Sunday, June 26, 2016

Gummi Bears and Castles - 11 June 2016

Drachenburg in Königswinter
We had been to Bonn earlier on a preparation day and enjoyed the visit, but we stopped in Königswinter on the way home and knew that we wanted to go there again and make a day of it. Elder and Sister Newman and Janet and I drove to Bonn first and met our friends the Mumms (they work with Young Single Adults in the Friedrichsdorf area), the Jarrards, and the Snapps. Our agreed upon meeting place was the Haribo factory outlet store. Our grandkids would have loved being there - thousands of square feet of candy. Jeff doesn't even like this kind of candy, but we walked out of the store with a packing box full to give to missionaries and to ship home (grandkids will enjoy it).
One corner of the Haribo store dedicated to kids.

Would you believe that in this entire supermarket of chewy candy, there was not a single piece of red rope licorice? The German black licorice is fantastic (Jeff says - Janet gagged)
After our store visit, we packed up the cars and drove 15 minutes or so to a small town called Königswinter across the Rhine from Bonn. This little village doesn't have much to recommend it other than a nice promenade along the river, a great ice cream shop, and a couple of shops that Janet and the other sisters enjoyed exploring. But the highlight of Königswinter is a steep mountain that rises just across the regional rail tracks from the village. There is a funicular railroad that chugs up a very steep grade from the bottom and makes two stops. The middle station is at a palace called Drachenburg (Dragon Keep). This was built in the late 19th century by a self-made man who was a successful stock broker and made millions trading his own money and promoting the Panama and Suez canals. He also created a newsletter that he sold - kind of an early Kiplinger's. He was German and was fascinated with German history and mythology, but he lived in Paris. He bought his way in to the German nobility, but he never returned from Paris and never lived in this palace he had built for himself.
5 sweet ladies

Beware the dragon
All aboard
Elder Jarrard and Elder Kirk struck up a conversation with a young woman from Arizona who was traveling with several Asian friends. She is in Germany working on a post doctoral program. Being from Arizona, she knew about Latter-day Saints. We were impressed with her joy and outgoing nature. She was excited to be seeing things and exuberant about her experience. We should all have that kind of zest for life. At the middle station of the train, we piled off to visit Drachenburg.

Hard to get a picture when there was steady traffic on the walkway
The castle is a popular wedding spot

Bridesmaids spreading out a banner. Elder Kirk and Elder Jarrards supervising from the bench.
They tried out multiple styles of architecture on this thing

Everyone needs golden stags to guard the south wing

The exterior is a mess - no single unifying principle

And there is plenty of useless ornamentation

Lots of nice landscaping, and it was a sunny day for a change

The north wing - let's add a square tower

All managed by an endowment
Janet leaned over a railing and found this charming ornamentation around the corner

A lot of German buildings have faces on them. It's unclear whom this represents.
And now for a look inside
Jeff had a nice chat with one of the docents
The entryway and staircase give you an idea of the rest of the house

The house is covered in painted scenes from German legends and mythology

Art critics have called the paintings "cartoonish." 

Heinrich the 4th, 1050-1106

All of the ceilings are elaborate, too

Looking at this painting, you can clearly see the comic book quality
Walls, furniture, and ceilings are all richly carved wood

They were ready for our lunch

We had the feeling that the books were for show rather than to read

A very nice library and reading room
Greek mythology - the family painted over these at some point, and they were only recently uncovered and fully restored.

Many of the rooms have these elaborate wooden ceilings

The glass portrays a story from German legend

Just a window for light - nice German eagle crest in the center, though
Janet liked this bedroom for the mistress

Close up of the wallpaper - Jeff is afraid

Bear skin for bare feet

Washroom for the boudoir
Nice view while sitting for tea

The fish is the spigot for the washbasin below

Every room had places to sit

Imaginative double chair on a landing of the grand staircase
Let's have a party -- or a fireside or something. Lots of room for guests.
Views of the Rhine River valley below the castle are spectacular.
Bonn is in the distance across the river

It was a sunny day, but everything is green because it rains so much

A closer look north at Bonn on a bend in the river

Looking south - the river is at flood stage. If you look closely, you will notice that trees on the far bank are standing in the water.

We stood staring for a long time.
When we finished our visit to Drachenburg, we got an ice cream cone and caught the train to the top of the mountain. Drachenfels (Dragon Rock) is a 12th century fortress that commanded the peak. There is little remaining - much of it fell victim to medieval residents who took the stone to use for other buildings. Below the ruins is a nice restaurant and a large plaza with a spectacular overlook of the Rhine Valley south of Königswinter.

Views from the top were even better than from Drachenburg.
Continuous barge movements on the Rhein

The island upstream is an estate of some kind. The lower end of the island was flooded.

The town just upstream from Königswinter. Note the wooded mountains in the background.

The opposite bank is all sprawl from Bonn. The near side is a tree lined promenade in Königswinter.

Looking straight away from the river. Amazing that in a country of 80 million that is half the size of Texas, there is still lots of green space.

Even with sprawl from Bonn, there is farmland under cultivation.
Jeff's favorite view!

We aren't very good at selfies, but here you are. The camera adds at least 15 pounds to Jeff.

Our dear friends the Jarrards

Some of the gang. The numbers are for our food orders. We love these people and really enjoy spending time with them on our preparation days.
Part of what is left of Drachenfels. You have to hike up to the ruins.

An alternative means of transportation to the top of the mountain. Of course, you can also walk.
We loved how this little girl found a lap to sit in while she ate some ice cream.
Close up of the bit of medieval tower left

A piece of wall. People ignore the signs that say climbing on the ruins is forbidden.

Another visitor to the top of the mountain.
At the end of the afternoon, we rode the train down (we skipped the reptile zoo that was part of the ticket - we can see alligators in Houston) and then walked into the old city of Königswinter. The sisters found some shops that were open til 6:00. Most shops and stores in Germany close at 2:00 pm on Saturdays and are closed all day on Sunday. We rather like that. But the ladies did enjoy browsing a few shops that were open later. The men found a really nice ice cream shop in a shaded alleyway and had "dinner" comprised of two of the food groups -- dairy and fruit.

People love green things and flowers. Balconies, steps, and windows are all lined with flowers.