Marksburg Castle – The Herb Garden and a Goat

March 26, 2015 by tigermucha

I have been telling you about my Viking River Cruise last Spring and more recently about visiting Marksburg Castle in Braubach, Germany.

Visiting Marksburg Castle on threelitlekittens.com/blog

Well, today I want to show you the Herb Garden.  I never dreamed there would be such a fantastic herb garden inside the walls of this castle.

Here I am taking pictures of the seed heads on the anemones

When we left the Batteries, we entered the Rhinezwinger, or Upper Bailey, and found several patches of herbs and other important plants in two areas neatly tucked into a narrow space between the wall and the castle.  I think this was my favorite part of the tour.  I know it was June’s favorite part, too.  We both love our gardens.

Marksburg-Castle-Herb-Garden-07

Here you can see what I mean about the narrow area where they had the gardens.  And if you look on the lower right, they even have water gardens!

Rose-Arbor-at-Marksburg-Castle

We came right from the Great Battery into this heavenly place.  There were lots of roses, herbs, medicinal plants and even poisonous plants that were used by the sorcerers and witches to concoct deadly potions for enemies of the castle.

Lavender at Marksburg Castle

Everything was neatly labeled, in German of course, but we could figure out what most things were, like this huge lavender plant.

Raised beds for better drainage in the herb garden at Marksburg Castle

There were raised beds, trellises and grassy areas.  Every inch of space was utilized.  And they even had peonies.  See the dark red buds above?  We were a few days too early.

Touring the herb gardens at Marksburg Castle

See what I mean about using every possible inch of space available?

Marksburg-Castle-Herb-Garden-02

And there were even a couple of pieces of yard art, as we would call it.  There was an inscription on this pillar that had faded over time.

Marksburg-Castle-Herb-Garden-03

And even though we were too early for the peonies, the Iris were showing off for us instead.

Marksburg-Iris

Fluffy-Seed-Head of an Anemone

And it looks like we missed the Anemones, too.  But I captured their beautiful seed heads.  They are just as pretty as the flowers, I think.

Marksburg-Castle-Herb-Garden-04

Here was a huge patch of herbs: mustard, tarragon and parsley just to name a few.

Marksburg-Castle-Herb-Garden-05

Lots of mint.  And grape vines growing up the rain spout!

Marksburg-Castle-Herb-Garden-06

There were trellises everywhere, too.  Every inch of available space was used.

Marksburg-Herb-Garden-01

Me-at-Marksburg-Castle

Here I am by the wall, overlooking the Rhine Valley.  Isn’t it just amazing?

Rosemary-at-Marksburg-Castle

June and I loved this monster Rosemary plant!

Roses-in-the-Garden-at-Marksburg-Castle

A pretty red rose by another one of those patchwork doors.

Fruit-Trees-at-Marksburg-Castle

There were even fruit trees and a small grassy area!

Grass paths and fruit trees at Marksburg Castle

Wallflowers

And the herb garden was not the only place where we found plants and flowers at Marksburg Castle.   There were bits of life in every nook and cranny of the walls the castle was built with.  The Wallflowers grew everywhere.  I never really got why they were called Wallflowers until now.  They literally grow in the walls. And, there were even the familiar dandelions, too!

Living-Wall-2

This living wall has wallflowers, ferns, moss and other little goodies tucked in the rocks.

Living-Wall

Fiddleheads

Oh and the ferns.  They were in the “fiddlehead” stage, where they have not unfurled fully.

Fiddleheads-02

This is my favorite way to photograph ferns.

Fiddleheads-03

And they were everywhere, too!

Fiddleheads-04

Fiddleheads-05

Miniature-Door-at-Marksburg-Castle

There were also little gardens in other areas of the castle.  Like this little area with a bench and tiny door.  Not sure where that door led to, it was small.  But this was a pretty place to sit and enjoy the flowers and greenery.

Tiny-Corner-Garden

And here was a tiny little garden tucked in a corner by some stairs.  The creeping plant had tiny little white flowers that were blooming their hearts out.

