23 October 2010

Thuringian Heights

We set off one sunny day in Thuringia to explore Nationalpark Hainach from atop the Beaumkronenpadf (Tree Top Walk).
It looked like a roller coaster from below and the sound of shrieking children rang out in the distance above our heads, further giving the place an 'amusement park' feel. The place was swarming with kids actually, odd for a Wednesday afternoon.
The beaumkronenpfad definitely took the Family Fun approach to tourism, placing puzzles and obstacle courses throughout the walkway.
The view from the top was amazing. They said that the path was 44 feet above the tree tops, but at some points it seemed even higher. Had it not been a brisk, cold day, we would have seen bats, woodpeckers and other wildlife in "the jungle in the middle of Germany" (or so it said in the awkwardly translated tourist guide).
The walkway didn't take as long as we had thought it would and the vibrant foliage had invigorated us. So, we decided to head on over to another Thuringian sight in the sky: Kyffhäuser Denkmal (a.k.a. Barbarossa Monument).The monument was built atop the ruins of an old medieval castle, at the summit of the Kyffhäuser Mountain (1,574 feet high). It's the third largest monument in Germany - and it was also swarming with kids! There must have been some sort of school holiday or something.
Inside the monument was a spiral staircase that you could take all the way to the tippy top. Kaiser Wilhem I, who oversaw the building of the Denkmal looked like a pretty rotund guy and we both doubted that he ever made it up to see the view. The whole day we were bemoaning the fact that we were the only people between the ages of 10 and 60 everywhere we went, but it sure did pay off scaling these steps.
What a payoff the view was. This is looking out over the medieval castle ruins, now filled with sausage carts, WCs, a cafe and a playground.
And this was the view out the other way. I liked to think that Merlin and my heads made up a teeny tiny portion of the top of the monument's shadow, draped over the beautiful Thuringian landscape.


  1. that last view is spectacular...i was, also, wondering what kind of farms those are in the background....i'm thinking, their main staple are cabbage and potatoes??

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