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Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Halloween at Castle Veldenstein

Castle Veldenstein - with a Halloween twist

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Castle Veldenstein, which sits prominently above the town of Neuhaus an der Pegnitz in the Oberpfalz region of Bavaria, has a long and varied history.  Currently, the castle and it's inner grounds are used as a restaurant, serving up the standard Bavarian menu to travelers stopping by while exploring the Pegnitz River area.  Burg Veldenstein also offers the unique opportunity for travelers to stay overnight in an authentic castle.  Next to the castle is the Veldenstein brewery, brewing one of the more popular beers of the region.

Castle Veldenstein hasn't always been used for such benign purposes, however.  Hermann Goring (yes, that guy) actually grew up at the castle, even constructing a bunker in the castle wall just prior to the start of WWII.  You can read a full history about the castle by clicking HERE.

When I was growing up, Halloween was one of the best holidays a kid could ask for.  What?  I get to hang out with my friends, dress like a vampire, and get to go beg for tons of free candy?  Sign me up!  Even when I'd far surpassed the dress up age, Halloween was always a good time.  In high school, it was egg fights and after egg fight parties.  In college, well, I don't remember those Halloweens too well.  Must have had some fun!

While living in Japan, Halloween was almost non-existant.  I do think I remember seeing a package of that fake spider web stuff, some silly string, and some Dracula teeth at a Circle K that was near my house  - and fireworks.  Lots of fireworks.  It took some getting used to, but the Japanese seem to use fireworks for almost every occasion deemed important.  Like, say, 'Tuesdays."

I never got too many trick-or-treaters at my cabin in Alaska.  The first Halloween I spent in the great white north fell on a day that decided to be -30 Fahrenheit.  Yes, that is a minus sign in front of the 30.  In interior Alaska, trick-or-treating still does take place, regardless of the weather.  For some reason, the most popular costumes seem to be those where you can dress as warm as you want.  I mean, there is nothing cuter than seeing a 4 year old girl dressed up as, "north slope oil rig worker".  Ah, doesn't she look precious?

Halloween is a holiday that is picking up in some European countries.  Many of the bars, pubs, and clubs where I live in Germany host Halloween parties now.  When I first arrived six years ago, perhaps only one or two establishments did so.  Hey, nothing says Halloween like a little sauerkraut and some weisswurst.  Bob for apples?  Nah, bobbing for pre-formed balls of headcheese floating in a washtub full of Weißbeir is much more fun!

This year, Halloween should be taking on a brand new meaning for my wife and I.  With our twins being nearly 9 months old when the holiday occurs, there isn't a lot we can do with them yet.  I don't think they'd enjoy the techno music, nor the smell of hundreds of cheap colognes mixing together with the stench of alcohol sweat, at the Josefhaus.  I've got a feeling, though, that my wife is going to have some fun playing dress up with them on that evening.  I just hope she still lets me have my backyard pagan bonfire......

Siena and Névé in their pumpkin hats

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