Monday, July 25, 2005

Travel report: Burg Hohenzollern

Our year in Germany wouldn’t have been complete without a good hike in the woods. Although our marvellous hosts, Heike and Rainer, didn’t quite measure up to the stereotyped German Wanderer with hi-tech sticks or a multi-function compass, they did scrub up well when it came to finding a beautiful place to visit.

In the south of our home state Baden-W├╝rttemberg, the majestic Burg Hohenzollern proudly sits atop a hill, an echt (real) many-centuries-old castle, not like Bavaria’s fanciful tourist-magnet, Neuschwanstein. After finding a number of roads closed due to a cycle race (these Germans are just too active), we finally reached a parking place then walked through the forest of a nearby hill, following a path with a bewildering array of markers and small signs to guide the presumably thousands of walkers who pass through in a year. At times I briefly felt that “alone with nature” sensation that’s all too rare in Europe (yet so familiar to me back home in Australia), but there was usually another small group coming around the corner – and this was on Saturday, the “nowhere-near-as-busy-as-Sunday” half of the weekend. But even if we hadn’t found an isolated spot to visit, it was still absolutely dazzling to catch sight of the castle in the distance – that's something you definitely don’t find back in Oz.

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