Friday, September 20, 2013

Cochem Castle - Last visit to Germany

 Yes, I am back in the United States preparing to lead a much less adventurous life in Nevada. But things moved so fast at the end of the summer that I never got to blog about our last trip to Germany. And as my new life is going to be depressingly devoid of European travel, I have to maximize the memories.

Back in early August I took Brannick and Delaney up to Germany. We flew up in a C-130 - their first time doing a Space A hop in a military plane.  Delaney had been invited to attend Girls Camp with the Kaiserslautern Stake and Brannick just needed to get off base for a bit. We were able to stay with our good friends Mark and Karen Bowen, who had just moved from Incirlik to Spangdahlem.  Since we arrived a few days before the camp started, the Bowens took us to a castle festival they had heard about.

This is Cochem Castle. It's a darling castle on a hill overlooking the Mosel River.  It was built around the year 1000 by a count. That nasty Frenchie - King Louis XIV, aka the Sun King, pretty much destroyed it in 1689 and it lay in ruins for almost 200 years. Then in 1868 a German businessman named Ravene bought it and rebuilt it in a Neo-Gothic style. As was the fashion, he used it as a summer home.  Can you imagine? Forget a villa, or a beach cottage, let's go summer in a castle.  Since 1978 the castle has been city owned and every year they have great little Medieval type festivals.
Me and my peeps.

 To my everlasting disappointment, there were no knights skipping around banging coconut halves together. (Is it wrong that my image of history is influenced by Monty Python?) But they did have these guys:
The cheesiest sword fighting you can possibly imagine. We decided that WWF wrestler rejects get jobs as festival swordsmen.  Not only were they completely unbelievable but in manliness they were a pale second compared to these guys:

Bare chests, long leather skirts, big drums and bagpipes. Yep, it doesn't get more masculine than that. Brannick loved them and I'll admit the music was pretty rockin' even in another language. Too bad they weren't selling CDs. 

Eventually we took a tour of the castle, which advertised an English tour guide. I have no doubt that he could speak English but the tour was most definitely in German. He gave us a paper with a short English description of each room and left us on our own. 

Boy armor.

Girl armor. (Just kidding).
And Goliath's armor.
 Seriously, that guy was tall. Too bad there were no pro basketball teams in the Middle Ages.  Maybe it would have been too hard to dribble a basketball and bang your coconuts together at the same time?

We really enjoyed the festival. It was a beautiful day, good company and good fun.

Here's the crazy part. Stay with me cuz it's a bit convoluted. Last October the whole family visited Burg Eltz (this post) and for Christmas Carson found a small resin plate depicting Burg Eltz at the base thrift store.  He was so excited to give it to me.  Then just in time for Mother's Day he found a similar plate with another castle on it.  I hung it on the wall next to the Burg Eltz one. After I got back from this trip I happened to look at the plates and realized that the Mother's Day plate was of Cochem Castle!! How's that for a coincidence?

Finally - just to prove that I really am in Arizona - here's a picture of two javelina we saw in Saguaro National Monument one morning. Kind of a smaller version of the one the boys shot in Pozanti.  And see those mountains in the background? Those are the Catalinas, an indelible part of my childhood mental landscape. They say 'home' to me.

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