Been There, Done That …. My trip to Castle Baldenau

Hey Faithful Blog Readers– we’re pleased to kick off an EXCITING new phase in our endeavor in social media: reader submissions on travel! We received this wonderful blurb from Nicole Flohr about her recent trip (back in time) to a castle ruins not too far from Saber Nation! Check it out below, and if you want to submit YOUR stories, send them to 52fw.panews@us.af.mil. We look forward to reading about where YOU will go next!

Here’s something you may not know about me: I happen to own a costume that makes me look like a maiden from the Middle Ages. I enjoy every chance I get to air it out, but those opportunities are few and far between. Perhaps some of you can identify with me when I say wearing an outfit like this to a gas station or bank shouldn’t be that big of a deal. And if I happen to receive puzzled looks from passersby, that is society’s problem and not mine!

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You can imagine my excitement to wear my gown again when I checked out Castle Baldenau May 9. I not only felt more comfortable around other dressed-up people, I also enjoyed archery, historical re-enactments, food tasting, vendors, bird of prey aerial displays and even a wedding!

The first part of my journey started while trying to find the place. It’s a challenge to get to this castle, because it didn’t come with an address. Even after extended internet research, all I could come up with was a village called Hundheim, which is supposed to be only one kilometer away from the castle. So I started from there, and fortunately the organizers put signs up pointing my way to the castle.

Now, “castle” might not be the best word for the ruins I encountered; in fact, that’s probably why it has no address! With the exception of this fest in May, there is little to no activity at the castle during the rest of the year.

Castle

It’s hard to comprehend that this castle (or at least the remains of it) have been standing since 1315! Archbishop Balduin von Trier built it to defend his territory back then. After several damages during the Thirty Years War, the castle was restored in 1649. Unfortunately, those improvements last just four decades when French troops destroyed the castle under Ludwig XIV in 1689.

But the remains are in good shape, and I’m always in awe with ruins. I start to think of the old times and try to imagine how life might have been back then: what tragedies might have taken place there and what happy times these stones might have witnessed.

After a look around through the remains of the castle, my attention soon turned admiring history to snacking on delicious food. I always try to get a pick of everything at the food booths, and it was hard to make a decision since everything looked mouthwateringly good! They offered a wide range of bread baked right before you and meat in rolls.

And, of course, they served mead—that’s a honeyed wine for those unfortunate readers who didn’t have the chance to try some yet! (I also bet you don’t have a costume either!) It’s my favorite drink at events such as this, and with a cup in my hand, I (responsibly) continued my journey back through time.

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After the lunch break, I continued on to the fields, passing a couple of tents where people had camped out old-style or sold clothes and other things connected to the era. At the far end of the field, they held an archery competition. The archers also welcomed visitors to have a try at the sport. Of course, I tried it myself and was even able to hit the target once.

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After all that exercise, I went to a falconer who was situated next to the castle wall and the moat. He had a small flight show (kind of like a flyover for you Air Force readers) with his buzzard. After that, he allowed visitors to hold either the buzzard or an eagle on their hands for a small amount of money. Of course, I went for the eagle (another thing you American readers may appreciate too!)

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I then walked around the ruins and came across a short play where actors held court over a broom maker and a tinker who had been accused of stealing chickens from neighbors and poaching. Watching the guards lead the broom maker away in shackles made me laugh.

Sabers explore the Eifel

At the end, I walked inside the ruins and witnessed a medieval marriage, which I soon realized was a real ceremony involving an already-married couple renewing their wedding vows. It was very touching.

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Finally, I have to say that this trip was totally worth it, and I highly recommend going there for the next event they offer. Compared to other castles I’ve been to so far, this was low-price, had a great location (not too far from Spangdahlem) and complete with a nice agenda. You can take a journey back through time and return home with a deeper appreciation for all the benefits of modern technology (and mead!)

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It’s a fun place to go if you want exquisite food, fun archery, close encounters with wild animals, a shopping spree for medieval items and good times with friends. (Or if you happen to have a costume you’re itching to put on again like I did!)

Any way you choose, you’ll have a great time! 

For more pictures from this trip, visit the following Flickr photo set.

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