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A Wedding in Neuffen Castle

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Neuffen Castle

Neuffen Castle

 

In February this year, we received an invitation to attend a wedding in Neuffen Castle.

Our first reaction was – Where is Neuffen, let alone a wedding in Neuffen Castle?

Initially, we asked a German friend the question?

He replied: “I have never heard of it”.

“It could be village or town in Germany, Switzerland or Austria perhaps?”

“I really do not know”.

 

We spoke to the bride’s father who lives in Northern Germany.

He said, Neuffen is in Swabia, the South West of Germany. It is principally a farming region.  They are good farmers and work extremely hard. The region is different from the rest of Germany and the people speak a dialect of the German language.

There are a number of famous people who have come from this area. They include – Rudolf Diesel (inventor of the diesel engine), Albert Einstein (Physicist), Robert Bosch (industrialist), Gottlieb Daimler (co-founder of Mercedes Benz). Stuttgart is home of Mercedes Benz.

He said that it would be a good experience to sample rural Germany. That is true. Most of our visits to Germany have been to cities.

This travel blog describes our experience travelling to rural Germany for a wedding in Neuffen Castle. Also, to share in the photographs, the spectacular scenery and the wonderful sunset.

 

Neuffen

We flew into Stuttgart Airport and took a taxi to Neuffen, a distance of some 35km south of Stuttgart Airport. In the conversation with the taxi driver who has been in the business for over 20 years, he cannot recall taking anybody to Neuffen let alone visiting the town. Armed with his iPad (using Google Maps) and a Sat Nav, he drove us to the town. “I have never been here” he was muttering, this is all new to me. He dropped us off at the family run Hotel Traube.

Aerial view of Neuffen Town from Neuffen Castle

Aerial view of Neuffen Town from Neuffen Castle

 

We were booked to spend 3 nights in Neuffen. Neuffen is a small town in a predominately farming area. There is a Supermarket but cafes and restaurants line the main street. Should there be any requirement for shopping, there is a shuttle train to Nurtingen where there is a shopping mall. The town has a number of churches, a town hall in the centre and is surrounded by residential houses. There is a small industrial park outside the town.

Hotel Traube in Neuffen

Hotel Traube in Neuffen

Hotel Traube, as I understand, is a typical German guesthouse. The furnishings are traditional in design, practical, solid and well made. The same could be said of the hotel decorations.

This hotel is next to a church where the bells chime every quarter of an hour but there was no chiming between midnight and 6am. Soon, we got used to frequency but, at 12 noon, 6am and 6pm it went on for a good 5 minutes.  I noticed that tunes from the church tower were quite complex.  It was from a considerable number of bells. This is very different to the chimes of the simple tunes from the Bell towers in the UK. This instrument is called the Carillon or Glockenspiel – it has at least 23 bells.

I found the tunes really good but it took some time to appreciate it. The main point is, the town life revolves around the ringing of the church bells.

 

The church tower with the Glockenspiel which reminded us of its proximity every 15 minutes during the day.

The church tower with the Glockenspiel which reminded us of its proximity every 15 minutes during the day.

 

Food in the Restaurant was memorable. The portions were generously huge and really tasted good. I could taste the freshness of the ingredients. For breakfast, I would not consider this to be called a continental breakfast, it was a full German breakfast.   The spread was so varied – the variety of fresh fruits, juices, cold meats, pastries and with the cooked egg dishes to order. The bacon and sausages were really good, the best I have had for a long time. The difference is the quality of the pork. Helen reminded me that this is a farming region. All produce is sourced locally. It is literally just round the corner.

The service in the hotel was impeccable and the rooms spotlessly clean. There was absolutely no problem with communications as we do not speak any German. The staff spoke good English. I was not expecting this as this is deepest rural Germany.

 

The Wedding in Neuffen Castle

The main ceremonies – The Wedding Ceremony and the Chinese Tea Ceremony were held in the church and hall in Neuffen. The reception was to be held up the hill in Neuffen Castle.

This castle has been around for quite some time:  Built in the early 12th Century on the hills overlooking the plains of Neuffen. It has a panoramic view of the whole countryside. This shows the strategic importance of this hill. Of course, this castle has been involved in a number of sieges.

The castle is now open to the public and is a popular venue for the wedding receptions.

An aerial view of Neuffen Castle (Acknowledgement: image from Wikimedia – (Swabian Tourismusverband). When coming to the castle, the tunnel exit is on the left side of the image. Then the road passage goes uphill steeply (from left to right of the castle). This then leads to the entrance to the castle proper.

