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In Search of a Castle in SW Germany

Updated: Mar 23, 2023

On our last day in SW Germany we weren’t sure what we should do, but we knew that we would love to see more castles. A short search brought us to a small town about an hour train ride away with numerous castles known as Annweiller am Trifles. The only catch was that all of the castles are closed for December and January, and of course our trip was in the middle of December… Knowing our chances of actually being able to explore a castle weren’t great, we went anyway. The idea of exploring somewhere new was stronger than our fear of wasting a day, so we jumped on the train and headed south. Poor Jonas still had to work so it was just Natalie, Logan and I, but we were stoked none the less.

The first impressions of the town were underwhelming. There was a bit of a weird vibe and everything except beauty shops seemed to be closed. Even the cafes. We found two open restaurants and that was all. But we could see one of the castles from town and it didn’t look like too far of a hike, so we grabbed a Donair from one of the two open restaurants and started to walk up the hill.

The center of the old town had some really cool old buildings and a couple of working paddle wheels along a canal that Logan was very excited about. If we hadn't been so hungry and the days weren't so short we probably would have done more digging into the history of this area and some more exploring, but we had a castle to reach.

Golden markers in the pavement showing Jewish people who lived her before they were taken by the nazis

The hiking trails wound back and forth and back and forth and back and forth up the mountain through oak and beech forest until we finally reached the entrance gate to the castle. Everything was closed, but we walked up the service road to the grand Trifles Castle or Reichsburg Trifels perched atop a large sandstone outcropping. The fortress was formidable and it wasn’t difficult to understand how this location had been chosen, or why it had been such a great defensive fortress in the past. It is located in the Palatinate forest which is the same forest we hiked to the ruined castle near Neustadt.

This castle actually fell into ruin in the 1400s and was used as a rock quarry before being reconstructed throughout the 20th century. The current version is a 20th century re-imagining and not completely accurate to its medieval original. We walked under the large arch and up to the first gate with high hopes of accessing the grounds of the castle, but of course, instead we found a set of closed doors. So, naturally, we did the best we could to walk around the steep trails that skirt the base of the castle in hopes of finding a secret entrance or low wall we could scurry over in order to give ourselves a private tour. Instead we stared up at the towering walls of a once important point of protection as we found prickly trees, sheer cliffs and a castle living up to its reputation.

So whatever. Next time I guess. It was still worth the hike up and we now have somewhere to return to in the future. Also, if you're interested in seeing this adventure in video form, you can join us on Patreon for as little as $10/ month to see the patreon-only video of the journey that we released.

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