Still, I wasn’t driving on this particular day. It was after all my wedding day and I had just been married in a centuries old church in my wife’s home town of Dippoldiswalde. No, I was scrunched into the back of her sister’s small car trying in vain to keep my tuxedo from wrinkling to an unrecognizable state. I was already wondering what the ride would be like in reverse after the innumerable beers I was likely to consume. At least I wouldn’t be driving later either and somehow that was comforting enough to forgo any type of motion sickness that might ensue.
The final turn was made and Weesenstein came into view and elicited the same awe it had when I first encountered it years earlier. That all our friends and family were now waiting to celebrate our wedding day only added to its luster. It was unusually busy this particular day due to a medieval festival being in full swing so our arrival was trumpeted by not only our entourage but also by an assorted group of maidens, wenches, and tradesman typical of the event. We started to make our way up to the castle proper and soon it was apparent how much Doreen resembled a fairy princess with her wreath of green sat majestically on her golden hair. Everyone stopped and gazed at her and I felt like a right pauper even resplendent in my tuxedo.
(continued below in Fondest Memory)
Fondest memory: Time went by all too quickly so after taking lots of photos for posterity, finishing off the barrel of beer and saying goodbye to our many family members and friends, we walked reluctantly back down the hill from the magical castle setting to make our way back home. It was sad saying goodbye to everyone but all good, even great things come to an end. Everyone went their separate ways, some to Poland, Belgium, the Czech Republic, assorted parts of Germany and even the UK. We just had to go to Dipps but we had a winding road to tackle and it was likely to be less pleasant in the dark and with more than my fair share of beer in my belly. It was a small price to pay for a fairy tale come true. I was more than willing to pay it.
Fondest memory: We had time now to enjoy more normal sized beers and intermingle with our friends and family while dining on succulent roasted pig, sauerkraut, beans with chunks of ham and potatoes. We wandered around the festival through dark winding passages into various rooms of the castle but most of the time we talked and laughed; for my part, I enjoyed a good amount of the brewer’s tasty nectar. (concluded below in Fondest Memory)
Fondest memory: Once finished a very large mug was filled with beer and we had to finish the entire thing off in one big swig. The earthen mug was massive but I was ill-prepared for just how heavy it would be. Doreen could barely hold it so I assisted her hearty gulping much to the crowds cheering. We finished it off soundly only to reveal that most of the mug was in fact filled with the ceramic material from whence it was made. No wonder it was so heavy! (continued below in Fondest Memory)
Fondest memory: Next up was the one I was anxiously waiting for: the tapping of the keg! Doreen was made to wear a long leather apron that looked quite fantastic on her. Believe me, I was the envy of every man present once she donned this outfit. I was given a large wooden mallet and she was to hold the brass faucet from which the beer would flow. She got into place and I gave a firm but careful swing to push the device into the barrel. It did break the seal but Doreen didn’t quite keep it in place and soon beer was spraying everywhere. I guess the apron wasn’t just for show after all and a good thing she had it on! The brewer came to the rescue by forcing it in and saving most of the beer for the ever thirsty crowd. We were then given the chore of serving our guests adding fitfully to my personal thirst. (continued below in Fondest Memory)
Fondest memory: Once at the top, we ventured into the cave-like beer storage cellar where the reception was to take place. It was quite dark but a large wooden barrel containing the brewery’s signature hoppy brew was already in place, and view. Long wooden tables awaited our guests. We sorted out some torch lighting and with everyone finally in their seats, our brewer/master of ceremonies arrived and bid everyone a hearty welcome. He explained some things in German and the next thing I knew we were eating some freshly baked brewer’s bread dipped into salt and pepper, evidently one of many ancient German wedding rituals. (contued below in Fondest Memory)
I never thought anything would beat my very first view of Weesenstein but now I'd have to say having our wedding reception there is tops on the list.
Fondest memory: Winding roads are not my favorite unless I am driving but the one that connects Dippoldiswalde with Weesenstein is full of memories even though I only first happened upon it a mere five years ago. As a rule such roads traverse beautiful natural scenery and this one does not fail in that department and adds small town hamlets for good measure sprinkled intermittently. Towering dense forest and babbling brooks define the Müglitz Valley and around every turn the first time visitor is pleasantly surprised with yet another example of why Saxony has charms well beyond its fame. But nothing quite prepares you for when you first glimpse the hilltop castle Weesenstein. Beyond iconic images like the Eiffel Tower and Leaning Tower of Pisa, castles as a rule and particularly those set on high plateaus define the Old World charm that non-Europeans flock to the Continent for. (continued below in Fondest Memory)