Tuesday, 4 October 2022

Odenwald Break: Day 5

Our last day here (Wednesday, Sept. 21) was also the most beautiful, and not just weather-wise. The night had been close to frost at 2 or 3 Celsius, but the morning sun came streaming into our east-facing room, and it remained sunny all day.

Once again, we chose a circuit suggested by the hotel, starting directly from the hotel grounds and into the woods:

Burg Stolzeneck ("castle proud-corner"), another ruined castle in the immediate area, was where we were headed. I was particularly pleased to find that the route took us past the beautiful Neckarblick again, today even more beautiful than the first time we passed there:

A signpost inspired us to a little detour, a narrow path leading to yet another enchanted spot with a well and a place to take a rest:

Going back to the main path - more a lane, really - offered some good views:

Then we rounded another bend and stood in front of the castle:

Like the Minneburg we had visited a few days before, Stolzeneck is partly closed to the public because the walls are crumbling. But what is left of them is still truly impressive, and there is still plenty to see from the outer courtyard.

View from the castle across the Neckar valley

We did not meet a single soul but had the place all to ourselves. After we had explored the ruins as much as we could, we followed the suggested route down a narrow path to the bottom of the valley, reaching the river:


From here, good part of the lane (not open to general traffic and therefore pleasant to walk on) took us along the river, passing the village of Lindach on the other side of the Neckar before reaching Zwingenberg, a small town with yet another impressive castle - this time, lived in and not open to the public.

Zwingenberg castle

Approaching Zwingenberg

A modern suspension bridge links the two sides of the river at this point. We briefly crossed it to have a look at the town, but could not find a place to have coffee in the immediate area and decided to make our way slowly and steadily uphill back towards Neunkirchen.

View from the bridge

Last view of Zwingenberg castle before the lane took us back into the woods
 Up in the woods, we came across this stone house:

It was erected in the 1850s to house tools and workers building the road that now links Neunkirchen and Zwingenberg. Working and living conditions clearly were not exactly pleasant for the men!

Shortly before reaching Neunkirchen again, we came past this nice spot in the sun:

We arrived back at the hotel with 17.3 km under our feet, and still in time for coffee - this time sitting in the sun on the hotel's terrace - before taking a quick turn in the sauna and, eventually, having dinner; our last one here.

It had been a truly wonderful day with a hike very much to my liking, and I was really sorry to have to leave here the next day.

If you wish to know a bit more about Stolzeneck, the link to the wikipedia entry is here, but it is only available in German. The castle was first built around the year 1200 and given up after 1610. In the following centuries, people seem to have simply forgotten about it, until in 1960 the ruins were rediscovered and made accessible.


  1. How interesting that the Zwingenberg castle is still lived in. I can't imagine the cost of upkeep for such a huge place...
    You certainly covered a lot of beautiful ground on that day, Meike!

    1. The owners do a lot to make money, that's for sure; there are seminar rooms that can be booked, a restaurant, a hotel and other things going on, but you can not just walk in and around like we did with the ruined castles.
      It was my favourite day of our break, although I loved every minute of those five days.

  2. Stolzeneck is a lonely castle, its walls crumbling like Minneburg.
    It is the castle in the forest which haunts the Gothic imagination.
    Think of the people who lived there between the 13th and 17th Centuries.
    Zwingenberg Castle, standing on a crag above the Neckar, not too far from Heidelberg, hosts an open air opera festival, thanks to its owner, Prince Ludwig of Baden.

    Would you agree that there are quiet places and also remote, lonely places?
    J.P. Donleavy, the Irish-American novelist, lived in a remote house in Co. Meath.
    Too lonesome for me; a house in a quiet Dublin square would have suited me.
    On the Cheltenham-Cirencester road you see houses on the other side of the valley.
    The valley is quiet not lonely like Balquhidder in Perthshire where Rob Roy is buried.

    Lindach is a beauty spot like the whole Neckar valley.
    You must be happy to return always to your town. Couthy Ludwigsburg.

    1. Prinz Ludwig needs a lot of money to keep his castle in good shape and fit to be lived in; the opera festival is just one of many things to contribute to that. I wonder how he and his family fare this winter with energy prices so high.

      Yes, there is certainly a big difference between quiet, remote and lonely places. I love to visit them all but would not want to live permanently too far away from shops, doctors and all the comforts of city life; noise and busy-ness is the price to pay for that.

      I love my home town because it is that - my home town - but I am glad it is not bigger than it is.

  3. I've enjoyed catching up with your blog and reading about your adventures last month! The pictures have a been a treat. I showed them to Gregg yesterday and it was like a little virtual visit to Germany!

    1. I like the idea of you and Gregg doing some armchair travel through my blog!

  4. What a lovely area to explore! Your first three photos remind me of "Hansel and Gretel". I really loved that bridge, are cars allowed on it also? That view!

    1. I always love being in the woods, no matter the time of year or weather, but the sun filtering through the trees was a real treat.
      The bridge is open for cars, too, but there are not too many coming and going that way since the main road is on one side of the river only.

  5. I love the mossy stones and dappled sunlight in the forest.

    Those poor workers had a real time of it! They were probably considered lucky to get a building to sleep in!

    1. The sunlight in the woods was a real treat, and the mossy stones looked a lot more green and soft than what my camera could catch.
      Yes, I am sure that workmen didn't often have such "comfortable" accomodation as the stone house!