Spending the Night at a Castle in Franconia – Northern Bavaria

With an out-of-town family member in tow, we visited my hometown area Franconia for a short visit on our four-day weekend in late May. We spent the night at Schloss Zeilitzheim (Zeilitzheim Castle).

We wanted to do something special for my Parisian brother-in-law, so we dragged him off to a castle for the night. We checked into the Zeilitzheim Castle in the afternoon, and got to spend some time there before heading off to visit with my side of the family at a beer garden in another village north of the Main River.

Schlosspark Zeilitzheim

It is a fairly big garden, which needs a lot of tender care. Alexander, the castle owner, is also the gardener. That’s where we found him when we arrived – clipping the hedges.

We enjoyed sitting in the inner courtyard with a bottle of wine in the late evening.

The next morning, a hot one at 27C for June standards, was spent lounging in the park.

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A Night at Zeilitzheim Castle

There are about 25.000 castles and fortresses in Germany. Nobody knows for sure how many there actually are, so the Deutsche Burgenvereiniung (German Castle Association) has decided to do a final count and registration. They expect to have the final results in about ten years’ time.

A week ago, we spent the night in one of these 25.000 castles. Going back to one’s hometown requires accommodation, and over the past few years, we have tried out several places – mostly inns in villages around the northern Franconia area.

This time, we chose Schloss Zeilitzheim (we had spent a night there about 10 years ago). As it was the case back then – we liked the pavilion, the park, and breakfast the best.

We had booked the Kardinalszimmer (sleeps four people) to accommodate all of us.

We enjoyed sitting on the bench looking out over the park.


The castle interior is a museum with its artifacts, showcases in the hallway, and authentic furniture.

I can highly recommend this castle hotel to anyone who just wants to get away for a day or two (or more). Buy a bottle of wine from the owner’s Weingut (winery) and sneak off to the pavilion at night. My husband and I sat there under a starry sky, and had a quiet conversation while sipping our wine. Recommended: Bring a flash light or a candle.

If you like really warm rooms, then I’d suggest you go there during the warmer season. This is a true castle, so in early spring, the rooms/radiators do not heat up so quickly. For me, it was perfect though.

On the road in the USA – northern Maine

We had a three-hour drive ahead of us from Bar Harbor, ME to Sussex in New Brunswick, Canada.

Along the way, we did not pass much, except for trees, trees, and a car or two occasionally.

Somewhere in northern Maine

Somewhere in northern Maine

We had lukewarm water bottles on us and when we saw this general store, we decided to get some cold drinks on this hot day. Stretching your legs once in a while is a good idea anyway. This store sat in the middle of nowhere and the lady behind the counter told me she enjoyed this extreme heat as they don’t get it very often.

General Store

The store was a bit of everything – it sold groceries, cold drink, handmade items, and had a workshop in the corner as well.

Should have bought these wind chimes, but in the name of traveling light, I decided to take a photo instead.

wind chimes for rednecks

wind chimes for rednecks

As it is summer break, there is an abundance of school buses parked around the U.S.A.

school bus

This one seems to be parked only during the break. If it were completely retired, then the display “School Bus” and signal lamps would have to be removed.

Retired school buses are often bought by churches, resorts, or camps. Some private enthusiasts (a.k.a Skoolies) like to convert them into recreational vehicles (RVs).

Some old buses are used as farming vehicles as well.

La Bastide Clairance in Northern Basque Country

As suggested by the Eyewitness guide and other brochures, we visited this quaint village of La Bastide Clairance, northeast of Biarritz.

It is a very clean and quiet village, meant for tourism, photography, and a feel-good ambience. There is a small information center,  cafés and restaurants, some artisan shops, a forge museum, and much more.

around the market square

Based on what we saw, two to three hours are enough for walking around and stopping for a cup of coffee. Found some nice kitchen utensils in one of the shops right at the market square. For some reason, I always buy them in France, while on holiday.

La Bastide Clairance

Yes, there is some up and down walking as in most of the towns in Basque country. This little grandmother is not real, just an eye-catcher.

La Bastide Clairance

The tourism center also lets visitors see what the old Basque style classroom looked like.

Old classroom in La Bastide Clairance

We bought some sweet chili paste and powder. Most souvenirs carry the image, the name, the flavor, or the taste of the local sweet chili plant. The only thing we have not found yet – seeds to take back to grow our own.

Review for K-haus Gwanghwamun in Seoul, Korea

On our way to Japan, we visited Seoul for two days and booked K-haus Gwanghwamun in northern Seoul for our accommodation.

Prior to our departure, we got a few personal mails from the manager with directions and other useful information.

The little privately-run hotel lies on the outskirts and it was not easy to find. The usual 10-minute walk from the bus stop took us close to 45 minutes all the while asking for directions. We had the Korean address and not even the taxi driver nor shop assistants were able to direct us. While looking lost standing at a corner, we were approached by helpful Koreans several times. One of them was able to direct us to the place. The best landmark to point out for future reference would be the Czech Republic Embassy which is on the same road. The Czech Republic Embassy is listed on most maps.

The location itself is perfect though. Surrounded by consulates and embassies, it is in a very quiet corner of Seoul. Walking up the street  towards the guest house, you can see the mountains in the back.

The guest house is very clean and the manager was most accommodating in our needs. When we walked in, she already had a caller’s message waiting for me as well.

Our room with three beds was average size. Our shower equipment was very simple – a handheld shower head in front of the bathroom sink. But it worked nicely.

The breakfast on offer is basic (beverage, coffee and toast), so we ventured out to one of the many cafés lining the streets of Seoul for a more culinary experience.

The Airport Limousine bus service to northern Seoul is KRW 10.000 per person. On the way back to the airport, we took a taxi (orange colored, stating Interpretation Taxi on its side) which cost us KRW 50.500 (about US$ 44,–). Very affordable.

Last, but not least. My daughter left her plush animal behind, and Mrs. Lee, the manager, has been most helpful in trying to get it to Germany. She went way beyond her calling on that one.

You can visit K – haus Gwanghwamun on Booking.com for more information.

K-haus Gwanghwamun in Seoul, Korea

When I go back to Seoul, I will definitely book K-haus again. It is clean, quiet, shows good management, and is reasonably priced.

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