We went to Idar-Oberstein yesterday. We went there when I was a kid, so I have been excited about going back.
First, we went to a museum (The German Gemstone Museum) about gems/precious stones. Idar Oberstein's primary industry for centuries was mining/polishing stones. Charlie bought some sandstone at the museum. The museum we went to is at the bottom of page.
Next we went in search of the Church in the Rocks aka Felsenkirche. The legend behind the church is that 2 brothers were in love w/ the same woman and one brother killed the other. The surviving brother built the church as penance. The legend.
Climbing up the steps to the church is no joke. It was a workout. Charlie and David were going to count the steps, David lost count somewhere over 100 and Charlie counted over 500 (um, a bit of an exaggeration LOL). This is the tunnel to get into the church through the back. It was added in 1980 or 81. There are steps to go up to the front, but they are closed off now. I just googled and there are 230 steps.
This is the "bubbling spring" in the middle of the church. "When this labour was completed, it was taken as a sign that his penance was complete also, his sin forgiven, as a spring opened up within the chapel (a spring which remains active today)."
Felsenkiche: Click on slideshow for pics inside the church...my batteries died, so I got few pics. *rolling eyes*
After the church we hiked down to the town to get some lunch. This is where we ate:
We sat outside right under the name of the restaurant. I got their specialty of pork cooked over an open fire. It was good, but David's schnitzel was the best we've had in Germany, yet! Inside, the walls are lined w/ huge pics of the history of the town. The whole legend of the church (fratricide) is on the walls in pics.
We were interested in the castle, also, but couldn't figure out how to get up there. When we asked the waitress she said, "you go back up to the church..." OMG, those steps again. Little did we know that the steps were the least of our worries. The switchbacks on some parts along the way were steep. We get to the top and guess what was there? Yep, cars. LOL We were glad we walked though. But we didn't really get to look inside much b/c there was a wedding. There are 2 castles, the "new" castle and the "old castle". The lady in the souvenir shop (where both David and Cory, LOL, bought some pewter knights) referred to it that way. Found on the internet: Castle Bosselstein, a.k.a. 'the old castle' above the church, is first mentioned in historical documents from the year 1197. It was abandoned about 1600 following a siege and fell into ruin.
Castle Oberstein, a.k.a. 'the new castle' was built around 1320. It was partially destroyed by the French in 1680, and a fire in 1855 laid further ruin to the castle. Parts of it were restored and housed a youth hostel until a few years ago. A group of citizens is now actively collecting funds to stop further deterioration.
New castle from the old castle (next 2 pics are not mine)
Old castle, Burg Bosselstein:
Looking down to the town from the old castle, yes we walked all the way up. My calves are sore today. :)
Walking back down the trail (and I love you guys or otherwise I wouldn't put this horrid pic of myself on here!)
Afterwards, on the drive home, we went on to the army installation in Baumholder. My dad was stationed there in the very early 60's. And then again. We lived there when I was a kid, 7-9 years of age, so 1976-1978. I remembered the elementary school and where we lived from there. So, I found our old apartment building (stairwell). The big playground is still across the street as well as the German house next door. When I rolled down the windown to come in to the gate the wind was gusting. I remembered why it was called the rock. Baumholder is on the really high ground, high on a mountain/hill, "the rock." It's a pretty post and very hilly. Cory and I kept saying we couldn't imagine running here. LOL I hope to go back and take pics and go to the museum. I found these pics online (of course not exact bldg):