Bill and I have now lived in the Stuttgart area for a total of four years. We were here from 07-09 and we have been here this second time since August 2014. We have seen a lot of cool places in the local area, especially since we moved back here the second time. The first time we lived here, we spent way too many weekends cooped up at home. That was a huge mistake and we have been doing our best to rectify our error during our second Germany experience together (Bill had a third experience back in the 80s, but it was when I was still jailbait...)
Today, we finally made the trip to Schloss Lichtenstein. I am ashamed to admit that the first time we lived here, I had no idea this beautiful little castle near the town of Sonnenbühl even existed. It wasn't until we moved back and my new Facebook friends from the local community started posting pictures that I realized what I had missed. I have now seen several castles here in Germany and I think Schloss Lichtenstein may be among my favorites. I think I like it even more than the much hyped Neuschwanstein, which I did manage to see during my first time living here.
Bill and I set out for Schloss Lichtenstein at around noon. We expected our journey from Unterjettingen to take about an hour via B28. What we didn't know was that traffic was going to be absolutely horrendous driving through Tübingen and Reutlingen. Turns out there's a lot of construction going on in those towns, plus it was a beautiful day. Lots of people were out and about, so traffic was backed up.
Having studied the route before we left, I was surprised Bill didn't opt for B27, which would have taken us south of the construction. We did come back that way and it was much easier going!
The drive to the castle is absolutely gorgeous and it was so nice to have the top down on the convertible, speeding along country roads. As we approached the parking lot and saw all the cars there, I could see there were lots of people who decided today was a good day to see the castle... or perhaps they had come for the Abenteuer Park...
Here are a couple of shots I got of the ropes course. Lots of people were there today, enjoying the zip lines and climbing challenges. Much to my great surprise, Bill said it looked like fun and he wants to come back and try it! I might have to sit at the biergarten when he does...
We momentarily thought it would be a good idea to eat before we visited the castle, but did not realize that the onsite restaurant Altes Forsthaus (Old Forester's Lodge) had been booked for a wedding reception. It was closed. So we went on to the castle. Here are some photos I took.
You can either pay a couple of euros to walk around the grounds or opt for the tour. The tours run for about 30 minutes and cost 7 euros for adults and 3,50 euros for children. Our tour was done in German, although you can purchase a card that explains everything in a different language. I understand English tours are also available on request. We muddled through with German; consequently, I didn't understand everything that was said. Guess I'll read up on it.
I was kind of sad that we didn't get to go to the top of the tower. The tour was very short and really only consisted of the first two floors. The inside of the castle is beautiful, though, and well worth seeing.
I think it was worth the price of admission just to get the pictures! Wow, this is one pretty little Schloss!
I think this is my favorite photo of the day!
This is the chapel, which I understand can be rented for weddings or baptisms. There is also a tiny chapel in the castle itself. The ceiling looked like it came straight from Florence.
After we toured the castle, we decided to go have lunch at the Castle's Tavern. This is basically a snack bar that offers a few items of substance. I noticed they had a few specials today to include a vegetarian dish and Maultaschen. They also had turkey schnitzel and the usual wursts with pommes. Bill got us two schnitzels while I waited. He ordered in German and the lady behind the counter answered in perfect English as she handed him a "beeper" to let him know when our order was up.
I took a photo of our spot in the biergarten... little did I know, this was the calm before the "storm".
Ahh... lovely export beer...
Our schnitzels... they came with substantial salads. We probably should have just shared one. We almost forgot the salads and the lady from the counter brought them out to us with a gentle reproach. I didn't get a picture of the salads, but they were substantial and surprisingly tasty. I especially liked the pepper relish that came with it.
Just as we were sitting down to eat, a German family came over and joined us. It was a young mom, dad, and two little boys close in age... I'd say one was probably two and the other was perhaps four. They were a boisterous lot. I think Oma was also in tow, along with another woman who might have been a friend or an aunt. They filled up our once roomy picnic table.
I didn't mind them too much, although the older boy startled everyone when he spilled his drink all over the table. His dad started yelling at him in German. I am surprised to say that I understood much of what he said and it sounded a lot like what many parents yell at their kids in English!
As we were finishing up our late lunch, we heard lots of honking and saw cars driving up the road to the castle. The wedding party had arrived!
There is a playground next to the biergarten for your little ones to go burn off some steam.
And a rather dark photo of the Castle's Tavern. It does have an indoor dining area, too. I don't think anyone was sitting in there today.
A map of the area. There is a lot to do near this castle. I want to go back and visit the Easter museum and the caves...
We didn't bring Zane and Arran with us, though we did notice a couple of folks with their pooches walking around the grounds. If we do go back, though, it'll probably be so Bill can try the ropes course. And I will most likely be talked into trying it with him... which would mean Zane and Arran would need to stay home again.
All in all, we had a great day! I would definitely recommend visiting the Lichtenstein Castle with your kids and any visitors coming your way. It makes for an excellent day trip from the Stuttgart area.