Ferns-and-Flowers

And of course there were a few ferns tucked into the corner.

Marksburg-Castle-Goat-01

As we were leaving the castle, we came across this mountain goat, quietly munching away outside the castle wall.

Marksburg-Castle-Goat-02

The castle of course would have had livestock and they were stabled and housed outside the walls of the castle.

Marksburg-Castle-Goat-04

Marksburg-Castle-Goat-03

And he was content to munch away, oblivious to the crowds of visitors that passed by. The gardens were a nice surprise at this hilltop castle in Braubach.  I do want to show you a little bit of what we saw inside the castle before I move on to our next adventure on the Rhine.  That will be next.

This is not a sponsored post.  This is my experience from my trip with Viking River Cruises.

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Marksburg Castle – The Batteries

March 24, 2015 by tigermucha

On Saturday, I showed you the many Gates we had to enter to get into the interior areas of Marksburg Castle.

Visiting Marksburg Castle on threelittlekittens.com/blog

After entering the gates, we were now on the exterior of the Great Hall.

Exterior of the Great Hall

And it was Spring, so there were tiny gardens tucked in here and there around the castle that were a nice surprise.

The-Small-Battery-at-Marksburg-Castle

Right off the Great Hall is the first of two Batteries, built in the 1700’s, for housing artillery (cannons and such) and this is the Small Battery.  Notice the windows where the cannons inside the Battery were aimed at the Rhine below.

Jerry inspecting the Breech Loader gun

Here our friend Jerry inspects the Breech Loader of 1450 in the Small Battery.  This was evidently an important piece of artillery.  I am not into artillery, but we were told quite a bit about how unique it was and how impressive it was to have had one during the fifteenth century.

The-Great-Battery

Next we moved on to the Great Battery.  As you can see, they were doing some digging for reconstruction purposes.  We found this everywhere we toured in Germany.  This Battery is much larger and had quite a few more cannons facing the Rhine.  Parts of this Battery date to the 1500’s.

Artillery in the Great Battery at Marksburg Castle

There were cannons of all sizes here.  And look at those stone cannon balls on the right.  They were heavy.

Large canons in the Great Battery at Marksburg Castle

With the varied sizes of cannons and balls, the defenders could project havoc clear on the other side of the Rhine from this vantage point.

Marksburg-Castle-Cannon

These would not be fun to have to move around.  They were built to stay put.  I cannot imagine them being brought up the hill from below.  I wonder if they were built on site at the castle itself?  Maybe I should have asked.

View-of-the-Rhine

Here is a view of the Rhine below from the Great Battery.

View of the Viking Ingvi on the Rhine River in Braubach, Germany

And here you can see our ship, the Viking Ingvi.

View-of-Viking-Ingvi-on-the-Rhine

The ship had docked at a park below the castle in Braubach.  But it wasn’t quite time for us to head back down to the park, we still had a lot of castle left to see.

Next we toured the gardens of Marksburg Castle.

This is not a sponsored post.  This is my experience from my trip with Viking River Cruises.

Treasures Found This Weekend

March 23, 2015 by tigermucha

You know the saying, one man’s junk is another  man’s treasure?  Well, it’s that time again!  Time for yard sales and estate sales to start popping up everywhere now that it is Spring!  And Saturday, Keith and I hit our first sales of the season.  And, we found a few treasures!

Treasures-Glass-Nut-Ornaments

Keith spotted these little glass nut Christmas ornaments in a box with a bunch of other Christmas ornaments and thought they would look pretty in the fall hanging from our mantle as a bunting.  Oh my, he knows how I love buntings and banners!  Isn’t he wonderful?  Well, for now they look pretty in this old white ceramic planter.  I will display them for a while before I put them away until Fall.

Treasures-Silver-Basket-2

He also found this little silver basket for me for my dried oranges.  We dried these at Christmas and the basket is perfect for displaying them on our farm table in the dining room.

