For most of our trip on the Rhine River we have been traveling through Germany. Along the way we saw many beautiful villages and imposing castles. We learned that first class citizens settled on the western banks of the river. Heathens and barbarians were known to inhabit the opposite side. Therefore, most cities of any size are found on the west.
Regardless, amazingly large castles were built on both sides of the river, many constructed a mere 800 years ago... or 900 years ago ... or maybe even more! They were strategically located on craggy outcroppings with outstanding views of the river and surrounding lands. They employed redundant security measures - including wet and dry moats, things with spikes, narrow slits of windows for launching attacks and rooms that were only accessible by rope ladders that were pulled up out of the way. Yet, despite these, and other strategies, these seemingly impregnable fortresses were attacked and destroyed... rebuilt, attacked and destroyed again.... rebuilt... a cycle that continued through the years.
As we sailed up the river our guide would point out a castle and provide a bit of history; here you see the "insert name here" castle. The first mention of it was in "insert long ago date here". It was owned by the "insert ancient family name" and it was destroyed by the French in the 1600's. Each castle's litany followed the same path, ending with, "destroyed by the French".
Yesterday we visited Strasbourg... a French city. A French city on the west bank of the river - a city with it's own rich heritage... with people having their own opinion about their ancient roots! They were proud of their record of conquering all of those castles we saw along the river!
Oh, well. Changes in latitude... changes in attitude!
Lilacs and other stuff
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