Hechingen, Germany and Burg Hohenzollern


Trip Taken: 2005

It was the first day of the Autumn Lunar Festival and I was in Germany. I had invited all of my friends in Stuttgart to celebrate with some dumplings, tea, and mooncake. I was suppose to be making dumplings all day in preparation. This is what I had planned last week when I sent out the invitation e-mail.

However, things didn’t exactly go according to plan. Jacek and Jose wanted to visit the Hohenzollern castles in the southern part of Baden-Württemberg. From what I remember about the Hohenzollern, they were the longest reigning monarchs in the German empire. Whatever their role was in German history, it was impressive enough to be build multiple castles around Germany and especially in the Baden-Württemberg region. Well, they got my sister to go to and they needed a fifth person. No one else wanted to go and they wanted to get their money’s worth. They promised me they would help with making dumplings.

Staying behind the tour to sneak pictures

Staying behind the tour to sneak pictures.

We took the regional train to a small town called Hechingen. It was from there that we could take a bus to Burg Hohenzollern. The bus was actually a minibus. The ones you see taking seniors to senior centers around the USA. It takes about fifteen minutes from the train station to the bus station near Burg Hohenzollern. The bus doesn’t actually take you all the way to the top since vehicles aren’t allowed near the castle. So we spent the next twenty minutes hiking uphill to the ticket office.

Burg Hohenzollern is actually one of the better preserved castles in Germany and you can see a little bit of what a fortress in Germany is all about.  The ticket included a guided tour of the inner castle grounds in German of course.  This guide’s Schwäbisch accent was layered on a little thick.  I couldn’t quite follow what she was saying about the castle.  But the body language about no photography and the no photography signs posted near the start of the tour were very clear.  Since Jacek couldn’t understand our guide either we started to hang back and admire the decorations inside.  They were definitely less ornate than the Residenz in either Ludwigsburg near Stuttgart or the Residenz in Würzburg.

Soon, we realized that we didn’t see the rest of the tour guide.  We pulled out our cameras and started snapping away.  It was a bit naughty, but oh well.  We avoided flash photography and tried not to be too far behind the group.  This happened towards the beginning of the tour so we actually got a lot of snaps.  Once our incomprehensible tour was over, we played on the ramparts and took different photos of us looking out medieval windows.  The top of Burg Hohenzollern also offered up some amazing views of the lands below us.  Burg Hohenzollern is in an area known as the Schwäbische Alb, which is a very hilly area.

Our tour was over quickly since we wanted to see the castle in Sigmaringen as well.  We had to catch the train to Sigmaringen and then take the train back to Stuttgart in order to make dumplings.  I have even bought the ground meat to make it!  But that will have to wait until the next entry.

Parting Words

Burg Hohenzollern is not as renown as the Schloss Neuschwanstein or the Residenz in Ludwigsburg but it does have a charm all its own.  It’s a less decorated castle and more functional in its design.  That’s not to say it doesn’t have its paintings, tapestries, or statues.  The branch family living here didn’t have the opulence that the other royals did. But I think it’s worth the visit to see a different kind of castle that is more understated and bare.

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About the Author

John is always trying to find his way back to the road. He has an affinity for Germany due to his three years studying German at Cal, and a year working as an intern in the Stuttgart area. He also likes chocolate cake and good cheese.