An aerial view of Neuffen Castle (Acknowledgement: image from Wikimedia – (Swabian Tourismusverband). When coming to the castle, the tunnel exit is on the left side of the image. Then the road passage goes uphill steeply (from left to right of the castle). This then leads to the entrance to the castle proper.

 

The ruins of the castle is perched high up on the hill and it is quite a trek to get to the top. We took a bus to the last stopping point and waited for the castle transport to take us to the top. For the energetic with the appropriate shoes, they “hiked” or strolled up the hill in about 20 minutes. They enjoyed the fresh country air and the spectacular hilltop scenery. For the rest of us, it was the mini bus which had a specially trained driver who took us to the top of the Castle. The critical part was at the entrance to the castle which has a very sharp 360 degree bend. The sharp bend was at a limited gap not much wider than the mini bus. There was not only limited space to manoeuvre but immediately after the bend, there was a steep incline to the castle centre. The castle wall at the entrance is more than a metre thick. The driver’s manoeuvre to turn the corner is totally counter intuitive. That is why cars are parked before this entrance. Once we were up there in the castle, I could say, it was well worth the effort for the long journey from London’s Heathrow Airport. The scenery was simply stunning.

Like all castles, entry is hazardous if you are the enemy. Visitors have to go through a tunnel then a narrow passage going uphill. This passage is closely overlooked by the castle wall. This is the opportunity for the castle occupants to inspect closely who is visiting the castle. Be it friend or foe.

Then, at the top of the passage, there is the gated entrance set in the thick walls to the interior of the castle.

The images below show the steep escarpments below the castle walls. Secondly, the castle has a commanding panoramic view of the surrounding lands. They can easily spot any untoward movement in the plains below.

A view of the Countryside from Neuffen Castle

A view of the Countryside from Neuffen Castle

The afternoon reception was held on one of the castle terraces. The view was simply breathtaking. It got better as the sun began to set.

The Wedding dinner was held in a marquee at the centre of the castle. At the request of the bride and groom, their identities and their guests are not to be mentioned. Therefore, we have not shown any images of any persons.

This was certainly a fairy tale wedding for the couple.

The hills around Neuffen town taken from Neuffen Castle. This road passage leads to the entrance is on a steep incline. It is next to a castle wall which overlooks people travelling up this passage. This is the passage that is before the entrance. It has a difficult bend described earlier. Many cars have parked here because of the difficulty turning the corner and getting up another steep incline within the castle.

The hills around Neuffen town taken from Neuffen Castle. This road passage leads to the entrance is on a steep incline. It is next to a castle wall which overlooks people travelling up this passage. This is the passage that is before the entrance. It has a difficult bend described earlier. The drivers of the cars coming to the wedding in Neuffen Castle have  have parked on the passage. It is because of the difficulty turning the corner and getting up another steep incline within the castle.

 

 

The Countryside from Neuffen Castle. The clouds were putting an amazing show for the wedding couple and guests.

The Countryside from Neuffen Castle. The clouds were putting an amazing show for the wedding couple and guests at the wedding at Neuffen Castle.

 

A gyrocopter having an aerial view of the wedding in Neuffen Castle.

A gyrocopter having an aerial view of the wedding in Neuffen Castle.

 

 

The Sunset over Neuffen Town (the faint speckes in the foreground). The image was taken from Neuffen Castle

The Sunset over Neuffen Town (the faint speckes in the foreground). The image was taken from Neuffen Castle on the evening of the wedding in Neuffen Castle.

 

A moonlight view of one of the walls of Neuffen Castle.

A moonlight view of one of the walls of Neuffen Castle on the evening of the wedding in Neuffen Castle.

 

 

Neuffen Castle at sunrise. I have been told reliably that the view of the sunrise from Neuffen Castle is better than the sunset.

Neuffen Castle at sunrise. I have been told reliably that the view of the sunrise from Neuffen Castle is better than the sunset.

 

This travel article has described our lovely and unforgettable experience to Deepest Germany – Swabia to attend a wedding at Neuffen Castle. It was certainly a memorable visit with the unforgettable views.

 

Good bye Neuffen Castle. We will look forward to coming back soon.

May we wish the happy couple a long and happy marriage and best wishes for the future.

 

About Dr Michael Oon:

Michael was brought up in Singapore and came to the UK for schooling. He was a forensic scientist at the Metropolitan Police Forensic Science Laboratory (New Scotland Yard, London) for 20 years. He is now a consultant practicing traditional feng shui and works with property developers. He specialises in helping to sell property faster. He has travelled extensively around the world as part of his work and together with his wife Helen.

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