Exploring Reichsburg Cochem Castle in the Rain

“I never thought a castle would be my dream home…

Until we came to Cochem’s Castle!

Let me be clear.

This was not my first impression when walking the slope up to the entrance.

During that little climb I was thinking that if I were an invading army I would be slinging some choice words about now.

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I happen to make that comment to Honey Bear when we walked through a small courtyard to a larger one.

The look he gave told me he thought I was out of my mind. Here I am trying to simplify my life and now I want a castle. It totally made sense.

Of course this was all before I walked through the doors and saw each ornately decorated room. THAT, was a bit overwhelming for my taste!

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed the history and the artistic touches. Like the intricate details of the ceiling art – Blows my mind that someone designed a poker, burned a pattern into the wood and then painted it.

I simply am considering the value it has as my retirement home. 😀

For example the Caminata Chamber is a high selling point for me. This room was designed to be cozy for the ladies. (I am pretty sure with the fireplace and a stove furnace warming the stones that this was a popular place to be.) The ivory workmanship on the wood tables was lovely. My favorite part was the window seat. In one of the three windows you could seat two ladies comfortably facing each other over a table. It really feels like that this room should have led to bed chambers?

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Instead it had a door that opened into the dining hall and a door that opened to where the secret passages ways are. One leading to the bedrooms upstairs and one that leads down to the monastery.

Before coming to the Hunter’s room we were introduced to this wooden mermaid chandelier. The mermaid room is situated above the fourth gate – the gate that separates the inner courtyard part of the castle from the outer courtyard. (The picture at the top of this post was taken under this room/gate.) The wooden mermaid here keeps the evil spirits out of the castle.

Being so close to the river, I suppose she is a Nixie.  Which is more of a river sprite then what I traditionally would associate with a mermaid!  In some stories they are able to shape change into any animal they want.  On dry land they can look like any human being but are powerless in that form.  You wouldn’t be able to distinguish one by looking at them.

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Although -an always wet hem is a good telltale.  For a little bit of fun the next time the kids are washing dishes and happen to get their shirts wet I am going to gasp and tell them they must be Nixies!

Supposedly if you touch the belly of this chandelier and make a wish, it will come true. Which after the Brother Grimm stories I have heard, I am curious to know why anybody would be comfortable approaching a Nixie.  It would be interesting to know what story inspired this creation 😉

From here we went down to the Hunter’s room using a staircase that spiraled the wrong way. The reason being that if invaders came up the staircase, they could not draw their sword properly… but… you know, if I was invading a castle I think I would already have my sword out by this point?

So okay we are in the Hunters’ Room. Lots of amazing dead animals trophies. Lots of cool artifacts in this room – but my favorite artifacts here? The tankards. Each was about 1 ¼ gallon or pretty much what one monk was allowed to drink per day!

Which of course explains the fail safe sliding keyhole into the Knights’ Hall…

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The Knights’ Hall is like a much larger version of the Caminata Chamber, including the window seat. It kind of felt like a cross between a fancy billiards room & a gentleman’s club… probably a feeling encouraged by a nude portrait of Danae on one end of the room and The Rape of the Sabine Women on the other end. We had our unicorns and dragons with us so I was hoping they wouldn’t notice but of course they did. I had a lovely time explaining what rape was and trying to show the context of the art. This particular version is more… vivid… shocking? Then other versions that I have seen.

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On to the Weapons Room where we were introduced to a knight’s armour representing a 7ft man that lived in Castle Ambras in Innsbruck (why is he here? I don’t know – maybe he liked this weapon’s room better here than the one in Austria?). So how much does it cost to be a knight? It turns out a suit of armour and a war house was valued at 45 cows. As we went out to the freestanding balcony, 300 meters or about 1000 feet high, we could see the advantage a castle has on monitoring and taxing the river activities below. The knight’s room was also a great place for treasure and our lovely tour guide shared some with the minions. Gold chocolate coins for the win. 😉

Probably what I love about this castle is how much it has changed. It started off as a medieval castle built in 1000 A.D with colorful mosaics on the outer walls. Through some interesting owner-ships was improved upon with Gothic architectural designs. Most of which was destroyed by French soldiers in 1689. The castle sat there in ruins for about 200 years before it was reconstructed by Mr. Louis Ravene. In 1942 the Third Reich placed a tax burden on the descendants and forced them to sell the castle to them. It was never used and in 1978 sold to town of Cochem.

When I look at the layers from the different time periods where the castle was built up, (which can be seen best from the inner courtyard near the drinking well) I think about how resourceful each owner was.

They could have torn it all down and built from scratch each time or fought to restore everything based on its original design.. Instead they built upon what was already there, adding their personal touches and creature comforts. Near the entrance of this castle there is a beautiful mosaic that really impresses upon my mind the craftsmanship and the desire for beauty…

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It speaks to me that for some, it was more than a firm set of stones. It was a home.  Perhaps over the years that definition of “home” changed, but it served a purpose each and every time.  Could the first owners of this castle have ever imagined the purpose it serves today?

Just like I am not sure if the mosaic itself is a part of the original artwork or a restoration project by the town of Cochem… It can’t see how it hurts anyone by improving on what is already there. It belongs there. The castle wouldn’t be the same without.  So I am thankful for the contribution made by each individual that brought it to this point!

Hopefully we can make a return trip in the spring or summer.  I am told this castle really comes alive when the plants are in bloom!

Of course on our way back to the car we picked up a gold coin of our own to remember my future retirement home *ahem* Reichsburg Cochem Castle by.

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Definitely a step up from the our penny press collection!

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