Apfelwein, a local favorite
Before I left for Germany I did a bit of reading about things that were different from US culture. One thing I came across was "Apfelwein" or "Apple wine" Apfelwein is mostly found in the Frankfurt Am Main region with Weinheim being a part of it.
Everyone warned me how bitter it is. Nonetheless, I still wanted to try it. It is usually kept in a ceramic pitcher but now, through the miracle of bottlling, it can be easily found at the grocery store.
Fast forward to a family bar-b-que, they bring out the Apfelwein, I take a sip, *bleech* it is not palatable. The next thing I see is our host pouring himself a glass and then addding Coca Cola!! You have got to be kidding me, Coke and Apfelwein? Get me a glass, I have got to try this................Oh my, that is delicious. I would never have thought of that in a million years. So, the next time you have Apfelwine, try it mixed with Coca Cola (it's the real thing!)
Kaffee und Kuchen
Oh man, this was my very favorite time of the day...15:00 (3 pm). All the cafes' put out clap boards offerring their deal for Kaffee und Kuchen.....Coffee and Cake!! $2.50 Euros. What a deal!
cake is usually served but it can be more like pastry or sweet rolls, struedel and other gastronomic delights! It is similar to that of the English Tea Time.
At a German wedding ceremony directly following is a champagne toast and then go on to the reception where kaffee and kuchen (cake) is served...PRIOR to dinner!! Not just the wedding cake but people brought a number of homemade treats: Lindsor Torte, Marzipan cake, ooh the list goes on and on.
There are just too many excellent bakeries in Weinheim. The bread is simply beyond belief it is so good.
Rodenstein Brunnen - Rodenstein Fountain
This fountain is dedicated to the history and the legends of the Weinheim area. The name Rodenstein is from an old castle near-by. The knight of Rodenstein is said to have assembled
an army of ghosts: men, horses and dogs, all dead for a long time, but still forced to ride on. They are called the "wild army" - das wilde Heer.
Two legends are connected to this wild army:
The first, it announces a war. When people see the wild army riding through the air, they say a war is coming.Some old people in the area swear they saw the wild army riding in 1939.If this is true, hopefully nobody will ever see the wild army again.
The second legend tells that it's very dangerous to find and pick up anything belonging to the wild army in the days between Christmas and January 6th. If you do this, the Rodensteiner will come and take you and you are forced to ride with him for ever. When you look at the second picture, you can see the iron image of
the Rodensteiner and his horse.
The carvings in the sandstone around the fountain show some legendary and historical rulers of the area, among them Odin, the germanic god who gave the woods around Weinheim their name - Odenwald.
To see the fountain, walk up Bahnhofsstrasse, and turn left at the Duerreplatz. Then walk down Hauptstrasse and turn right.
Memories of Past Splendour
or the Perfect Setting for a Ghost Story
Both titles would be suitable for a description of the mausoleum in Weinheim. It is hidden in a far away corner of the castle gardens. The family of the counts of Berckheim had it built as their personal cemetery in 1910. It is large enough to hold 39 coffins, but only nine people are buried there.
Visitors walking in the gardens and enjoying the flowers would never know about the mausoleum. Some steep stairs lead up to it, there are no flowers, only some old trees.It is closed so you can only see the outside. Built in a byzantine style with a once beautiful mosaic (see picture three) inside the dome, its sculptures are now overgrown with plants. A tree is growing out of the roof and the mosaic is partly broken. I don't know if anybody of the family is still living, the last member I have heard of was a race driver who died in 1984. Only the gardeners employed by the city of Weinheim seem to be here from time to time.
But through all the decay there is still something of its former beauty left.
Conquering the Castles
"Windeck Castle Ruin"
From Weinheim, mommy hiked up to both castles with me. First we went to Windeck, which is a real medieval castle, now in ruins.
I climbed the top of the castle keep. The view was fantastic!
This is the castle keep, seen from the courtyard.
Come on Mommy, let's climb that tower!
The views of Weinheim, the Rhine plain and the green bush on the hills were fantastic.
The building with the red roof is our next destination: Wachenburg castle. As you see, it is situated on another hill much higher than Windeck, where we are now. Poor Mommy had to climb steep uneven paths through the bush while I enjoyed the ride in her backpack.
Wachenburg is not a real castle, it's a fake. It was built in the early 20th century as a meeting point for students' corporations.
A triumphant wombat is posing underneath the arch of the main portal.
The palace of Weinheim is surrounded by a huge garden. I'd love, but wasn't allowed, to dig a burrow there. Such a lot of yummy grass, greens and flowers!