A spontaneous trip to Bruchsal

I woke up early on Saturday and couldn’t get back to sleep, so I decided to take a spontaneous trip somewhere. I arrived at Karlsruhe train station with no real plan in mind, checked the board and decided to jump on a train to Bruchsal that was about to leave. Technically, I’ve been to Bruchsal before, but only to the castle so I had no idea what the town itself was like. I knew it wasn’t that big though, so I thought it would be the perfect place for wandering around by myself. In a proper city, I would only go and get myself lost! At Bruchsal train station, I had a quick look at a map, made a note of the general direction of the town centre then was on my way. Here are a few photos:

After about 45 minutes of walking around, I found myself at the castle. As I said earlier, I’ve been there before, so I didn’t go inside. There are some pretty interesting exhibits in there though – including the Deutsches Musikautomaten-Museum (German Museum of Mechanical Musical Instruments) and an exhibition showing the history of Bruchsal from the Stone Age until now . I had a quick wander around the grounds, took some photos, then headed back to the station where a train was conveniently waiting for me to jump straight on!

In terms of tourism, Bruchsal isn’t actually all that interesting. There are some nice looking streets and a few parks, but the main attraction really is the castle. Once you’ve seen that, there isn’t actually a great deal to do. I definitely wouldn’t come from further afield specifically to visit Bruchsal! It was good enough for my purposes though – not too far from Karlsruhe and it got me out of the house for a few hours. I didn’t want to stay out for too long in case there was any word from England, so this gave me the perfect opportunity to explore a place that I didn’t really know without going too far away from home. If you’re ever in the area with an hour or so to spare, I would certainly recommend visiting the castle.

Neuschwanstein and Augsburg

Schloss Neuschwanstein

My previous post about our long weekend away ended with Jan and I driving along the Romatic Road on our way to Schloss Neuschwanstein…
Castle Neuschwanstein is actually located in the village of Hohenschwangau, or rather above it… but if I’d put that in my title nobody would have known what I was talking about! We arrived at the carpark for the castles (there are actually two at the site) in the rain… but that hadn’t put the tourists off! When we tried to buy tickets for the castle, we discovered that the next possibly entry would be in two hours time… all the tours before that were already fully booked. Not wanting to hang around for two hours, we decided to just have a walk around instead. There were signs pointing to a lake, so that’s where we headed. To get there, we passed the second castle at the sight – which was actually there first! Schloss Hohenschwangau was the childhood residence of King Ludwig II of Bavaria and was built by his father, King Maximilian II of Bavaria.

Neuschwanstein Castle itself was Ludwig’s baby… he paid for it using his own money (rather than funds from the state of Bavaria) and it was built in the architectural style known as castle romanticism (Burgenromantik in German). The foundation stone for the castle was laid in September 1869 and by the end of 1882, it was completed and furnished to the extent that the king was able to move in and observe the remaining construction. The palace was dedicated to the work and life of composer Richard Wagner, but he died in 1883 without ever having set foot in the place. In the end, King Ludwig hiself only spent a total of 172 days in the castle. These days, Neuschwanstein is famous as being the inspiration for Disney’s Sleeping Beauty Castle, among others, and millions of tourists flock to see it every year… even on cold, rainy days in November! I took a lot of photos of the castle, working on the principle that at least one of them would have to turn out reasonable! Here are a few… I like to think the clouds make for a mysterious look, rather than just a dull, grey one 😉

When we left Schwangau, it was still quite early so instead of driving straight home we took a slight detour via Augsburg. As we drove, the rain got less and less and by the time we arrived in Augsburg it was quite sunny. It was even warm, as long as you stayed within the shelter of the buildings… on the open squares, the wind was blowing something fierce! We walked around Augsburg for maybe an hour and a half before grabbing a coffee and Lebkuchen (the first one of the year!) at a cafe called Dichtl. Here are some of the photos I took walking around Augsburg. Note the blue skies… the first we had seen since leaving Austria!

