A Castle with a Cool Aunt

After I said a sad good-bye to the Emerald Isle, I spent a few days with my aunt and Oma in Germany, just outside of Frankfurt. After almost 5 weeks on my own, it was so nice to see some familiar faces. I realized my German skills were really lacking–which was a little bruising to my ego–but I loved having my aunt as a day-trip buddy and seeing my Oma for the first time in over 9 years.

On a cold and foggy Sunday, my aunt debated all morning whether it was worth it to follow through on our plans to go on a short ferry trip on the Rhine River and explore Castle Rheinstein. Would we even be able to see through the fog? Would we freeze? We decided to brave it and boy, was it worth it!

That tower on the top left is called the Mauseturm (translates to “Mouse Tower”). Click here to read the gross legend behind the name. I remembered this landmark from my childhood and it used to be way more pink. It’s more historically accurate, but a shame it’s all beige now. 

After this ferry ride (and taking several trains that went along the Rhine River) I hope to return to Germany someday–definitely in the fall so I get to see the golden leaves and romantic mist again–and travel down the whole length. Here’s a tiny sampling of the sweetness awaiting you and me should we make that happen!


Also, there are vineyards all along on the banks; there’s bound to be some good wine (or better yet, Federweiβe, which I call “baby wine”) around. Throw in a slice of savory Zweibelkuchen and you’re all set.

The fog cleared just like the weathermensch had promised. After a little confusion where we thought the ferry had passed the place we wanted to get off, my aunt and I approached Castle Rheinstein, a 13th century castle that was restored in the 1970s. Today, it’s a tourist’s (and bride’s) dream.


The interior is pretty awesome…


…but I could not get over the courtyard.


There are some truly sketchy stairs up to the highest tower, but the view is worth it, I promise.

And finally, a big shout-out to all the cool aunts of the world. You take us in, you let us sleep in your spare rooms, you decorate your apartments with our doodles we drew when we were eight, you take pictures of us at castles without us having to ask, you know where to get the best cappuccinos, you watch game shows with us after full days of exploring, you drive us home after we gorge ourselves on baby wine, and you set us free again.

Cathedrals and chocolate on the way!






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