21 Amazing Places in Germany

​This is a comprehensive collection of unusual places to visit around Germany. I haven’t been to a single one.

Mainberg Castle near Schweinfurt

This guest post is written by Lance M. Goolsby, who originates from Seattle, Washington. However, he spent 15 years in the U.S. Army, serving in the city of Schweinfurt, Germany for four of them. He says he is married to the most wonderful woman, Antje (Pronounced: Auntie-A), a local Schweinfurter. After leaving the army, he decided to settle down in Schweinfurt and place his roots in this beautiful small city. This is what he has to share with us.

Mainberg Castle

Mainberg Castle

A couple days ago, I was searching the internet to get some source photos for a renovation project I am conducting and came across Maria’s blog.

I had heard of a local castle, but had never gone. Many times the unit would hold a party in the castle, but somehow I was either deployed to some foreign country, or on duty. So I was always otherwise occupied.

A few months ago I was invited to a birthday party being held in the castle, and I thought it would be my chance to see it first hand. Somehow I met the manager, and we started talking. He was in the works of finalizing the plans for the renovations of the castle with the owner. Hours passed with him telling me stories of the history of the building, from its major involvement in the German Peasants war of the 1500s, to the unsavory occupation of the castle during the second world war by generals Hermann Goering, and Heinrich Himmler.

One thing led to another, and I was hired as the groundskeeper of the castle. My dream job. Bringing the long unattended gardens back to their former glory, which had not been seen by visitors since the renovations of the castle in 1924.

The castle name is Schloss Mainberg, located around 3 kilometers, or about 2 miles outside Schweinfurt.

The tower of the castle was the first thing built, in around the year 980 to 1005. In the late 1300s and early 1400s, the local duke built the original castle. The castle was mostly destroyed in the Peasants War in the 1520s. Twenty years later, the castle that stands now, was built. The only thing original to the castle prior is the tower, which only lost around 30 feet from its top in the war.

After the Second World War, the entire contents of the castle were either carted off under orders of General Goering, or looted by the American soldiers or the local towns people. All statues with the exception of one, were used by various soldiers as target practice or targeted by vandals, and all heads are missing. Later the castle was shortly used as a factory for a hair care products company. After that, it passed through a few hands, but never was renovated or repaired.

In the last 60 years, the castle has slowly fallen into ruin. Cracks are allowing water to seep into the building, staining and ruining many murals painted on the walls and ceilings.  Vines, crawling up the walls, are undermining the concrete and pieces are falling to the ground. Eventually without the proper care, the castle would fall to the ground.

My job will be to bring the grounds to the quality they were in after the 1822 renovations. In one author’s writings, he described the gardens as an almost heavenly walk. Looking right, the view over the local Bavarian valley afforded him the possibility to see for miles on end. Three fountains adorned with mythological creatures gave the area an ethereal sound and the flowers planted gave the garden a scent that he couldn’t forget for several years before he wrote the book.

Further investigation into the grounds has recently produced a second garden from the same era, which it seems no visitors has ever seen. It’s a garden for the woman of the house at the time to retreat to with one of her favorite books, to relax and read. We now refer to this one as the secret garden. It was built in the rear of the castle, which is on the uphill side. It was made up of one main terrace, and three others, adorned with flowers, and rock walls. They had in effect carved 4 level areas out of the castle, adorned them with flowers,  benches, and tables, then fenced it off from the main castle garden for privacy. It must have been a vision in itself and to me was much more beautiful than the main garden.

I thought for the readers of Maria’s blog it would be cool to see some recent photos of the same castle, of which she shared photos taken by Russell Satterthwait in the 60s and to compare how the castle has slowly fallen into almost ruin.

With luck, in the next two years, the castle will be back to its regal status. I also invite all readers to come by and take a tour with me when it is completed. You will not be disappointed. We will be able to have some coffee in its café, or if you like, spend the night in the castle hotel.

Mainberg Castle is one of the regions most important and beautiful castles. Soon it will be open to the public again.

Thanks for reading my long winded article.

— Lance Goolsby

grounds keeper at Mainberg Castle

Photobucket by Lance Goolsby: http://s60.photobucket.com/user/mordfilm/slideshow/Schloss%20Mainberg

YouTube by Matthias Breitenbach: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rIUlhAwT9NM

Schweinfurt Garrison Dining Out at Castle Mainberg 2009 (Photo courtesy of Schweinfurt PAO) on Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/schweinfurtpao/13404333633/

Pigtown, Germany

We spent the past weekend in my hometown of Hambach, a village near the city of Schweinfurt in northern Bavaria. We sometimes refer to Schweinfurt as pig town, but its literal translation is pig crossing.

As soon as we get off the Autobahn and drive into the countryside, there are rolling hills, vineyards, and wheat fields.

Franken

Having grown up on a farm, I have a special appreciation for combines (German: Mähdrescher) in August. I do remember the dust and the dry heat (unlike nowadays), and the itchiness from the chaff and straw. August was also the month my dad knew whether his farming work had paid off for the year or not.

Mähdrescher

Mainberg Castle (Mainberg being another village outside of Pigtown) has been in the news recently. The castle is in bad condition and the owner lacks the funds for a complete restoration. If approved, the public gets to finance this hefty charge.

Mainberg Castle

Mainberg Castle

I like going to Pigtown, but I have stopped calling it going home many years ago. Both the area and I have changed over the thirty-some years.

The German word Heimat translates to hometown, whereas Zuhause is your current home. Meine alte Heimat ist Schweinfurt, mein Zuhause ist Oberursel.

 

Guided Kronberg Castle Tours

During the summer months, international visitors to Kronberg Castle have the opportunity to join guided tours in the English language.

The 2013 tours take place on the following Sundays: May 5, June 2, June 30, July 28, and September 1.

Each tour begins at 16.30h and lasts about one hour.

Admission is 5,00€ (children 3,00 €, families 10,00€).

Dorothea Peukert
Public Relations
Burgverein Kronberg e.V.
www.burgkronberg.de
d.peukert@burgkronberg.de

Vineyards in Beautiful Franconia

Another drive to my hometown area of Lower Franconia had us stop along the way. Not to smell the flowers this time, but to admire the beautiful hills, men at work, and the progress on the Weinlese (grape harvesting).

Weinberg in Franconia

The colors around this time of year are just superb.

A very narrow tractor works its way through the rows of vines.

Winzer Traktor

As we were driving around wine-making country, I’d suppose this tractor is part of the wine-making process too.

Franconia is home to the Bocksbeutel bottle.

For a place to stay overnight, visit this link on which I left a review for Barockschloss Zeilitzheim. By the way, this same castle has just added wine making to its repertoire of goods and services.

We will get to taste the first wine sometime soon (May 2013).