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Monday, October 11, 2004

Chateau du Nideck

Instead of going home via the Autobahn, we drove north through France, enjoying the forest of the Vosges Mountains. We headed for the Cascades et Château du Nideck, west of Strasbourg. (This is only a couple of hours from the KMC, and would also make a good day trip.)

We stopped at the first parking place marked for Nideck, south of the falls and castle. This gave us about a mile hike uphill to get there. Another parking place, north of the castle, gives you a slightly shorter hike, but you would have to hike downhill to get there and uphill on your way back.

The hike was wonderful. The beginning goes gently uphill, through the forest, with the sound of a babbling brook near the path. Suddenly, the trees open to the sight of a beautiful waterfall. Then comes the hard part—climbing up past the waterfall. There are steps to help you, but it is hard work. The castle above the falls doesn’t have much left of it. Steve thought the waterfall was much more impressive than the castle, but I have a castle obsession, so I thought the additional climb was well worth it. Château du Nideck was our 163rd Castle touched since we came to Europe.

After our hike down, we stopped at a café by the parking lot, hoping for dinner. The café didn’t have much food to offer, but while we were drinking caffeinated beverages, a kitten sprang onto the chair next to me. The kitten got onto our laps in turn, and Steve and the boys entertained themselves getting the kitten to pounce while we relaxed from our workout.

I had found another castle along our route to try, but it was getting late, so we headed through the hills to Saarbrucken and from there on home, finishing up a fabulous two-day trip. I couldn’t help thinking back to my days in French class in high school. I never dreamed then that I’d actually get to go to France some day. I picked up brochures for many places we didn’t visit, so I hope we go to Alsace again some other weekend. I think that every time we go, we’ll want to make a stop at Monkey Mountain.

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