Thursday, October 1, 2009
When I asked my friends in Berlin if there was anything to see while I was in Bielefeld, each one of them said that Bielefeld didn’t have much going on. Imagine my surprise, then, when I got to Bielefeld and people asked if I was going to see the castle. A castle? If that’s not something to see, I don't know what is. Maybe castles are just commonplace to most Germans, and that’s why my friends hadn’t mentioned it. Either way, I was thrilled. I had never been in a real castle.
The Sparrenburg Castle sits high on a hill, overlooking Bielefeld and beyond. A massive stone wall wraps around the interior, with a turret in four corners. Inside, the main halls have been reconstructed and now serve as a restaurant. A large turret is in the middle of the grounds, towering over everything. The great thing about the Sparrenburg Castle is that you can really explore it. There are tours that take you around the outside, through the inside, underground, and all the way to the top. What a view!
Sparrenburg is a good bang for your buck, too. The restaurant and the little food stand both charged a fair price for tasty cuisine and the tours were inexpensive (less than 4 euro). Parking and entrance to the castle are free.
A bit of the history? The guide I was given says that Sparrenburg was built in the early 1200s by Count Ludwig of Ravensburg and that it was home to the Count and his “entourage”. Which makes the Count sound like he was a rock star. Because when I think “entourage” I think of hot girls and groupies. But maybe that’s just me.
Throughout the centuries, Sparrenburg saw many changes in ownership and additions to its architecture. Sadly, the castle was pummeled by an air raid during WW II, but extensive renovations have made the castle almost like it was before.
While we were at Sparrenburg, there was a photoshoot for a wedding taking place throughout the grounds, and a bag pipe player in a kilt was playing by the bridge on the way into the castle. There was definitely a lot to see.