Sunday, 4 July 2010


Way back in May, we took advantage of the quite wonderful Bayreuth Universität Welcome Centre's offer of a guided trip to Coburg, a small town overlooked by a fabulous and grand Castle.  Coburg is also the home of the Coburger sausage, one of the nation's top wursts in my opinion.

There's more to Coburg than the castle and the sausages, but time was a fleeting.
By train, Coburg is about 90 minutes away, with a change in Lichtenfels after an hour or so, a town of which I know nothing apart from if you're heading to Berlin, the quick (ICE) trains stop here.

Coburg itself is rather small (40,000 people or so), but it was the seat of the Dukes of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, families related to pretty much nearly every European noble family you'd care to think of, and which produced Prince Albert, husband of Great Britain's Queen Victoria.

Yes, I had started eating it before we realised a photo'd be a good thing
Coburg is also famous for it's sausages, the Coburger bratwurst, cooked over pine cones (in Coburg anyway), which apparently by tradition should be approximately three times as long as the brötchen (bun).  Delicious, there's really very little else to say about them.  In Coburg itself, the little huts that sell 'em are easily distinguished by the plumes of smoke pouring from their chimneys, which, while if approached in the wrong direction can be toxic, adds just a little dash more character than your average wurst-huts.

The approach

The ascent to the castle is via the palatial gardens, which winds you gently up along shady paths for a kilometre or two, past an aquarium (of all things), to the castle itself, which is now a museum, and a great one at that.  The exterior is complere with slots to fire your arrows from, although I'm afraid to say I can't remember at all whether there was a moat.  The interior decor's superb as well, but you'll have to take my word for it, as we didn't take our camera inside.

The castle, looming.

Maybe that bridge in the foreground spans a moat?  Maybe

 The museum's effectively split into two parts, a "how it was" section, and then galleries dedicated to warfare.  The first section (you pretty much have to take a one way trip through the Castle's three stories) is grand and opulent, with detailed carvings on the ceilings and walls of pretty much every room, and cases of medals, regalia and other such royal emblems.  In the second section is more armour than you could shake a stick at, which gives you an appreciation of just how little all them knights of the middle ages were (the tall ones would maybe fit Sara (5 ft 4) at a push), rooms full of weaponry, cannons and all sorts of carnage making machines.  Armour for horses too, which, it has to be said, looked rather flimsy compared to what the people got.

Overall, if you've got time on a trip around Bayern, I'd recommend a visit, but it's not so essential to make a Germany in a week type flying visit.  It helped a great deal that the weather was fine too, I suspect the walk up might not be quite so fun in the rain eh.

Gargoyles!  Well, kind of (photo may not represent the castle itself)

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