Today we made our way from our hotel in Düsseldorf to the small town of Solingen, where we spent some time at the Schloss Burg, or the Burg Castle. This building dates back to the Middle Ages—to 1130—when it was constructed as the Neuenberge Fortress. It wouldn’t be referred to as a Castle until somewhere in the 14th or 15th Centuries, after its strategic importance as a fortress had declined.
Originally, Neuenberge Fortress was built by the Counts of Berg as a family seat, and as the name implies, a strategic fortress to repel aggressors. There was a wall around the buildings and even a moat at the entrance. The moat wasn’t filled with crocodiles as we all grew up seeing in our Saturday cartoons, but rather, it contained thorny bushes. Presumably there was a gate that could be raised when needed.
On our visit, we found an elegant but small castle. The main buildings have been converted into a museum, describing life in the late Middle Ages. There were items of everyday life, including cooking utensils, tools for wood working and metal fabrication, and of course, weapons and armor all around.
We particularly enjoyed the visit because it was self-guided. For us, trying to take pictures, we could move at our own pace. And of course, all the plaques and descriptions were in German, so we needed a little extra time to work out their meanings.
After our tour, we stepped outside the castle walls and immediately found a small outdoor restaurant. After some brief negotiating with the mostly German speaking server, we settled on coffee and a dish of ice cream, which is pretty much what we were after.
We probably spent about two hours touring the Castle. Altogether, it used up about half a day of our time including travel both ways from Dusseldorf. That’s about what we thought it would take. Of course, in addition to visiting the Castle, we got to see some fantastic German countryside, and made a couple of runs down the Autobahn. In our diesel powered Renault Dacia. Six speed manual and all.