One of the (many)reasons why I love Germany is the amazing sceneries including castles you can find dispatched through the whole country. It's become quite an habit for me to check which castle I could visit while I'm staying in a city, and this time around we decided Hohenzollern would be the perfect spot to discover while staying in Heidelberg.
Usually castles we visit are really easy to reach, even EltzBurg was easy to find, you only need a bit of courage and a good pair of shoes. I thought this one would be easy to find as well, and the internet didn't give me anything to worry about, so that's quite confident that we left Heidelberg and jumped intro a train to Hechingen, the city from which we were supposed to easily and quickly reach the castle. But, as you might have already sensed, this was nothing of an easy and little walk.
First of all, there was no sign to be found. We took a picture of a map situated in front of the train station, and started making our way toward the castle. At that point I wasn't worried at all, I know well how to read maps and I have a good sense of direction. Soon enough we could see the castle in our field of vision. And that's when I started to worry. It seemed far. And that didn't seem to change despite us walking and walking. Eventually, to make it short we ended up walking for about two hours. In a very beautiful forest I'll agree, but a forest on a very stiff hillside.
When we reached the top of the hill and entered the castle, after some killer stairs, we were sweating like pigs and I was only wearing a tanktop. I could feel the drops of sweat running across my back. However we felt relieved, we had made it! " I don't care what or what not, I am NOT walking back to Hechingen, NO WAY!" I remember myself saying in a loud and exhausted voice.
If only I knew.
After the visit of the castle we walked back to a parking lot a few meters down the castle, and asked for the next bus.
"There's one every hour, one just left a bit early, the next one is at 6.30"answered the lady who sold postcards, chocolates and pint with the picture of the castle on them.
My sister turned to me with a look of despair.
"Our train is at 6.40".
I laughed. dementia. I thought we just had to walk down the hill and we'd find other buses there. I was so naive and hopeful. We decided to take the road this time and not the path in the forest(thanks lord for that idea) and as the sun started settling down we reached the end of the hill. But there was no bus. Only what seemed to be, and surely was, the highway. I remember having read somewhere about how dangerous it was to walk on the side of highways, and that is was forbidden in some places. In addition to that we had arrived on the other side of the hill and had no idea where to go. It was getting dark and I couldn't decide which of the three villages I could see afar was Hechingen. However we trusted our guts and kept walking, the cars were passing by in an astonishing windy sound. As we kept on putting a feet in front of the other, we finally saw signs that said Hechingen : 1KM. At that moment I thought that was it. 1km was nothing! merely a few steps in my mind, I even thought to myself 'ah we could do that running in 5minutes!" But by then, the night had really fallen, and it was pitch black. We entered Hechingen, not having a single clue where we were. Once again, there was no sign to indicate the train station of the city center. We walked through this residential area for a few minutes, starting to worry about being late for our train. We finally met a lady who looked really troubled when we told her we wanted to walk to the bahnhof.
- It's not difficult to find (LIE) but it's a bit far away. Turn on your left, then right and then straight.
We were going to be late. After 10more minutes, I started running and told my sister to do the same. We ran for 10 other minutes or so and asked another lady. Keep in mind all that was happening after an already long and tiring day, at night in a city completely foreign in which for some unknown reasons there was no street lights or signs. A few streets later, we were completely lost and I could feel a) my sister about to cry b) my own smell. That's when I decided to turn on the internet on my phone, had a look at the map and, animated by a desperate feeling told her not to worry, we would make it. And guess what? We did make it. A few meters away we walked on a bridge that looked familiar, and with the help of the map that I had mentally took a picture of( btw, my camera had no battery anymore, hence we didn't use it to find our way back with the picture of the map we used on our way to the castle), we almost ran to the train station, an extatic look on our faces when we recognized the streets and stores and burning tighs.
We arrived 2minutes early, and dropped our aching bodies onto the train seats. At this point, all we could think of was a hot shower and food. Food that consisted of two vegan samwiches we bought in a hurry at Stuttgart where we changed trains, and hot shower we took when we finally reached the hotel. That sure makes a great story to tell, but I think it has taught me one thing: double check the distance and itineraries on google maps, don't listen to only one website.