For a while now, we’ve been meaning to take a trip to Neumarkt for Lee to get his international driver’s license. Thankfully, it was a four-day weekend for him and we didn’t have anything planned for today. So, Neumarkt it was!
Getting the international license was relatively simple, and only cost €16. All he had to bring was his USAEUR driver’s license, a passport-style photo, and cash. When that was all said and done, it was only lunch time, so we wandered out into the city to explore.
It’s October in Bavaria, so naturally it was foggy and drizzling. We ducked into the mall and did a quick walk-through to see what stores they had (a little bit of everything). Then my stomach started grumbling, and I get notoriously hangry when I haven’t eaten. We walked past a sushi place and noticed they had one of those conveyor belts where you pick your plates off it. We’d never been to that type of sushi place before, so we decided to try it!
It was only about €13 per person for one hour of all-you-can-eat running sushi. You can literally eat as much as you want in that hour, and the conveyor belt comes right by your table. I was famished, and ate 16 pieces of Maki, four pieces of Nigiri, a couple spring rolls, a cup of bean sprouts, a small plate of chicken curry, and two pudding cups. I can really put some food away (and I definitely think we got our money’s worth).
After we rolled ourselves out of the restaurant, we drove a short distance to find Burgruine Wolfstein (castle ruins) on the outskirts of town.
We used Google maps to get there, and it was very easy to find. There is one road leading up to it.
There is a small cafe at the base of the castle, but it wasn’t open today. It has a pretty large gravel parking lot, and we were the only car parked there.
From there, you just walk up the road, around a barn, and there it is! No hiking required.
The bridge goes over a deep ravine, which looks like a dry moat. I’m not sure if it’s naturally occurring or if it was hollowed out to protect the castle during its glory years. The grass at the bottom is well kept, and looked as if it was recently mowed. The sides of the ravine are overgrown with various shrubs and weeds. To the left of the bridge you can see where the cliff drops off sharply right past the wall.
I definitely recommend taking advantage of the great photo op.
The walls are four feet thick in some parts, and I was amazed at how much of the original structure is still standing. Wolfstein is definitely the least “ruined” of all the castle ruins we’ve seen so far. You can clearly see where rooms used to be, and many windows are still intact. It really makes your imagination run wild.
A few of the areas are fenced off, but most of the areas are open to explore. We saw several informational plaques, and it appears that guided tours are available. Whether these tours are in German or English, I don’t know, but I imagine the tour allows you to ascend the main watchtower (the door was locked today).
I kept telling Lee, “this is so cool!” The fact that I could interact with a piece of history this old was nothing short of thrilling. I did some research on the castle, and it originated around 1120. It’s hard to believe that a structure this old is still intact, let alone in such good condition.
There have been some excavations and renovations completed to remove a lot of the surrounding trees to allow more sunlight in, thus preventing further damage from moisture. It was very damp and cold inside the walls, and I can only imagine how much worse it would be if it was constantly in the shade.
There was an abundance of greenery, flowers, and weeds growing through cracks and every nook and cranny. It was quite beautiful, actually. The earth swallowed something that was man-made, incorporated it as part of the landscape, and painted it with beautiful colors.
Lee and I sat on the benches overlooking Neumarkt for a long while, enjoying the peace and quiet of being alone with something that’s been quiet for hundreds of years.
Every time I think Germany can’t get any more perfect, it surprises me yet again.
As an added bonus to our trip, we found a buckeye tree (we recently lived in Columbus, OH, and Lee is a diehard Ohio State Buckeyes fan).