

chur switzerland

There’s no question that Chur, Switzerland isn’t even half as well known as some other Swiss cities. Nope, Chur isn’t the home of saintly rock star organization Red Cross like Geneva is, it doesn’t have an affordable mid-size sedan from Buick named after it like Lucerne, and it isn’t home to nearly as many sketchy bank accounts as Zurich. In addition, Chur isn’t blessed with the most romantic-sounding name (at first glance, it sure seems like it would be pronounced as a guttural growl of “chew” and “derrr”).

But you could always still go there. I did, and I kind of liked it actually. Why should you? Well, here’s a few reasons.

First off, Chur is the capital of the completely underrated Graubunden canton (the Swiss equivalent to states or counties) of Switzerland, making it a great base to explore the region. Graubunden has all the beauty of other more famous regions of Switzerland, but like Chur, still flies a bit under the radar. Regardless, you will find just as much natural scenery and chalets here as you would in all those towns recommended by Rick Steves in the Bernese Oberland.

Chur, switzerland

Secondly, Chur is actually the oldest city in all of Switzerland, and therefore is loaded with history. Chur was so prized due to its strategic location on trade routes through the Alps that it was taken over multiple times by famous historical peoples you’ve probably heard of like Celts and Romans.

chur switzerland

What all that means to us today is that there is this amazing Old Town in Chur that wears its history on its buildings like a badge of honor. It’s car-free, and just wandering — or taking a guided tour — through the twisting streets and alleys, gazing up at the frescoes before popping into a cafe for coffee is a great way to spend a couple hours. I can’t recommend DOM Cafe enough, it’s a stylish and sleek cave-esque coffee and wine bar, and they took care of me and Julia like we were royalty.

chur switzerland

Next, even though Chur is home to refined urban recreation similar to all those other famous Swiss cities, unlike them, Chur offers outdoor recreation without having to leave town. There are paths from the Chur city center that lead directly into the Alps for summer hikes, and in winter you can practically set off on snowy excursions from the mayor’s office, as Chur is the only Swiss city to have a recreation mountain within its actual city limits — the Brambruesch. That’s right, you can hop on a ski lift from downtown and be descending the slopes on skis or in a toboggan in a matter of minutes.

Last but not least, Chur is almost completely off the radar. I mean, there’s a good chunk of people who have visited because of the world famous Bernina Express Railway which begins and ends here, but people who have just come to Chur to see Chur are few and far between, and sometimes it feels good to boldly go where slightly less people have gone before.

 

This post originally appeared on TravelPulse