I cannot emphasize the hospitality and kindness of our hosts Natascha & Michel enough, but their friends are amazing as well ! One of their friends, Stephanie offered her car to us last night to take to Bruel Palace. I must say that I was overwhelmed with gratitude for the offer as well as a bit intimidated by the idea of driving in a new country. (While driving in Rome in 2015 I thought I was surely going to die !) The car is a “smart car” similar to what we have in the states, but of course the dash board and controls were different. First I had to figure out how to start the car. Sounds easy but the place where one inserts the key is down on the driver’s right where our stick shifts are usually located. Then I turned the key—nothing happened. I tried several times and then finally it turned over. I can’t say what was different the last time, but I must have done something ! I have to say I felt a bit foolish. The streets here in Germany are very narrow compared to the states. Most of the cars are small and as most people bicycle or walk to nearby locations it is very important to watch where you are going. Of course the traffic signs are different as well. Michel showed me the major ones on the internet to help familiarize me with them. Finally, all of the signs are in German. Lucky for me, Google Maps and directions are in ENGLISH ! -- It is quite humorous to hear the automated voice try and pronounce the German street names! The speed limits are in kilometers, not miles, per hour but I would say that the actual speeds are similar to what we have in the states. (for example 35mph in a residential area.) Contrary to popular belief in the states, the autobahn (German highway system), does have speed limits. There are limited areas where people are free to drive as fast as they want, and it does cause many accidents).
We finally arrived, safely I might add, to Bruel Palace in about 25 minutes. I can say that I now feel comfortable driving in Germany as it is nothing like the chaos of Rome traffic.
The palace / Castle was magnificent.
More pictures here: https://goo.gl/photos/NPkYBYAXBSHeL6au8
They call these two structures castles at times but they are actually not the thing I think of when Americans talk about castles, they are more like mansion houses. You can read more about the castle /palace and its history here.
As you look at the pictures of the gardens, (no pictures allowed inside) I hope you will get a sense of its size and grandeur. It was beautiful.
After we got back to Michel & Natascha’s they took us to dinner on a restaurant which is actually a ship,-- on the Rhine. It was wonderful. Item of note: Germans prefer dry wines over sweet so it was sometimes difficult to find a Moscato or similarly sweet wine. My friends who like Pino Gregio would be very happy here.