The weather forecast for yesterday was very slightly better than today, so we spontaneously decided to go out yesterday afternoon. As Jan hadn’t got out of bed until after 1 p.m, it had to be somewhere we could get to quickly, so we decided on Rastat, which is about 25 minutes away.
Our first stop was at Schloss Favorite, which is actually slightly outside of Rastatt, in Förch – a small village in the district of Rastatt.
It was originally used as the summer residence of Duchess Franziska Sibylle Auguste of Saxe-Lauenburg and later as a pleasure and hunting palace by her son, Ludwig Georg Simpert, Margrave of Baden-Baden, who was nicknamed Jägerlouis (Hunting Louis – Ludwig is the German form of the name Louis).
Miraculously, the sun came out briefly while we were there. Check it out – the sky behind the castle is almost blue!
You can only go inside the castle as part of a tour, and it costs €8. In our case, it didn’t cost anything because it’s included on our Museumscard (I may write a separate post on that some time because the Museumscard is FANTASTIC!). Tours are only available in German though, as far as I know. We weren’t allowed to take photos inside the building, which is unfortunate because it was very impressive. All along the stairs, where the skirting board would usually be, there are blue and white tiles. They look like Delft porcelain, but in fact they’re only Delft style and were made in Nuremberg. The fireplaces are also covered in blue and white tiles, and there are other pieces of blue and white porcelain on display as well, including bowls, vases and jugs. We were told the duchess was a collector and actually referred to Schloss Favorite as her porcelain palace.
The one room where we were allowed to take photos was the Gartensaal (Garden Hall, I guess) right at the bottom, so here are a few pictures from there:
On the second picture, you can see some of the blue and white tiles in the background. And that’s only about 2% of what’s in the rest of the palace!
After the tour, we headed out into the gardens. The Schlosspark is pretty extensive, but by this time the sun had gone in so we didn’t walk around for long – it was cold!! I did manage to get a few photos though.
I bet it will look gorgeous later in the year when the sun’s out and the trees have leaves on them!
Next, it was time to drive in to Rastatt proper. Of course, by the time we got there everything was closed (and would have been even if it hadn’t been a holiday – the museums in the castle all close at 4:30 or 5 p.m., dpending on the day). There are something like three museums in the castle, all of which are included on the Museumscard, so we’ve decided to come back another day to look at them. Here are some photos of Rastatt:
The above is a memorial to soldiers from Baden killed during the First World War.
That scary looking sculpture/statue thing was entitled “Hommage a Picasso” (sorry, I’m sure that a should have an accent on it, but I’m not sure which way round it goes). Personally, I think it looks more like an hommage to someone’s nightmare!
Here’s the Rastatt castle. It’s rather orange!
After admiring the castle, we took a walk in to town, where I spotted this rather impressive metal sign:
There was a church on what appeared to be something like the main square:
By this time we were freezing, so it was time to head back to the car. On the way, we spotted a cute piece of graffiti that I just had to take a photo of!
Then it was time to find something to eat. We drove back to Hopfen Schlingel, a local brewery, which we had passed on our way in to town.
Isn’t the boy pointing out the entrance to their car park cute?
Here he is again on the door to the building. Note the plastic Easter eggs – decorating for every possible event or season is so German!
We each drank a beer – I had the Pils while Jan chose the Dreikorn beer (a Weizen, or wheat, beer).
Look, there’s that boy again!
To eat, Jan had Maultaschen (no photo) and I chose the Grillsteak – a great thick lump of pork with a pile of chips. There was also Kräuterbutter (herb butter), which is hidden by salad in this photo, but was a big ball of butter (I think they served it using an icecream scoop!) mixed with fresh herbs. Delicious, and well worth the protests from my bum and thighs 😉
I didn’t find Rastatt to be a particularly pretty town, but in terms of culture/history it certainly has a lot going for it! Apart from the museums in the castle, we discovered that there was an archealogical museum right next to the brewery where we ate. We presume that museum is within the former Festung (fortress) because a sign beside the door to the brewery told us that they were in what used to be the coach house.
If you’re looking for a typical, pretty German town with half-timbered houses and quaint little squares, then Rastatt is probably not for you, but for those who are interested in museums and history, it’s definitely worth a visit!