It just so happens that I will be spending some time in southwest Germany. It’s been a while since I’ve been in Germany, but as always, it’s a wonderful place. On my first weekend I decided I would wander out and visit a castle located nearby…Eltz Castle. I’ve been fortunate to visit many castles over the years, Neuschwanstein Castle in the German Alps, Hohenzollern Castle on the tip top of a hill not too far from Stuttgart, and Heidelberg Castle overlooking the bridge and city from above, just to name a few.
Eltz Castle is unique in many ways, as they all are, in that it is located in a valley surrounded by hills, trees and situated near the Moselle River. It sits atop a large rock and spires 70 meters high. It’s over 800 years old and was spared the destruction of World War II bombing. It’s owned and managed by the same family since its construction. The furnishings are largely unchanged over the centuries. It’s quite different to come upon this exquisite castle as you look down into a valley from above. It seems like most of the time, it’s the other way around. This got me thinking more about castles and things.
Sir Edward Coke is credited with the quote, “A man’s home is his castle.” I’m thinking that a castle is more about safety, comfort, familiarity, a place to be. My castle is a modest house in Texas. There really is no other place I’d like to be. It is the best place for me to access the memories of my life and be with the my precious wife who has been a witness to most of it. As I walked around Eltz Castle, I thought, I would never want to live here. It is so dark and cold and drafty in spite of its appearance of affluence. It could never be my castle, but it was someone’s castle. I had a moment of appreciation that we all possess our own unique castles and square footage is irrelevant, that it is largely a result of our own constructions. In a time when there seem to be so many that are striving for that perfect equality, I’m eternally grateful for individual uniqueness.
On my last trip, an African woman told me the story of a refugee family that was living under a large bush on a blanket. The bush provided little resistance to the bright sun and 130 degree heat. They had no water or food. They relied on local neighbors who caringly provided food and water and clothing to the family, not much of a castle at least physically. Even under these dire conditions, the family preferred this situation to their previous situation, they had a vision for their future and it was a step in the right direction. I hope and pray that they finish constructing their own castle. I’m quite convinced that most castles are built locally with the help of neighbors, friends and family thus giving them a look and feel of personal uniqueness. I hope we never lose that or have it taken away.
Well, I’m still trying to figure out my new blog home. Check out the pics below, at least i think they will be displayed below. I’ll get it figured out. Thanks for hanging in there with me. Hopefully, each entry will be easier to write and easier to read. I look forward to being home for the holidays. This castle trip has given me some ideas for back home, perhaps a moat…or maybe a pennant flying over the chimney.
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