Treasures-Silver-Basket-1

The silver plate is mostly gone but I can always spray paint it if I want to change the look.  Right now I like the rustic look.  Oh, and the oranges were a Pinterest Project from my Craftiness Board.  They turned out okay for our first attempt.  The slices actually turned out a lot better than the whole oranges.  I may make a bunting with them sometime, too.

Treasures-Wrought-Iron-Gate-1

But the best treasure of  the day was this wonderful old wrought iron gate that Keith brought home.  And it will be perfect for our wisteria trellis in the back yard.

Treasures-Wrought-Iron-Gate-2

Keith had a former court clerk call him and let him know about it. She had saved it from going to the landfill and knew Keith liked old fencing.  We are both SO glad that she saved this treasure from going into the dumpster!  It is beautiful and will look wonderful in our garden.  Right now, Keith just has it propped up against the trellis.  I am sure he will work on it soon.

It was a great weekend to get out and hunt for treasures.  Do you go to yard sales or estate sales?  What treasures do you like to bring home?

Sunday Bliss – March 22nd

March 22, 2015 by tigermucha

Welcome to Sunday Bliss on threelittlekittens.com/blog

Glory of the Snow Spring Bulbs on threelittlekittens.com/blog

My Glory of the Snow bulbs bloomed this week.  I love them.  And, they are spreading.  I had two new little clumps pop up on the other side of the path from this clump.  That makes me so happy!

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Marksburg Castle – The Gates

March 21, 2015 by tigermucha

Yesterday I shared more of my visit to Marksburg Castle in Braubach, Germany.   This castle is the most complete castle in this part of the Upper Rhine Valley.  Because of it’s many bastions and fortified walls and it’s location atop a hill overlooking the Rhine, it is the only hill castle in this area that was never completely destroyed.  And being that it dates to 1100, that is a long time to be standing tall.

Visiting Marksburg Castle on threelitlekittens.com/blog

We had quite a walk once the buses dropped us off near the top.  When we finally got to the castle, there were three different gates that we had to enter to get into the castle proper.

June at the Drawbridge Gate at Marksburg Castle
The first gate is the Drawbridge Gate and this is my friend June that traveled with me on my Viking River Cruise.  After the gate we went through a long tunnel.

Bookshop at Marksburg Castle in Braubach, Germany
This bookshop/gfitshop was where the gate keeper originally lived, many centuries ago.  There was also a restaurant and an outdoor patio.  And the window boxes were brimming with flowers.

The view from the Gate Keeper's House at Marksburg Castle
What a view!

View-from-Marksburg-Castle-02
Here you can see part of the town below and another castle on the far side of the Rhine.  This section of the Rhine has castles dotting each side and are pretty much in sight of each other.  They originally collected tolls or tariffs on ships that navigated the river.  If you sailed the Rhine, you would have to pay the tax at each castle along the way.  That tall thing on the hill is a television tower.  We saw several of these along the Rhine.

View-from-Marksburg-Castle-03

And this was the view behind the castle. Lush forest covered hills.

View-from-Marksburg-Castle-01

Here is a wider view.  The weather was really accommodating when we were there.

View-from-Marksburg-Castle-04

And there is our ship coming down the Rhine to meet us.  Remember I told you how those that did not join us on the tour of the castle would meet up with us later?

View-from-Marksburg-Castle-05

Here they are cruising down the Rhine to meet us.

Viking-Ingvi-Cruising-the-Rhine

Fox Gate at Marksburg Castle in Germany

The second gate we entered was the Fox Gate.  This is where the guided tour starts.  Our tour guide for the day was a lovely young German girl.  And our tour was her first tour that she was conducting in English.  She did a fantastic job.

Fox Gate Doors at Marksburg Castle

These are the backs of the doors on the Fox Gate.  Aren’t they lovely? Each set of doors that we passed through had to be opened with a huge old iron skeleton key that our guide carried with her the entire time on our tour.  These doors have what looks like a patchwork of metal plates to help strengthen from attack.  And those hinges, they are works of art.

Gates-and-Walls-of-Marksburg-Castle

Inside look back at part of the Fox Gate.

