Bad Dürkheim

Römerplatz, Bad Dürkheim
Römerplatz, Bad Dürkheim

The weather forecast for yesterday wasn’t toooo bad (at least it didn’t mention rain), so we decided to take advantage of that and the fact that it was still the four-day Easter weekend and go to Bad Dürkheim for the afternoon.

Our first stop was in Hardenburg, a Stadtteil (district or quarter) of Bad Dürkheim, where the ruins of the Hardenburg castle are. Again, Hardenburg castle was on our Museumscard (actually, it’s officially the Museumspass in case anyone’s looking for it). Without the card, the entrance fee would have been €3. The castle was originally the seat of the Counts of Leiningen, but after it was destroyed by the French they moved to Bavaria. Here are some photos.

Bad Dürkheim Hardenburg


The houses you can see in the background of the last picture are in Hardenburg itself. It looks like a cute little village.

Bad Dürkheim Hardenburg


Once we’d had enough of the castle, it was time to head in to Bad Dürkheim proper. And the first thing I saw there was a red telephone box!

Bad Dürkheim phone box

Sadly, there’s no phone in it. A sign next to it explains that it was donated to Bad Dürkheim in the ’80s by British Telecom and the town of Wells, one of Bad Dürkheim’s partner towns.

Here are some other things we saw on our walk around Bad Dürkheim.
The Rathaus (Town Hall)

Bad Dürkheim Rathaus

A church – Catholic I think.DSCN2570_modified

A stone tortoise (or possibly turtle?), complete with rider.

Bad Dürkheim Kurpark

Another church – the Burgkirche. This one is protestant (Evangelical), but if I’ve understood the Internet correctly it’s no longer used as a church, but more of a community centre for the protestant community.

Burgkirche Bad Dürkheim

The building in front of it is a very cute half-timbered building, but I couldn’t manage to get the whole thing in with my camera.

By this time, we were freezing, so we decided to go and find something to eat. This is the place we chose:

Petersilie, Bad-Dürkheim

It’s called Petersilie, which means Parsley (as in the herb). I ate the home-made Frikadellen with potato salad, which was delicious, and Jan had Saumagen (Sow’s stomach). I tried a bit of his and it was much less salty than I remembered. We both drank wine, because that’s what you do in Rheinland-Pfalz! Bad Dürkheim is on the German wine route.

After dinner, we stopped by Bad Dürkheim’s famous giant wine barrel. It’s apparantly the world’s largest, but it was built purely as an advertising gimmick – there has never actually been wine in it! Instead, it contains a restaurant and always has.

Bad Dürkheimer Weinfass

We didn’t go in, but through the window the restaurant looked nice.

Side view
Side view
Restaurant in a wine barrel
Restaurant in a wine barrel

Bad Dürkheim is not the prettiest town I’ve ever visited, although it does have one or two nice buildings and squares scattered around. I also think it will look a lot nicer once the winter weather finally goes away and the spring flowers have a chance to come out! The few daffodils I saw scattered around looked decidedly sorry for themselves! As I’ve mentioned, Bad Dürkheim is on the German wine route, and as well as having the world’s largest wine barrel, it is also host to the world’s largest wine festival. The Wurstmarkt (which literally means Sausage Market) is held in the second and third week of September each year. We drove to Bad Dürkheim, but for a wine festival you’d be better of taking the train! From Mannheim, there’s a direct regional train that goes via Neustadt an der Weinstraße. Coming from anywhere else, you’ll need to change trains in either Mannheim or Neustadt.



A street in Rastatt, Germany
A street in Rastatt, Germany

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.

Schloss Favorite
Schloss Favorite

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!

Schloss Favorite2

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:

Looking up
Looking up


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.

Favorite Schlosspark

Schloss Favorite bridge

Schloss Favorite back view

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:

War memorial

The above is a memorial to soldiers from Baden killed during the First World War.

Hommage a Picasso

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!

Back of the castle
Back of the castle
Front of the castle
Front of the castle

After admiring the castle, we took a walk in to town, where I spotted this rather impressive metal sign:

Hotel Schiff

There was a church on what appeared to be something like the main square:

Square in front of the church
Square in front of the church

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!

Dog graffiti

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.

Hopfen Schlingel Einfahrt

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!

Hopfen Schligel Brauerei

We each drank a beer – I had the Pils while Jan chose the Dreikorn beer (a Weizen, or wheat, beer).

Hopfen Schlingel 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 😉

Grillsteak mit Pommes

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!