If you go down to the woods today

The small German town of Landstuhl is situated on the northwestern edge of the ancient Palatinate forest and home to a rather splendid hilltop castle by the name of Burg Nanstein.

landstuhl, burg nanstein, ramstein, germany, travel, travelogue, ailsa prideaux-mooney. wood carving, woodcutting, holzschnitt

The castle itself is a mighty sight, built around 1162AD when this area was firmly under Roman occupation. The castle itself was built in response to a request from the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick I who was shoring up defenses around the Palatinate. The castle, however, is better known for being the place where rebel knight Franz von Sickingen gave up the ghost. A big supporter of Protestant reform, he had extended protection to many a reformer, including the man himself, Martin Luther. He overstepped his powers, however, when he went up against the Archbishop of Trier and the Holy Roman Empire itself. Von Sickingen quickly found himself besieged by his enemies. Under normal circumstances, he could probably have weathered out the siege for about four months but this battle is purported to be the very first instance where artillery was used. His fortified castle proved no match for that kind of warfare; his defenses were quickly dismantled and he himself received a fatal wound, dying on the same day he admitted defeat.

So there’s oodles of history associated with the ruins of this hilltop castle, and a cracking view of the surrounding countryside too.

landstuhl, burg nanstein, ramstein, germany, travel, travelogue, ailsa prideaux-mooney. wood carving, woodcutting, holzschnitt

Now you can drive almost to the top if you are so inclined, but if you have a little more time and energy, leave the car behind and walk instead. Take Burgweg past the Schloss-Hotel Landstuhl and look for a leafy trail to your left. As you zigzag your way up the forested slopes keep your eyes peeled for some rather interesting characters along the way.

landstuhl, burg nanstein, ramstein, germany, travel, travelogue, ailsa prideaux-mooney. wood carving, woodcutting, holzschnitt

A brilliant local initiative makes the most of tree stumps left behind after forest maintenance thins out the dense forest canopy. Some of them pay homage to local institutions and antiquities…

landstuhl, burg nanstein, ramstein, germany, travel, travelogue, ailsa prideaux-mooney. wood carving, woodcutting, holzschnitt

landstuhl, burg nanstein, ramstein, germany, travel, travelogue, ailsa prideaux-mooney. wood carving, woodcutting, holzschnitt

landstuhl, burg nanstein, ramstein, germany, travel, travelogue, ailsa prideaux-mooney. wood carving, woodcutting, holzschnitt

landstuhl, burg nanstein, ramstein, germany, travel, travelogue, ailsa prideaux-mooney. wood carving, woodcutting, holzschnitt

landstuhl, burg nanstein, ramstein, germany, travel, travelogue, ailsa prideaux-mooney. wood carving, woodcutting, holzschnitt

…some are pure fancy….

landstuhl, burg nanstein, ramstein, germany, travel, travelogue, ailsa prideaux-mooney. wood carving, woodcutting, holzschnitt

…and one or two are downright scary.

landstuhl, burg nanstein, ramstein, germany, travel, travelogue, ailsa prideaux-mooney. wood carving, woodcutting, holzschnitt

 

landstuhl, burg nanstein, ramstein, germany, travel, travelogue, ailsa prideaux-mooney. wood carving, woodcutting, holzschnitt

As the song goes, if you go down to the woods today, you’re sure of a big surprise.

xxx Ailsa

Advertisements

About ailsapm

Hi there! I’m Ailsa Prideaux-Mooney. I’ve lived in many places, and travelled to many more. I had a lot of fun getting there and being there, wherever there happened to be at the time. I climbed a castle wall in Czesky Krumlov, abseiled down cliffs to go caving in the west of Ireland, slept on the beach in Paros, got chased by a swarm of bees in Vourvourou (ok that wasn’t fun, but it was exciting), learned flower arranging in Tokyo, found myself in the middle of a riot in Seoul, learned to snowboard in Salzburg, got lost in a labyrinth in Budapest and had my ice cream stolen by a gull in Cornwall. And I’m just getting started. If you’ve enjoyed what you’ve read so far, I’d love you to follow my travelogue - wheresmybackpack.com - and remember, anyone who tries to tell you it’s a small world hasn’t tried to see it all.
This entry was posted in Europe, Germany, Photography, Travel and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

26 Responses to If you go down to the woods today

  1. aj vosse says:

    Did you see any faeries? 😉

  2. Pickleope says:

    I’ve always found that song strangely menacing. As are some of those tree carvings. Good morning, nightmares. I thank you for the background on the castle. People don’t use “gave up the ghost” nearly enough.The tale of Franz gives me the idea that I want “I admit defeat” to either be my last words or etched on my tombstone.

    • ailsapm says:

      I know quite a few other people who get spooked by that song too, Pickleope, but I’ve always loved it. Teddy bears and picnics are two of my favourite things. 🙂 I think Franz would approve of your choice of last words.

  3. Sue says:

    Oodles of history, and scary carvings!

  4. thebluespade says:

    “Today’s the day, the Teddybears have their picnic.” – Looks like quite an awesome place to go see.

    • ailsapm says:

      It really is an awfully impressive castle for such a wee town, thebluespade, definitely worth a visit if you’re ever in the area.

  5. Pingback: If you go down to the woods today | ubu4u2b

  6. DailyMusings says:

    what amazing carvings!

  7. Mary says:

    I love that! What a great idea. And thanks for the earworm for the day.

  8. The local initiative is interesting!

  9. tgeriatrix says:

    Thanks for the info! I don’t live very far, I might visit!

  10. sudapoedia47 says:

    Ah, Germany. One of the many places I have not visited yet. Your blog is inspiring

  11. ailsapm says:

    Glad you enjoyed my post, sudapoedia47, I hope you get to visit Germany soon, there are some stunning places to see. But then you can say that about almost anywhere, can’t you? So many places to see, so little time. 😉

  12. What an amazing place. Love all the wood carving. There are some very creative people here.

  13. asthaguptaa says:

    Gorgeous carvings! thanks for sharing 🙂 One of my recent posts on Vietnam mentions a place where similar carvings and handmade wooden furniture features extensively in an architect’s personal project turned tourist place — I loved it there and you may want to check out my post 🙂

  14. tamwarner says:

    Incredible carvings! Thanks!

Comments are closed.