Tuesday, June 23, 2009

I located my mystery castle!

I am bouncing up and down right now - and kicking myself at the same time. This is no easy feat, but somehow I'm managing it.

In July 1991, I spent three weeks in Germany. One of the days we were out sightseeing, we stopped at a castle ruin where only a single tower remained. We climbed to the top where there was a spectacular view, and where I discovered to my horror that I had one shot left on my last roll of film! I took a deep breath and tried to make it count:


Unfortunately, I didn't make note of the name of the castle or the town in my diary (why? I don't know). Later on (but still in pre-Google days) when I wanted to figure it out, I didn't have an easy way to find out what route we'd taken or any information about this particular ruin, though from time to time I would give it another shot, to no avail.

Years passed, the diary was put away (scanned first, of course, and eventually I saved a copy in my GMail and elsewhere, where it was essentially buried and forgotten). Today the light bulb clicked and it finally dawned on me that these days I have everything at hand to at least narrow the search for my mystery castle.

I pulled up the diary in Gmail and skimmed through the pages until I found the entry I wanted:

July 11, 1991: Today we went to Ravensburg, Weingarten and Wangen. We went to several churches in each place. On the way home, we visited an old tower near a small town. The tower is all that is left of a large castle that used to be there. We climbed all the way to the top of it on some rickety old stairs that seemed ready to fall at any moment. The view from the top was breathtaking, but the climb down the stairs isn't something I'd like to go through again.

Then I went to Google Maps and put in the last place I knew we stopped before the castle: Wangen. I made Lindau (where I was staying) the destination and told Google Maps I wanted directions.

The route shot me right past Neuravensburg, a small town on the edge of a small lake. I zoomed in and found what looked like a footpath going up a hill to a squarish gray blob. The footpath took the same general route I remembered, and on the same side of the road. I googled the name of the town and found the blob was indeed a tower! After a search for the town's name in Flickr, I came up with this shot (as well as pics of the tower from the outside).

At last, mystery solved! With under five minutes of research. Why I didn't think of this when Google Maps first surfaced I'll never know. *sigh*