DAY 3 OF 19
We were supposed to continue south to Basel, but decided to get an early start and back- track through the Alsace Wine Region. If time permitted, I would have stopped in every village along the 170 km route from Marlenheim (just north of Strasbourg) to Thann (just north of Mulhouse)! All 70 villages along the route are well-known for being some of the most picturesque villages in the region. But the clock was ticking so we did the Château in Orschwiller, then on to (next posts) Ribeauvillé and Riquewihr.
CHÂTEAU DU HAUT-HOENIGSBOURG
THE DRIVE UP
So Wikipedia tells me “It is situated in a strategic location on a rocky spur overlooking the Upper Rhine Plain”. Which translates as, “located on top of a big-ass mountain, where you will have to drive up an insanely steep incline, on a road that’s supposed to be for 2 vehicles but barely has room for 1, all the while negotiating sharp curves, with no guardrail to keep you from dropping to your death.”
Ok, so it wasn’t that bad. But that is exactly what was going through my mind. There were steep inclines, narrow roads, sharp-ass curves with stick poles attached with wire acting like guardrails. Sitting super close to the steering wheel, both hands gripping the wheel, we make it through a patch of trees and are just about to enter another severe curve when I hear my hubby say, “Holy sh!t, babe, look at that drop! It goes straight down! Man! That is something!” Me, sweating and swearing profusely “Ummm….., I love you, but you need to shut your face, this is not what I want to hear at this particular moment in time.”
Views from the top in front of the Château
AT THE TOP
So we reach the top. Alive. I can breathe again. I can relax. And laugh about how I managed to work myself up into a tizzy about a little drive up a mountain. Thank goodness we arrived early, because parking is on the side of the road (I picked the side that does not drop down to your doom), and the early birds get the spots closest to the castle which means less of a steep walk (about 7 minutes), up to it (further spots, get ready for at least a 25-minute walk up). The views from up here are stunning! Beautiful sweeping, panoramic views of the Alsatian countryside and Vosges Mountains. Definitely worth the mild panic attack on the drive up.
More views from the top in front of the Château
A beautiful medieval castle that was in ruins until the early 1900s, when it was meticulously rebuilt and restored. It has everything you’d want in a proper castle, elegant spiral staircases, impressive turrets, fortified walls, sturdy drawbridges and charming courtyards.
Inside the Château
A bit of the Château garden
Opens around 9:30 am, closes at 6 pm, adult rate is 8 €, under 18 years are free. There’s a shuttle from Sélestat for 2 € (I wish I knew about earlier!). We did the self-guided audio tour at our own pace. More info on their website: http://www.haut-koenigsbourg.fr/en/