Monday, November 2, 2009

Les 3 châteaux de Ribeauvillé

While driving to our hotel one night we saw this hill. If you look closely you can see the ruins of three different castles. It seemed likely that it was the 3 castles of Ribeauvillé that I had read about prior to leaving on our trip. (We never actually heard any natives say the name of the town, but our best guess is that it's pronounced "Ree-bo-vee-lay"...roughly). It was getting dark, but we decided to see if we could get closer to take pictures. We drove into Ribeauvillé, and drove around until we were lost. We stopped a local who told us that we could drive a little further up to a parking lot, and then we could hike up to the ruins on foot. He advised against it that night, since it was getting dark, but we decided to go check it out anyway.

Ribeauvillé at dusk from the trail.

You have to imagine this view with the cool, crisp autumn air, standing on the trail on the edge of a vineyard, and the sound of the bell tower ringing the hour.

A few shots on the trail.

Castle number 1: Saint Ulrich

This is as close as we got before we decided that it was too dark to continue. One of the castles is supposed to be haunted, so we decided it was best to turn around.

We came back the next morning (after packing a baguette, cheese, grape juice and chocolate lunch) to attempt the 9km (5.5mile) hike again. It was a perfect day for hiking.

This is a school. We had to hike past the kids smoking in the vineyard.:)

We met an awesome Belgian couple. They were visiting on a weekend trip. We hiked for the first little bit with them. They told us about their trips to New York, and Washington D.C., and how to make Gauffres Liegeoise. We almost considered making a trip to Belgium specifically to have these amazing sugar waffles. We've tried to replicate them, but haven't gotten it quite right. Apparently the secret is "lots of butter."

The trail wound through the outer walls of castle number 1.

A ghost?

The narrow, rickety, steep stairs to get up to the top of castle number 1's keep. Scary. I was so relieved to get down safely, I took a picture.

Castle number 2: Girsberg

Castle Number 3: Haut Ribeaupierre

These ruins were at the very top of the hill, and were closed so we couldn't go inside.

It was such a fun day. On the way down we met a couple from Virginia that currently live in India. They were very vague about why they are living in India, so we decided that they are either spies, or missionaries.

We came to the conclusion that we'd go hiking a lot more if there were cool castles to explore in the U.S.


wrightNOW said...

OHHHH I want to go there! Can you guys come and be our tour guides???

Neta said...

I love all the details of your trip. The ruins look amazing and great shots.

Ashlie said...

Wow! Very cool.

Marci said...

What a neat place to see! The ghost picture is great!

Camille said...

I love all your pictures. It's so fun to see your trip

Heather said...

You need to give the ghost picture to Kayli and watch her reaction... it will be priceless I promise! Looks like a BLAST!