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.
The houses you can see in the background of the last picture are in Hardenburg itself. It looks like a cute little village.
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!
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)
A stone tortoise (or possibly turtle?), complete with rider.
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.
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:
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.
We didn’t go in, but through the window the restaurant looked nice.
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.
Time to return to my 30 German towns before 30 series…
Jan and I went to Rhodt unter Riedburg in April 2011 on the recommendation of a friend. The village is located in the Südliche Weinstraße (Southern Wine Route) area of Rhineland Palatinate and they’ve been making wine there for more than 1,200 years!
The Rietburg in the place name is a castle (now ruins), which is located on the Blättersberg, a small mountain (some might say hill) just outside the village. Hence, the name of the village literally means Rhodt under the Rietburg.
We were told that the path leading up the mountain through the woods was a nice walk, so after parking the car in the village and grabbing an ice cream (YUM!) we set off to check it out. Our route took is through the fields of grapes. Here, you can see our destination – the top of the mountain – and on the right Villa Ludwigshöhe, which was the summer residence of King Ludwig I of Bavaria.
Part way up the mountain, we spotted these guys, who I just had to take a photo of:
Now that’s the kind of art that appeals to me! It was a nice, sunny day but thankfully not too hot – climbing mountains (or even hills) when it’s boiling is no fun!
I kept stopping to take photos and catch my breath (I was – and am – sooo unfit!), which annoyed Jan slightly. But how could I not when it was all so pretty?
Eventually, we did reach the top though. The remains of the Rietburg castle are now a restaurant, and there is also a platform from where you can see the view.
We decided to eat at the restaurant there, and I tried Saumagen (sow’s stomach) for the first time. Well, it is a speciality of the Pfalz (Palatinate), and you know what they say about when in Rome… It was quite salty but not as bad as it sounds. I’d probably give it about an 8 out of 10.
Behind the castle, there is a wildlife enclosure, so after eating we went to have a look at that. Aren’t the deer pretty?
There was nothing more to see on the mountain, so we took the chairlift down and walked back to the village via the vineyards again.
On the way back through the village, I spotted this. I thought it was rather nice.
And then I had to take a photo of this little street because I loved the blue shutters on the house on the right!
There wasn’t a great deal to do in Rhodt and I can’t imagine it being very interesting on a rainy day, but our friend was right about the Blättersberg being a great place to go for a walk. The food at the restaurant up there was good (and not too expensive) and I also tried some local white wine, which I really enjoyed. The Villa Ludwigshöhe usually has art exhibitions, but was unfortunately closed for a private event when we were there, and they also have a Fest des neuen Weines (New Wine festival) in September of each year. On a sunny day, I would recommend not only climbing the mountain, but also having a look around the village. There are some really pretty buildings! And if you don’t go on a Sunday (as we did) you might even be able to buy a few bottles of the local wine…