Today we drove along the River Altmuhl in the Naturpark Altmuhltal one of Germany’s largest nature reserve. Our first stop was at the small town of Pappenheim with the ruins of the old castle overlooking the town. We decided to climb up to the castle to get a better view of the surrounding countryside. The castle had a rather gruesome torture chamber with some rather painful looking instruments of torture. The views from the old keep were worth the climb.
We continued along the road close to the river which according to our guide book is one of the slowest flowing rivers in Bavaria. Alongside the river there were cliffs and sculptured rocks but it was difficult to take photos as there no pull ins and it was a very busy road on which to stop.
We arrived at the town of Eichstatt dominated by the Willibaldsburg a former seat of the prince bishops. Wandering around the town it felt as if you were in a town full of palaces often seen in historic big cities. This was in fact due to its history of being dominated by the Catholic price bishops of the small territory of southern Franconia until the 19th century when it became part of Bavaria. During the Protestant verses Catholic Thirty Years war this Catholic city was ram sacked by the Swedes in 1634. However after the war the prince bishop of the time had the city rebuilt using three Italian architects famous at the time, resulting in the buildings seen today. The most striking was the crescent of buildings surrounding the Bishops palace just by the cathedral. The cloisters and mortuarium of the cathedral were also impressive.
From the town we made our way up to the Willibaldsburg. The castle was established in 1355 and was later extended between 1595 and 1612. The castle is now a museum but the botanical gardens now re-established with plants from old engravings from the time of the prince bishops. This was a good end to the day before we headed back to base.