Arriving at the Notches Gate at Marksburg Castle on threelittlekittens.com/blog

And here we are arriving at the Notches Gate.  Our guide is at the top in the red jacket.  The little balcony above the entry is where soldiers would drop stones on anyone that made it this far when trying to attack the castle.  Also, notice how the door was once larger?  That’s because when the castle was built, it was built with entrances high enough for a man riding a horse to enter through.  We were also told that beyond this gate there was originally another gate in he old guard’s quarters that you would have to enter through.  So, there originally were four gates to break down if you wanted to get inside.

Notches Gate at Marksburg Castle

The area above the gate now houses some of the offices of the German Castle Association.

Notches Gate at Marksburg Castle

This really gives you a feel for how old the castle is with the different layers of stucco, the tiny little windows and steep slate roof.  It has a lot of old world charm.

Part of the Rider's Stairway at Marksburg Castle

And remember how I told you that there were some areas that were hard to walk on?  This is part of the Rider’s Stairway inside the third gate.  This stairway was especially designed for those aforementioned horsemen.  Glad they could navigate it better than we could!

Marksburg Castle Coats of Arms

At the top of the stairway was a display of all the different Coats of Arms representing the families that lived and ruled in Marksburg Castle, starting with the Epstein family and ending with the German Castle Association.  And you may notice, our tour group is not that large.  Viking does a great job of splitting everyone up into groups so that you have more one on one interaction with your tour guide.  And with the Audiovox headsets, we never had a problem hearing what was being said, no matter where we were in the group.  And you know how every group will always have those talkers and mumblers that can be annoying when you are trying to hear what your guide is saying?  No worries here.  Everything she said was crystal clear. Well, the next stop on our tour was the exterior of the Great Hall and the Batteries.

This is not a sponsored post.  This is my experience from my trip with Viking River Cruises.

Marksburg Castle

March 20, 2015 by tigermucha

Last Spring I had the opportunity to take a Viking River Cruise down the Rhine River through Holland, Germany, France and Switzerland.  I have been telling you about my adventures here on the blog and I last left you with the story of the Bus Passing Rule on the road that lead to Marksburg Castle in Braubach, Germany. And I promised I would share my tour of the castle, so let me start now.

Visiting Marksburg Castle on threelittlekittens.com/blog

The castle sis high atop a hill overlooking the Rhine and the town of Braubach.  We did not spend any time in Braubach, we docked long enough to load the buses and then the ship left to meet us at our next destination.

Visiting Marksburg Castle on threelittlekittens.com/blog

When we got to the top as far as the buses could go, we had to walk up to enter the castle.  This was my fist up close view.

Visiting Marksburg Castle on threelittlekittens.com/blog

There was  a huge, very high wall around the castle and all we really had a good view of was the Butter-churn tower. It is literally like a butter-churn.  The top of the tower is narrower than the bottom and has a ledge for fighting.  And you can see from above, there are a lot of other classic castle details going on here.

Visiting Marksburg Castle on threelittlekittens.com/blog

Like these cute painted shutters.

Visiting Marksburg Castle on threelittlekitens.com/blog

Today the castle is home to the German Castle Association. Their mission is to preserve castles in Germany and they have done a nice job here.  Marksburg Castle dates to 1100.

Visitinng Marksburg Castle on threelittlekittens.com/blog

Did I mention it was a long walk up?  And that wall, it is several stories high.

Visiting Marksburg Castle on threelittlekittens.com/blog

Because this castle was never fully destroyed throughout its history, it is one of the principal castles in the Unesco World Heritage Rhine Gorge.

Visiting Marksburg Castle on threelittlekittens.com/blog

See what I mean about that wall?  Oh, and see the rocks that the wall is built on top of?  Well, they are obviously over my head, so there was definitely a challenge to overcome here if you wanted to think about trying to enter over the wall when you were trying to invade this gem.

Visiting Marksburg Castle on threelittlekittens.com/blog

From this view it looks kind of tiny, doesn’t it?  Well, that definitely is misleading.  But we are almost to the first gate.

