Friday, December 21, 2012

Fort, Château, Palais, or Castle?

Though I'm still saddened by the happenings in Newtown, I feel my blog should continue to press on. My prayers will remain with the families though.

This past weekend, Mr. K and I took a vacation to the Alsace region in France. We were staying in Strasbourg, France, but decided to do a day trip to Sélestat where we could go visit a castle (and I mean a true castle- not a fort, not a small palace, but a real castle). We took a local train from Strasbourg to Sélestat and then a Navette (bus) from Sélestat to the Château du Haut-Kœnigsbourg (which is actually in a commune called Orschwiller just west of Sélestat) in the Vosges mountains.

We were lucky to get there. They only do buses on the weekends in winter and we got to take the last bus up to the castle before they closed for the day. Our bus driver was a little grumpy, but he still let us on (we were afraid he would say no.)

We got there and found out we had an hour and thirty minutes to see all the castle before they closed up. So here is the speed trip of the castle:

Here's the side of the castle. Hard to get a good shot, but it's very lovely with the beaver tail tiles on the roof.

 Still the side view.

Getting towards the front here. You can see the regional flag.

They had a model of the entire castle carved in stone in the courtyard, so of course I took a picture. Now you can see how huge this castle is!

We went into the castle and I just fell in love with the lighting and time of day. Look at those windows!

 As you can see, Mr. K liked them too, but we were freezing up on the mountain so we decided to try to go inside.

 The inside was pretty warm...for a castle. It was probably about 50F. But when we walked into the wood panelled chambers, wow. It was warm and lovely and inviting.

Here, Mr. K has not yet seen the painted wood in the study. He was marvelling at the intricacy of the few panels in the other room. As soon as he walked in, his jaw dropped to the floor. Not too shabby, I'd say.

And here is the dining room of the castle, done in the hunting lodge style, but complete with tree.

We walked up to the towers...very windy! I could hardly keep the camera still enough to take a picture of the Vosges mountains. The window shot was very hard as the window made a tunnel effect.

Voila! Les Vosges!

Or these could be the Vosges...

All I know is that the castle is surrounded by woods and up on a mountain with tons of wind. But it is pretty.

Coming down the other side of the castle you can see the beaver tail tiles.
They helped to keep the rain, snow, and wind out. I think they are lovely.

And of course, you cannot have a hunting lodge dining room without a hunting lodge antler room. Just isn't done. 

 We managed to finish the tour a few minutes before they closed.
It was already dusk as we left the castle, and upon walking to the bus, it became night. Mind you, that's only 10 minutes. Darkness sure falls quickly in the mountains.
But, this shot turned out nicely, I think.

 We took the bus back down to Sélestat and then continued on to Strasbourg (again) to our hotel. But Strasbourg is another post! Until next time!

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