For me, it meant mainly one thing: I was able to spend more time with O.K.
I arrived on Friday early evening and stayed until Monday evening. We had a mix of sun and rain, grey and blue skies, and decided on our activities spontaneously.
On Monday afternoon, we drove the short distance to the castle we often see from afar during our walks - not that long ago, I showed you that view here.
Now it was time to have a proper look round.
Ascending from where we'd left the car:
Inside one of the towers - wouldn't this window make great deco for a Halloween party? :-)
Ortenberg castle has a long and varied history.
There was already a castle at this site in the 11th and 12th century, but little of that time remains. It was mostly used as an administrative seat; taxes were collected here and court cases were brought to the place.
In the 15th century, the castle was enlarged and fortified so that now canons could be used from its towers and walls.
In 1678 and 1697, the castle was attacked and destroyed twice (French troops under King Louis XIV the first time; not sure about the second attack).
As a result, regional administration was moved to a different place, a newly built seat in the nearby city of Offenburg.
For one and a half centuries, the ruins served as a convenient quarry for everyone around who needed stones and masonry for their houses.
Then along came Baron von Berckholtz, who had a new castle built at the site from 1838 to 1843. At the time, English "Medieval" style was very much in fashion, and the architect aspired to create a fairytale castle like something straight out of "Ivanhoe" and the like.
See for yourself whether he succeeded:
Great views from the highest tower:
The above view, zoomed in, shows the woods on the hill where O.K. and I often pass on walks or running, and from where we can see the castle:
Nowadays. the castle serves a dual purpose. The largest building is a youth hostel, and there are some extra rooms where groups can gather for seminars etc.
In one of the towers, couples can get married - and I imagine this to be a popular place for weddings, with so many romantic corners:
After we'd climbed every tower we could climb (the youth hostel buildings are only accessible for guests, not for visiting tourists), we walked on through the vineyards and took a roundabout path back to where we had parked the car.
Next time I'll be on that wooded hill near O.K.'s village and look across the valley to Ortenberg castle, I'll know what it looks like close-up.