Visiting Marksburg Castle on threelittlekittens.com/blog

And I will tell you about the first of several gates on the next post!  Stay tuned!

 

This is not a sponsored post.  This is my experience from my trip with Viking River Cruises.

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You’re Not A Bird!

March 18, 2015 by tigermucha

Sunday while I was in our bedroom, I saw her pass by the window.

Deer at the birdbath

 

So I quickly grabbed my camera and headed to the dining room.

Deer at the birdbath

I caught her drinking from the birdbath in our front yard.

Deer at the birdbath

I had to take these pictures quickly through our dining room window.   I was surprised to see her in the front yard this early. Usually they wait until the sun has gone down to be in the front yard.

Deer in the garden

But the deer had been out earlier in the day.  I caught this one in the back yard down near the jungle earlier that day.

Deer in the garden

She popped out of the bamboo for a few minutes and then headed back in.

Deer hiding in the garden

And I almost didn’t see her friend, hidden behind the Rose of Sharon shrubs.  I didn’t think much more about them until one of them showed up as the sun was setting to drink in the front yard.

Deer at the birdbath

She was beautiful in the sunlight.

Deer at the birdbath

And always cautious.

Deer at the birdbath

I never knew they drank out of our birdbath. But she knew exactly where she was going when she walked past the bedroom.

Deer in the garden

But soon she headed back around the side of the house. I went back to our guest bedroom to see if I could see her go back down the hill to the cover of the bamboo.

Two deer in the garden

But when I got there, there were two more deer.  Now the quality of pictures from here out is not the best. I was shooting through not only glass, but screen and in very poor light.

Deer in the garden

I looked back up towards the front yard and she was still there. So that meant there were three deer in the garden at once.

Baby in the garden

And, as I looked out back towards the path down the hill I spotted our baby from this past spring by the sun dial.

Deer in the garden

So, there were two here, baby in back and the fourth still closer to the front yard. Four deer at once.

Trio of deer in the garden

And then baby came back to join these two.

Deer in the garden

While Ms. Birdbath still hung out around the front.

Four deer in the garden

Here you can see all four of them. Excuse  that bad picture. But on the left a little over half way up is Ms. Birdbsth.  On the lower right corner are the other three under the magnolia tree.

Deer in the yard

It was like she was the lookout.

Trio of deer in the garden

And these three were just like a group of kids playing around.

Trio of deer in the garden

But they too were always on the lookout.

Baby in the garden

Finally they all headed down, one by one, to the lower part of the garden.

Baby in the garden

Baby was the last to go.  And after they went down the hill Keith and I watched them for quite a while, until it was too dark to see them anymore and they went back into the safety of the bamboo.  It sure was a surprise to see four at once and to see we have a new “birdie” at the birdbath.

 

 

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Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

March 17, 2015 by tigermucha

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!  Are you wearing the green today?  Here is another Irish Blessing for you.  I hope you have a very lucky day today!  Just click on the image to view the 5 x 7, 300 ppi full size .jpg file.

Irish Blessing on threelittlekitens.com/blog - Free Printable - Digital Goodie for St. Patrick's Day

Erin go bragh!

DGD – Digital Goodie Day – Irish Blessing

March 16, 2015 by tigermucha

Top of the Morning to You! I am a little late on getting this posted, but I do want to share a little Digital Goodie with you today.  It’s a sweet little Irish Blessing that you can print out and frame, use in scrapbooking or card making projects or share on social media.  Just click on the image below to view the full size 300 ppi, 5 x 7 .jpg file.

Irish Blessing on threelittlekitens.com/blog - Free Printable - Digital Goodie for St. Patrick's Day

Enjoy!

Sunday Bliss – March 15th

March 15, 2015 by tigermucha

Welcome to Sunday Bliss on threelittlekittens.com/blog

My Uncle Phil's License Plate now hangs on our deck with our old plates

My Mom sent me my Uncle Phil’s license plate.  It now hangs on our kitchen deck with our old plates.  We now have a happy reminder of my Uncle every time we walk out the door.

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