We visited the amazing castle of Hochosterwitz last year (pictures of the outside of Hochosterwitz here) and really enjoyed it. Since it was in the neighborhood of Friesach, we decided to let the kids show Grandma around.
The post from last year, which is linked above has some more of the historical facts and legends if you're interested. This post is mostly to show some of the trip with the family.
It's hard to see from this picture, but the towers winding up the mountain were all part of the castle. In between towers were bridges, draw bridges, walls, etc. Pretty cool stuff.
It was raining this day, but fortunately the rain was intermittant and light. Ollie and Elora were happy to run all the way up. Daddy was happy this meant he got to push an empty stroller to the top of the mountain.
We stopped for a sandwhich at one of the towers and Oliver and Elora played around in the rain.
They're so cute together, when they're not grumpy, which transforms them to mortal enemies.
Oliver is just starting to get good at walking down stairs by himself, as you can see here.
Elora is very happy. Why? Because there are some snails in the bottom right corner of this photo. She's got an eagle's eye when it comes to spotting the slimey critters. She said, "Mommy, mommy, schnecke! Schnecke! Take a picture!" (Schnecke is german for snail)
This little garden is so out of place at the old medieval castle. The place looks like it was designed to constantly be under seige with 14 different towers and castle walls everywhere, and yet there's a nice peaceful garden behind one of the walls.
Oliver has a fondness for doors. He can open and close doors all day long. Based on the things he enjoys at this stage in his life, he will either be a bus or train driver or a hotel doorman, and I bet he'd find either to be the greatest job in the world. "Wait, you mean I'm going to get paid to stand here and open and close this door all day long?!"
You can only imagine how excited he was to open and close a large door to a castle gate.
Inside of a small little chapel.
The kids love these things. And we feel obligated to take their pictures at them. It's kind of a strange ritual.
It's not like the picture is something we'll ever print. Or put on display. But if they see one, we have to stick their face in it and take their picture. It's like we're preprogrammed to do it and have no free will in the matter. Cardboard stand with hole in the face? Must take picture!
The turkey in that belly looks done. And it's got 3 more months!
This is kinda gross. We walked around one of the walls and saw a huge chute underneath one of the towers. It looked like it was one of those places where a toilet emptied its contents right where we were standing. So naturally, we took a picture there. And on closer inspection, we were right. For those who don't know, up above us is a medieval outhouse. The occupant would go inside, do their business and everything would come right out in the open where we are standing. It's a great place for a family portrait.
Elora did a great job this trip. She was happy running around getting her picture taken. I think she was happy to have grandma there with her.
More castle walls. The size and age of these places is amazing. The castle dates back 1000 years, but most of the towers are "only" 500 years old.
Here's Elora posing inside one tower, with a bridge connecting to the other tower. In battles, if one tower was taken, they would just blow up the bridge in between them. The bridge was the only way to continue further up the mountain, so the enemy would have to somehow build another bridge while being shot at, and then try to fight there way through another dozen or so towers defended in the same manner. Crazy!
Oliver is really starting to look up to Elora. Whatever she does, he wants to do, which is good as long as they are both in a good mood. It's fun having two little kids so close in age. And when the new baby comes, it will be a similar situation with Oliver and his new little sister. Fun!