For months and months we’d been trying to get the girls excited to leave Mexico (not an easy task)! Our only big form of bribery was telling them that they would get to see real, true-to-life, castles. Maiya kept asking, “Do real Princesses live there?”

On our last day in Northern Germany, we drove from Lubeck to Shwerin, home of the Schwerin Castle. Records exist indicating that there has been a castle on this little island plot on the lake since around 973. Wow–that’s old! Granted, the castle that stands today is a mixture of architectural styles, resulting from a thousand years of different rulers under its roof.

A bit impressive, don’t you think?

A little history lessons for the enthusiasts:

We followed signs that pointed “Individual Visitors” (as opposed to groups) to an entrance on the left. There we found no indication that entrance was allowed to tourists (even though the books indicated that!), and a clear indication that this is still the seat of Parliament. It is a Government building, and we didn’t have the correct credentials to enter. “Oh, well” we thought, “we’l just walk around the popular gardens outside!”

As per typical-4-year-old-Maiya-style, she decided she couldn’t walk any further. Ridiculousness, I tell ‘ya! We’ll see if I can survive this child…

A brief view of the odd contrasting styles for which this castle is famous:

Is a picture on the wall?

No, it is a funny little tourist photo opportunity. An empty frame on a white wall with a hole in the frame area…allowing you to see the beautiful view in all its splendor! People took cute photos with themselves in the photo frame, but my kids and husband refused and since I cannot take photos of myself…alas…it’s just the beautiful scenery!

Let’s not take these castles too seriously, okay?

We left the little island on a bridge on the other side, to see some more beautiful gardens. Don’t you love green archways? I most certainly do!

 

We walked back on to the castle’s island, and low-and-behold, the entry for tourists! We felt silly that we could have missed this opportunity to see inside the castle, and would have reported that tourists were no longer allowed! Whoops!

10 Euros later (a family ticket price for 2 adults and 2 children) we were in business!

Ever the admirer of wood…I was most impressed by the wood floors and ceilings!

And also the unique indoor smoking facility. It was an open booth that was placed in the castle so people could take their smoke breaks without leaving the building. Did I mention that Europe is a cloud of smoke? Dang…it’s as if the people don’t know how bad it is for their health, here!

After our exploration of the castle, we headed into the city of Schwerin.

I tend to take too many photos of small cute streets…but I’ll assure you that Schwerin’s centro is an adorable with fantastic shopping and eateries! Plan to walk the short distance into town if you’re in the area!

Another interesting discovery was that the castle workers didn’t speak English. Everywhere else we’d been..our question “Do you speak English” was inevitably answered with “a little” (just before they’d break out in perfect English)!

Our friends informed us that this is because Schwerin was formerly part of Eastern Germany, as the border was just outside of Lubeck, where we’d been staying. Until the Berlin Wall came down, the schools were teaching the children Russian, instead of English, as a second language!

We said goodbye to our first castle in Europe. We will forever hold you in our hearts!

4 Responses to “Our First German Castle”

  1. If you think Europe is a cloud of smoke, you should try China. Apparently all of the cigarette companies are putting their advertising efforts overseas.

    • Cough, cough, cough! Ugh!! Yeah, I don’t see photos of black lungs on the boxes here (like they are required in the US). The market sure is bigger here…who DOESN’T smoke?!! Cough, cough, cough!!

  2. Chelsea Good says:

    It always cracked me up when people would say they spoke “a little” English and then bust out in perfect English more fluent than I could ever be. I have never been to Eastern Germany though so I never had the experience that someone didn’t speak English. It is funny trying to speak German and having people stop you and say, “Let me practice my English.” That they speak PERFECTLY!

    • Oh my goodness…EXACTLY!! Their answer is always a humble “a little”…but then they break out in perfect English!! Hahahaa! I love it!
      We were beginning to think ALL Germans spoke English, until we had a few of those run-ins. Also, in Bavaria, less people seem to speak English (that is-at least the middle aged or older farmers and store workers in that area didn’t seem to speak much).

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