And that was the end of our trip. Once we left Augsburg, we drove straight back to Karlsruhe (where we found our landlady trying to contact the boiler company because we had neither heating nor hot water… but that’s not a story for this post!).
I hope I didn’t overwhelm you with photos in this post. I tried to achieve a happy medium between not showing enough and cramming the post full!

That’s two trips down on #Take12Trips… I wonder where the other ten will take me?

Travel theme: Through

Another week, another travel theme.
When I saw that Ailsa had chosen “Through” for this week, I immediately thought of a photo that would be just perfect. All I had to do was find it… and here it is:


It was taken in Stockholm, looking through the fork in a tree trunk towards the water and the buildings on the island beyond.

Looking at my other photos, I discovered some more taken with a “through” perspective. I’ve posted the next one before, but it’s very fitting. It was taken from the Hohensalzburg fortress, looking through a window at the city below.


Next up, a photo from my home country. It was taken in Alnwick, Northumberland looking through one of the cross-shaped gaps on the Lion Bridge towards the castle.

Alnwick Castle

Some of you may recognise the castle. It has featured in various films and TV series, including Harry Potter and Blackadder.
More from England, this time Dover. This was taken standing on the cliffs looking through some trees.


And finally, one from Ireland. This is Dunguaire Castle, viewed through the window of a ruined cottage just opposite it. It would have been a much better picture if the stupid car hadn’t been in the way!

Dunguaire Castle

I could have posted more photos – apparantly I like taking shots of things through other things – but I think that’s enough.

To join in yourself and see how other people have interpreted the theme, check out Ailsa’s blog post.

Ireland – The Route

I’ve spent a few days trying to find the perfect site to create a map of our route, but the closest I could get to what I wanted was this map I created on ZeeMap: Ireland 2013 Map (open in a new tab if you don’t want to leave this post). The red markers are places we stayed in, the purple ones are places we stopped en route from one overnight place to the next and the green markers are day trips from a place where we stayed the night. Unfortunately, what I didn’t manage to do on ZeeMaps was draw lines between the places, so all I eneded up with is a confusing mess of different coloured markers. *Sigh*. Obviously all this advanced technology stuff is not for me. So I was left with no option but to take a screenshot of the map I linked to above and draw in the lines by hand. Here’s the result:

How we drove around Ireland
How we drove around Ireland

Still confusing, but it does give some idea of the route we took. The purple line shows how we drove between the places we were stayingand the green shows day trips from those places. Hopefully things will become a lot more clear once I start posting about the individual places. In the meantime, here’s the list of places we visited, in chronological order but without dates…

  • Dublin
  • Bray, County Wicklow
  • Enniskerry, County Wicklow
  • Powerscourt Waterfall, near Enniskerry, County Wicklow
  • Glendalough, County Wicklow
  • Kilkenny
  • Jerpoint Abbey, Thomastown, County Kilkenny
  • Kells Priory, County Kilkenny
  • Dunmore Cave, Ballyfoyle, County Kilkenny
  • Leighlinbridge, County Carlow
  • Rock of Cashel, Cashel, County Tipperary
  • Cahir Castle, Cahir, County Tipperary
  • Blarney, County Cork
  • Bantry, County Cork
  • Priest’s Leap – a mountain pass on the Cork/Kerry border
  • Killarney
  • Dingle, County Kerry (well, near it anyway)
  • Inch Beach, County Kerry
  • Dunquin, County Kerry
  • Waterville on the Ring of Kerry
  • Moll’s Gap on the Ring of Kerry
  • Ladies View on the Ring of Kerry
  • The Gap of Dunloe, Killarney National Park
  • Adare, County Limerick
  • Galway
  • Dunguaire Castle, Kinvarra, County Galway
  • The Cliffs of Moher, County Clare
  • Poulnabrone Dolmen, The Burren, County Clare
  • Connemara National Park, County Galway
  • Leenane, County Galway
  • Athenry, County Galway
  • And finally… Dublin again

Stay tuned to find out what we did in each of the places on the list…