about a dream: Dürnstein

Saturday, January 5, 2013


Today we drove about to Dürnstein, a tiny little town in the Wachau region, with our visitor Marina. It was just beautiful!

The Wachau region has been on our hit list for a while. They've found evidence of human settlements dating back 32,000 years, so it's been a popular tourist spot for quite some time. Ha ha!

Our first order of business was some lunch at a little tavern. Delicious. The girls even had a glass of sparkling elderberry flower juice to drink. You certainly can't get that in Maine!

Once we had fortified ourselves, we began the hike up to the Dürnstein castle ruins. As usual, there were like 400 steps to climb, and I had to carry Maggie at least part of the time. Actually she did a really good job and did 90% of it on her own. Nina ran up and back without trouble, of course.
No one knows when the castle was built, but the earliest mention of it comes from 1192, when the famous Richard the Lionhearted was imprisoned there. He'd apparently offended Duke Leopold V while they were fighting together in the Crusades, and they decided to just lock him up there. I'm not sure how long he was there, or where he was actually held, but maybe it was here:
Look how sad we are to be imprisoned.

According to Wikipedia, the castle was destroyed in 1645 by the Swedes. Intersting! I didn't realize the Swedes had ever gotten this far south. Europe's history is utterly ridiculous. I love how they try to paint Americans like the war-hungry crazies, when they can't go 100 years without turning on each other and killing as many people as they can. Insane. They're all insane.

Anyway, we hiked around the ruins for a while, and Nina found even more rocks to climb because she wasn't tired out enough by the hike up
The castle looks out over the Danube River, which interestingly was flooded. It's only the beginning of January, so I'd imagine this is unusual. But it's been in the 40s for the last few days, and we've had a little rain. I'd imagine that this is what it usually looks like in March. They must have some kind of flood channels they divert extra water through, because there are no levies along the river and it was only 5 feet from flooding the road and town. Or not, I just googled it and it says the Danube River doesn't flood often, but when it does, things just get wet. They really should do something about that.
Danube River, from the Dürnstein castle ruins

We rounded the visit out with some shopping at the two little stores that were actually open (it was as boarded up as Boothbay in the winter), and I got a cute hat for just 4.90 (Euros).

It was a big day, and now I'm too pooped to write any more. I do have to put one more picture on here for Erik, though:
It's a photo of the menu from the place where we ate lunch. The bottom item on the list above where it says "süsses" (sweets) is "Bratenfettbrot" which translates to "sausagefatbread" (what does German have against spaces in words??). Which sounds shockingly like "grease bread," don't you think? I didn't order it though, because apparently they don't know that grease bread should always be served with cheese. Ha!

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