Mesmerizing European Countryside
When I was 15, I went to Germany to visit my uncle for two months. Even though I missed quite a bit of school, I witness so much of the European history first hand that I could have never learned in a classroom from a textbook. Witnessing the historic castles first-hand, the water filled streets of Venice, Italy, and tasting real German beer, taught me much more then reading the text in my history book.
The history of the German castles truly amazes me. The Konigstein Fortress found on the border of Germany and Switzerland is breathtaking. There are many guard shacks and enormous watch towers all the way up the mountain side that spiraled behind the tall stone walls could not be perceived from a textual reading. The pathway leading to the top of the mountain where the actual castle itself sits takes over an hour at a typical walking pace. Each guard post on the way up gets larger and stronger, more heavily guarded, however many did not have a roof over them. The guards operating them stood out in all elements of the weather, which had to be extremely harsh at times being that the fortress sits at the base of the Swiss Alps. As you walk to get to the top, you realize how much honor the guards had for their King, during the 13th- 15th centuries. The booby traps that the guards used if needed were still in place as if untouched after over 700 years.
The Schwerin Castle is everything that a young girl thinks of when she hears the word castle. The marvelous structure sits on an island surrounded by two crystal clear lakes, giving it the fairytale castle image with moats encircling it. At the time I toured the castle, it was used as a museum with magnificent high vaulted ceilings, exotic Middle Ages and Renaissance era works of art, 13-18th century weapons and armor, and absolutely stunning Renaissance era furniture. It is fascinating to imagine how these structures were built before all the modern technology of our...