Roman and Mediaeval History, Illlustrated Travel Journals, Mediaeval Literature, Geology


7.9.11
  Just Some Pretty Pics

We had a family gathering near Mannheim this weekend, in a very nice hotel with several gardens. A lot of the plants growing there are not European but Asian and American, like this combination of bamboo and a Monkey Puzzle Tree from Chile.

Monkey Puzzlee Tree (right) and bamboo

Its official name is Araucaria araucana, a tree that is indigenous to Chile, Argentina and south Brazil. Araucania is a member of the conifer family and can grow to 40 metres tall. The first trees were cultivated in Britain in 1850, and that's where the nickname came up, 'it would puzzle a monkey to climb that'. Since Araucaria is a very old species, it is considered a living fossil. The trees had been around when dinosaurs still walked the earth.

Fossilized equisetum

This equisetum is the big brother of the small ones that have survived to our time. A hundred million years ago, members of their species could grow to the size of trees and dominated the Paleozoic forests. I found this one in the museum of the Department of Geology at our university. I knew they had some interesting stuff on display and finally managed to go there with my camera.

Another pretty corner in the hotel garden

This is part of the Japanese garden of the hotel. They got a tea pavillion as well, though our group met in another part of the gardens. The hotel can host 200 guests, but it's such a labyrinth that you'd never guess how large it is, and several groups celebrating at the same time won't get into each other's way.

A little lake

Another pretty view. In between the coffe table, the concert (an amazing performance of violin sonatas by Grieg and Dvořak), and the dinner, I took the chance to take a swim in the pool (the day was very hot) and walk around in the gardens with my camera.

Koi pond

Yeah, no Japanese garden without a koi pond. They were pretty elusive targets, but I managed to catch this photo of Big Daddy Koi and several smaller ones with very beautiful colours and patterns. They are like swimming jewels.

Sunset

Despite the fact they are not all named Henry, Erik, Margaret or Ingeborg, I can't sort out my extended family past the aunts and cousins; they're more complicated than Mediaeval nobility. But it was nice to meet some of my cousins again - we don't see each other very often.

Oh, and we managed to snatch another castle on the way home.

Münzenberg Castle

Münzenberg Castle dates back to the 12th century. Its most interesting features are two keeps and two palas buildings, one in Romanesque and one in the Gothic style. Only ruins remain, but substantial ones, and the keeps have been restored to their original height. The castle is the second most famous one in Germany besides the Wartburg. I'll get back to this one.

Münzenberg Castle, the Romanesque palas

Here's a link to the hotel website (German only). Bad Dürkheim is situated at the Wine Road, not far from the Rhine and some of the Roman towns like Worms and Mainz. This is the area where the Romans pushed further into Germania and erected the Limes border. The Roman villa at Wachenheim is close by as well.
 
Comments:
Very pretty indeed!
 
Pretty pics are alays acceptable:> We have a simiar garden in my home city. I like the monkey puzzle tree best!
 
Love the koi! - and leave it to you to find castles wherever you go. :)
 
Thank you, Daphne.

Anerje, monkey puzzle trees are so much fun. I wish I could get one, but they grow a bit large to be kept on a balcony. :)

Constance, castles, and the farmwife who sells ice cream out of the door in remotes villages (there's always one). :)
 
I love monkey puzzle trees - there was one in the neighbours' garden when I was a kid and I was always fascinated by the name as well as by the tree itself. :)
 
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The Lost Fort is a blog based on my travels in Germany, the UK and other places, with essays on Roman and Mediaeval history illustrated with lots of photos of old castles, cathedrals, Roman remains, and beautiful landscapes. You may also find the odd essay about geology or Mediaeval literature.

All texts (except comments by guests) and photos (if no other copyright is noted) on this blog are copyright of Gabriele Campbell.

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Location: Germany

I'm a blogger from Germany with a MA in Literature and History which doesn't pay my bills, so I use it to research blogposts instead. I'm interested in everything Roman and Mediaeval, avid reader and sometimes writer, opera enthusiast, traveller with a liking for foreign languages and odd rocks, photographer, and tea aficionado. And an old-fashioned blogger who hasn't yet gotten an Instagram account. :-)


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