We woke up before sunrise still jet-lagged from our overnight flight from Bangkok to Paris. We were browsing on Instagram and Davey noticed an amazing castle picture from one of the travel bloggers he follows. We looked it up and were shocked to discover that it was only 90 minutes away. So on the spur of the moment we decided to take our first road trip to Germany to check it out.
Davey enjoyed opening up the throttle on his first Autobahn drive but took it down a notch after striking a bird mid-flight. As we neared the castle, we drove through small German hillside villages that looked like they haven't changed in the last century and down a few one-lane roads to Eltz Castle.
Our trek to the castle started along a footpath that wound around a hilly river valley. We were the only people on the path. The morning mist and clouds gave the forest a surreal, magical atmosphere, like an elf or fairy could pop out at any second. We came around a bend after about 15 minutes and gasped- the enormous castle appeared with a river winding around it and a long, narrow cobblestone path leading up to the main gate. We walked around all sides of it and marveled.
We had a hunch to scramble up a wooded hillside for a birds-eye view so we mountaineered through pricker bushes and muddy slopes straight up on crumbling shale rock. We were pretty sure that our hike was prohibited by the local authorities but we could not turn back after spotting a medieval bastion structure at the top of the hill. There were tons of prickers and it was tough going, but we pressed on to find a totally abandoned, multistory stone structure with staircases and hidden doorways. The structure's gate was locked, but since we came through the woods we got free, secluded access for an awesome climbing session. At parts of our climb we were above the highest trees on top of sheer walls built in the middle ages, covered in slippery moss.
After castle hiking, we headed to Trier, a German village located just across the border from Luxembourg. It was settled by the Romans in 100ish AD. Several of the structures are still intact including a gladiator ring, roman baths and a 4-story town gate called Porta Nigra. Massive stones composed the gate engraved with flowers and scenes of ancient Rome. We climbed up to orient ourselves with views of the town. It is crazy to think that these structures are almost 2000 years old and still standing super sturdy. The center of town has cobblestone walking streets and tons of charm. We ate bratwurst and then visited the UNESCO heritage site churches which were huge, cavernous and spooky.
We can't wait to explore more castles!
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