Tag Archives: travel

Vacation Snapshots

Berlin was great! Here are some snapshots from the trip. Travel post coming soon!

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Parkstein, Germany Part 1

Sunday was such a beautiful day in our little corner of Bavaria, so we decided to explore a local treasure, Parkstein (literal translation is Stone Park).

Geology: The Volcano and the Basalt Formation

Millions of years ago, a volcano sat at the center of what is now called Parkstein.

Parkstein 016
Basalt Formation
Basalt Wall
Basalt Wall

The mountain, peaking at about 595 meters above sea level, was formed about 24 million years ago.  The basalt wall itself is about 38 meters (124.6 feet) high.  The hexagonal basalt columns were formed by large eruptions of basalt lava.  It is considered one of the best basalt formations in Europe and is a sight of interest for geologists and those who are fascinated by geology.

Medieval History: The Castle (or Fortress)
Parkstein 023(1)
Stairway up to the summit.

On the way to the summit, the ruins of an early medieval castle tell the story of time. The castle was first mentioned in documents in 1053 and tells a rich history of its occupants from 1052 until its dismantling in 1759.

The legend of the emergence of the Stone Park castle says that a young count was hunting boar in the woods around the basalt formation.  He saw a magnificent boar and he pursued him up to the summit and killed the animal. Attracted by beauty of the place, he decided to build a castle on the summit.

View of Parkstein from the Castle Wall.
View of Parkstein from the Castle Wall.

However, the first record of the castle from 1053 states that the original keep was owned by King Conrad II and burned to the ground by his half-brother, Duke Konrad of Bavaria, during the Christmas of 1052.

The fortress was rebuilt at the turn of the century by Emperor Henry IV and became an imperial seat.  Though the castle changed ownership of the course of several hundred years, it reached its glory years in 1278 and 1435. A 30-year war ravaged the fortress and was eventually abandoned and left to the hands of nature and time.

Castle Interior: The Courtyard
Castle Interior: The Courtyard

By 1798, all that remained were ruins.  However, the town of Parkstein blossomed with the new country courthouse and became a judicial district.  On October 1, 1808 Parkstein became magistracy to Neustadt. The basalt formation, rich in granite, sandstone, and quartzite became a mining zone.

Remains of Exterior Wall

 

 

Turret
Turret

 

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Arrow Loop in the Turret
Recent History: The Church

 

Mosaic Station of the Cross
Mosaic Station of the Cross

 Dispersed around the park are these beautiful mosaic Stations of the Cross.  I could not find any information as to when these were installed, but they look fairly recent–perhaps sometime in the mid-late 20th century, but I am no historian so cannot be sure. Regardless of when they were placed here, they truly are beautifully made.

 

Parkstein 073
Throne of the Fey King

This “throne” is a very recent addition. The wood is not overly weathered and you can see swirls from a chainsaw on the seat.

Just think, in 300 years, people will visit this park and think “no what on earth? I thought Germany had no ‘kings’ in the 21st century?”

I call it the Throne of the Fey–yeah I am aware that the Fey are from Irish mythology.

This is the King of the Fey–and he IS Irish!

King of the Fey
King of the Fey

 

And this log is the home of the little faeries…

Faerie Home
Faerie Home

 

Christ, Mother Mary, and Mary Magdeleine
Christ, Mother Mary, and Mary Magdalene

Unfortunately, I was unable to find any information on these beautiful statues and was only able to glean a little bit of information about the church.  There is, however, a museum at the foot of the formation–which I found out about while doing my research for this post.  I am hoping to have more information for you in the follow-up post: Parkstein, Germany Part Two.

Right Side of the Church
Right Side of the Church

 

Front of the Church
Front of the Church

 

Looks like the door is open…Let’s go in shall we?

Church Door
Church Door

Don’t you just love old doors? I was fascinated by this one in particular.

I would love to show you the beauty hidden by these unassuming simple wooden doors.  I would love for you to see the Priests “throne” and the gold gilded ceiling. I want you to see the golden Illuminati symbol on the ceiling above the Priest’s “throne”, but alas, I cannot.

This was the very last picture I took before my camera shut down.  I really MUST remember to bring extra batteries with me.

At least Parkstein is just a 30 minute drive through beautiful countryside.  I will be headed back very soon and will share the beauty within the simple exterior of the church with you.

Until then, I hope you enjoyed this short tour of Parkstein.

Tschüß!

