The fact that I can pack us a picnic lunch, and drive no more than 30 minutes in three separate directions and end up at three different castles is the best example I can give of how spoiled I am living here. It is nearing the end of the school year so there are all sorts of days off to help everyone ease into summer… field days, teacher training, and yes, more German holidays. On one of these days recently, Brock, Poppy and I packed up and had a picnic lunch at Burg Frauenburg, a castle just a mere 15 minutes away, just outside of Idar-Oberstein.
Burg Frauenburg has captivated me for 3 years now. Every time I drove to Idar-Oberstein, which is at least once a month, I would pass this castle and wonder. The style looks so much older than the stone that remains, and it is so close to the castles Bosselstein & Oberstein… there must be a story. And indeed there is!
Why does the castle look so fresh? The truth is that the ruins were restored not too long ago, but the ruins that the restoration refreshed were from the early 1300’s, hence the simple style. Known as the “woman’s castle”, Frauenburg was inhabited by Countess Lauretta of Sponheim as a widow’s residence. Lauretta was quite the woman. She was known for her diplomacy, which for a female in the early 1300’s was quite a feat. Diplomacy may not me the best word for her style… let’s just say that you did not want to mess with her.
Acting as regent for her young son, she robbed and then imprisoned the head of another noble family until he pled allegiance to her son. But that is nothing. She is best known for her actions in 1328, when she and her crew surprise attacked the Elector Balduin of Luxembourg (one of the most powerful men in Europe at the time) on a boat trip. After tough negotiations, and his almost 9 month imprisonment in another castle, she forced him to a large ransom. Legend has it that this ransom was used to build the castle we visited, the castle she would live out her days after her regency ended upon the marriage of her son. The actions she took against the Elector had her excommunicated from the church, but I guess she was one of those “go big or go home” type of ladies.
I don’t know about you but I am impressed! It is a shame that the castle is in such ruin today. The path through the woods is clearly marked and only takes a few minutes from where you can park your car. Brock was very excited about the creek and little waterfalls (water flowing over a log) that the path followed at first, and Poppy was on patrol.
When we reached the castle, I spread our picnic quilt out on an alcove in the 2.5 meter thick wall. The ground was still pretty wet with dew, and I thought being higher up I may be able to keep Poppy still while we ate.
After lunch we played. Although it is possible to arrange a private tour of the towers, they were locked to us so exploring the ruin took all of 5 minutes. We had fun though. Brock practiced his “bad guy laugh” under the stone archways and loved how it echoed upon the thick rock walls.
It was a humid day, but an excellent break from the thunderstorms we had been having. They are quite rare over here but last week we had one every day! I was itching to get out, and the woman’s castle was just the perfect fit.
The following week Brock had two more days off of Kindergarten. I wanted to do an overnight trip since Fil is away, but I could not decide on a location. Poppy would be with us so I had to find a place that would be fun for Brock and I, someplace Poppy would be allowed (which is Europe isn’t too hard to do), and make sure that the driving distance was worth the increase in my blood pressure 🙂 . Traveling by myself with Brock is easy. Traveling with Poppy is easy. But traveling by myself with Poppy and Brock is a whole other story. I had it narrowed down to the Black Forest or Holland when I had a strike of genius and shared the ideas with Fil. Fingers crossed, all of us will go to the Black Forest for a weekend in July, and I will see what I wanted in Holland by myself while Fil stays home with Brock and Poppy another weekend. So stay tuned for more adventures from us! In the meantime, we will continue to have fun and enjoy Germany. Lately we have been spending lots of time at the playground but we also started our series of fun day trips.
First was Eifel Park, an amusement park with rides and animals. We have been to this park before, and it always delivers a fun, sun tanned day.
We also went to Monster Jam in Frankfurt with the Mozak’s, our adventuring buddies. For as much as Brock loves monster trucks, I think he had more fun on the train to and from the city than at the actual event. He was more interested in playing with the monster truck toy I bought him than watching the show. 🙂
And last, we finally hit up Aqua Mundo, an indoor water park at Lake Bostalsee. I cannot tell you how many times we have gone to the lake, but this was the first time going into the water park. Brock had an absolute blast on all the water slides and digging in the sand and shallow water area. He is definitely ready for the beach this summer. San Diego here we come! (My sister is getting married there in August)
We are still waiting on our list of options for our next move, but we should have it in the next couple weeks. Keep your fingers crossed for us that it is full of good locations and jobs.
Thanks for reading, and crossing those fingers!