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Published: August 30th 2006
A view of the castle nestled into the hills in the town of Neckarmuehlbach along the Neckar River.
On Saturday, Seth, Kalju, Kent, Destiny, and myself piled into a truck and headed an hour away to the Burg Guttenberg. The Guttenberg Castle hosts a Birds of Prey show, which was the main draw for us. We were lucky that the weather was nice at the castle (unlike Heidelberg) because the show takes place outside, in bleachers mounted on a deck on the side of the hill the castle sits upon. The main bird handler giving the presentation was very nice and translated a bit of the show into English for my friends and I, as well as some visiting New Zealanders. The show brought us up close to owls, eagles, falcons, and vultures, so close, in fact, that a few people were smacked in the head by large wings. I’m still musing over the irony that it would be in a German town that I would first see an American Bald Eagle up close. Of course, we were very close to all of the birds at one point or another, but the way we saw them devour the tiny chicken carcasses, and the handler’s warning that all of the birds were kept wild (so as to be released someday),
we were all a bit cautious about getting too close.
After being introduced to the birds, we were allowed to tour their home, by way of a route that took us down into and through the castle moat, then winding back up to the drawbridge again. I was excited to be so close to all the birds because, simply stated, they’re cool. There was a bird of prey museum at the end of the path, which consisted mainly of taxidermy displays and large photos and drawings of the birds’ influences on various cultures throughout history. There were also some relics, like a carved stone from Pompeii, a totem pole from North America, and some griffin and sphinx statues shown in one of my photos, all, of course, related to the birds.
Next we progressed to the castle’s restaurant. Still appreciating the great weather, we sat outside on a balcony overlooking the countryside. The food was all very good, though it felt like we overpaid a bit. Refreshed, we crossed the drawbridge again for the castle museum. I’m not entirely sure what the theme of the museum was, but I liked that it was in a castle tower, the
floors linked only by a spiraling stone staircase (definitely not wheelchair accessible, though) and all of us enjoyed the displays even though everything was in German. Once reaching the top level, there was a path outside along part of the castle was that led to the Turm and it’s many more interior staircases. This was a tower that, once standing upon the summit, appeared to be at a much higher height than one would have anticipated from the ground. This may be due in part to the castle itself being higher than the surrounding areas. Either way, there were amazing commanding views from up here. From here we could see the Neckar River and the nearby towns. We also spotted another castle, as we later learned to be the Hornberg Castle, and made a decision that we would seek it out.
After departing from Burg Guttenberg, we winded about the country roads and followed the river until we saw signs for Burg Hornberg. This led us up tiny, steep, wooded roads until we finally found the castle. There was, however, a wedding taking place and so we did not spend much time here as it was simply too crowded.
We did wander into an area that was some sort of combination of a tourist shop, wine shop, and museum. Or at least, in the rear of the store (or hole in the wall) there were glass cases displaying various items with vague labels, and most without dates.
We took 37 home, winding our way along the Neckar River. We realized we were on the famous Burgenstrasse, or Castle Route, even though we’d driven this road before. But we were losing the sun and it was getting late, so we simply enjoyed the scenery and vowed to spend more time on the road another day.
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