 
Sources:

Basalt Formation

Castle legend

Castle History

 

 

Twist: Bavarian Politics

Politics in Bavaria

Photo By Angelique Stevens: Politics in Bavaria

At first glance it is just a cool political billboard. But then I noticed the US Airforce Bomber–on the side of the corrupt government. Further observation led me to the sign that says “Nobelpries fur Snowden” (Nobel Prize for Snowden). As an American stationed by the US Army, this was not a pleasant reality check.  I saw this campaign ad shortly after finding out that Bavaria will no longer issue International Drivers Permits to US Department of Defense personnel or dependents–which means that we cannot drive beyond the borders of Germany.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Twist

Photograph taken with my Samsung Galaxy S Note III

It’s the Polizei!

Today I drove to Czech for the first time.  I’ve been there before with my friend, but until today she always drove.  I’m one of those people who can’t remember how to get to a place unless I am the driver.  We took my big American sized minivan.

Why is it called a minivan when there is nothing “mini” about it?

Getting to Czech was no big deal.  We went to our usual little shop where she bought her smokes and coffee, and I bought a bag of coffee beans.  Next up was a kännchen Kaffee (a small pot of coffee) while we enjoyed the warm spring weather on the patio.

pot of coffee
Kanchen Kaffee

After we finished our coffee in Czech, we drove back to Germany; our next destination was the used furniture store to look for a bookshelf and small dresser for myself and a wandshrank (a kitchen wall cupboard) for her.

We had barely crossed the border–which isn’t as clearly marked as you would think–when I saw flashing blue lights in my rear-view mirror.

What the heck?!?!  I was on a narrow busy street so I pulled into the nearest parking lot, all the while thinking what did I do? I know I wasn’t speeding. I didn’t miss any stop lights or signs. I stayed in my lane. I even remembered to turn off my head lights–always drive with your headlights on in Czech, but NOT in Germany!

The Polizei said something in German. My nervous response was “English?”

Just to let you know–I am ALWAYS nervous when I get pulled over for any reason–which is very rare! Being pulled over in a land that is foreign was quite frightening–especially since I had no idea what I did wrong and have very little understanding of the language.

I fish my Visa and my special driver’s license out of my purse while my friend hands me her identification.

The irony of the whole ordeal was that not an hour before this my friend and I had a conversation about Visa’s, German Laws, and passports.  Then my husband called and asked me where his passport was.  As a military family living abroad, I have to have my Visa on me at all times.

Apparently, there was a theme for the day.

So, the Polizei is standing there and asks if we came from Czech.  Thank God I was in the car with a local (meaning a German)! I might have peed my pants otherwise! She told him that we did just come back from Czech.  He wanted to know what if we purchased cigarettes.

Here’s the low down on buying smokes from Czech if you live in Germany. Each person is allowed to bring 4 cartons across the border.  My friend bought 4 cartons. We were good. I had to open the back of the van and show the Polizei our merchandise.

There is a big problem with smuggling and black market goods in our area because we are so close to the border, so the Polizei randomly pull people over when they cross the border from Czech into Germany.  I knew NONE of this!  I was convinced that I was being pulled over because of my big American van.  My friend explained it all to me and repeatedly told me that I did not get pulled over because of my”American” vehicle, but I’m still not entirely convinced.

After I got back into the van and the Polizei left, I exhaled, put my head on the steering wheel and tried to calm my nerves.  I was not ready to drive anywhere! So my darling friend, who desperately misses having a huge American sized van offered to drive.

Needless to say–but I’ll say it anyway–I let her drive.

The rest of the day was a blast and I got to hang out with some really cool Germans and have a few laughs.  Thanks to these awesome friends that I am making,  I’m understanding more of the German language.

Overall, because of the experience, I’m not so scared of the Polizei now and I have something to laugh about in my old age.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blogging Dilemma: The Eclectic Blog

I have a blogging dilemma. My blog is eclectic, because I am a woman of many interests.

Most of the blogs that I read are streamlined and focused on one general topic. There are blogs that give household tips, decor advice, and DIY tutorials. There are the blogs about travel which include plenty of information on travelling,  adventures in new places, and are full of photos.  Some writers have blogs that include writing tips, samples of their fiction, and poetry.  Some bloggers simply write about life in general–what their thoughts are on local, national, and international events, humanity, society, and quips about daily life experiences.

Then there is my blog.

It doesn’t have one genre.  I post furniture & decor projects, interior decorating that I’ve done to include home improvement. I post my musings, poetry, photography, scholarly writing and other various writing. I have just started sharing about my adventures of moving to and living in Germany and will be posting a lot of travel related writing.  I post about life–big and little moments.

I came across a post from The Daily Post’s “Blogging 201” series the other day.  Blogging 201, Day One: Set Three Goals encourages the blogger to “consider what you want to accomplish with your blog.”

When I first started my blog, my intentions were to share my writing and musings.  Then I began posting my DIY home improvement projects, furniture makeovers, and various crafts.  It has grown into an eclectic mess.

Do I simply leave it as is? Should I have two or three different blogs?

Tell me what you think I should do!