Friday, June 6, 2008
I should be packing...
...But I'm writing this post instead. And, because I'm a dork, I will be trying out the automatic post setting so this goes up tomorrow instead of today. I'm leaving on a 6:23 AM train to Prague tomorrow, but I thought I'd put up some castle pics from the last 2 weeks. I'll try inserting some, and then you can follow the link to the album - as my Salzburg pics haven't been up that long!
The first castle we went to last week was the castle Molly was giving her report on (with another guy). She was pretty nervous but did a really good job. Leuchtenberg has been preserved/partially reconstructed and is actually used as a theater. It apparently attracts over 30,000 visitors a summer. It had a terrifically tall tower and an incredible out-look.
The second castle was almost entirely in ruins. It was definitely reconstructed, but it also had a great outlook. There wasn't anything very special about this one - until Konnie, a good friend of Christine and a very helpful translator in the class - told us some back-history. See this picture?
If you look closely, you'll notice that starting in the middle of the picture, the houses all have very unique (and nice-looking) stone bases. I pointed these out to Kevin (who came along as he was still in Regensburg) and wondered aloud about them. Konnie came over and said that the instructor had told her that they were the SS Officer's houses. In one of the other more zoomed-out pictures you can see both a watch tower and the stone quarries where the "work camp" prisoners were forced to work. Apparently the town only very recently (within the last 5 years) finally erected a memorial to the camp workers. Apparently, one the most famous of Germany's war-time Lutheran (who later founded the "Confessing Church") Pastors -Dietrich Bonhoeffe - was imprisoned and eventually died there - tortuously hung to death in so brutal a manner that wikipedia claims that the "Wehrmacht soldiers were loathe to watch". He had been part of the failed assassination plot against Hitler and had actually returned to Germany to minister, knowing that he faced almost certain death.
This lovely castle has been extensively remodeled into a retirement home. Much of the exterior was preserved, along with selective other areas of the inside. We saw the prisons, the church and the beautiful round room:
Molly is standing in front of one of the windows in a red-armed, white shirt and Konnie is sitting down in a red shirt near the end - she has short blond hair. At the end frame you can see a very tall and gangly red-headed man (in his early 30's) and next to him a short, stout and gray-headed man. Those are our two Professors. Sorry if it makes you dizzy!
The tour was somewhat marred by the fact that two "hobby-historians" accompanied us and kept interrupting the report-givers - and then only speaking in Bavarian! Sigh.
The last castle was that of a ruin that is perched high about the Donau. From it's lookout, you can see Regensburg. My camera died before I could take pictures of the monster thistles (taller than me!) but you should be able to get an idea from the picture. Apparently it was the stereotypical "Romantic" castle, with huge palatial living quarters and was heavily fortified. I believe the Swedes burned it down during the 30 years war.
Anyhow, I should really pack now as I have to get up in 6 hours. Hope you enjoyed the pictures/movie and a little bit of castle history!
Hope all is well,