I love historic buildings, may they be manor houses, fortresses or castles, so when we visited my Nan in Germany, it was the unwritten rule to visit Castle Falkenstein, which is only a 20 minute drive away from her. It has always been one of my favourites, although there are much prettier castles in Germany, but I just love that it’s situated in midst the Harz mountains surrounded by nothing but nature.
The castle itself was built between 1120 and 1180 and although it has seen a lot of modifications over the past centuries, it still retains the character of a typical medieval castle. Maybe that’s the reason why it was often used as a backdrop for many TV productions of the East German television?
The most significant event in the history of Castle Falkenstein or Burg Falkenstein, as Germans call it, took place in 1220 when Eike von Repgow drew up here the first ever German law book, the Sachsenspiegel.
Today, the castle and its museum are one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Harz mountains. It is part of the Romanesque Road and its restaurant offers traditional ‘knightly’ food that you should definitely try when you visit. The venison gulash with braised red cabbage was our favourite and the prices are really really affordable.
After lunch, you should make time for one of the falconry displays in the castle grounds. There are a couple of them during the day, but the one we saw took place at 2 p.m. and gave a great insight into the work they are doing with the birds.
A trained falconer introduced local birds of prey and showed off their skills while telling us a little more about the training methods that the falconry team use to teach the birds different skills. Amy was absolutely fascinated by the entire display and looked so concentrated.
After our little lesson in ornithology, we entered the courtyard of the castle from where you can start the tour around the museum. As Amy is still a little young, we decided to discover the castle on our own and I think it was the right decision for us as she quickly got bored and decided to jump into one of the exhibited beds – luckily I could stop her just in time. Phew!
Unfortunately, photography wasn’t allowed inside the castle, so I could only squeeze in this snapshot of the kitchen before a ward came to tell me off. Oops! You can see a couple of images here though, so do check them out, if this is something that you are interested in.
The view from the tower however is something that I can share with you. Isn’t it breathtaking? The last time I stood up here, I was a good couple of years younger and I swear the ground didn’t seem as far away as it did this time.It might have just been my mummy nerves kicking in when Amy started running circles about 102 feet above the ground.
On our way back, we did something that I usually wouldn’t even dream of doing: We went on one of these touristy trains and almost got a concussion or two. The ride was so bumpy that I thought my stomach contents would come out to say hello, but it made my Nan happy and I think Amy enjoyed it too. Well, they do look happy, don’t you think?