After a long respite, owing to a propensity to stay home and live frugally the past two months, a winter that although mild still wasn’t conducive to most outdoor activity, and despite the Covid-19 world we exist in today, Teko, myself, and our recently frequent houseguest, Pieterjan, decided it was a good day to go driving to neighboring Germany. The promising forecast and the fact I hadn’t been out the past several days due to working from home were enough to get me on the road for the two-hour drive across the border. Pieter-Jan opted to drive, leaving Teko and me to enjoy the scenery along the way. I slept through most of the ride.
We reached Bad Bentheim in quick fashion and I instantly wondered why Teko and I never made it there before. It was a quaint, little German town just off of the border, with an imposing castle as its centerpiece, filled with a fair number of Dutch tourists judging from the license plates in the parking lot. Due to recent Covid-19 regulations I was half-expecting the castle – or even the town for that matter – to be closed but lucky for us both were open for business. After lunch in a nearby Stübe for a no-nonsense, fortifying German meal, it was about time to check out what this particular German medieval castle had to offer.
As first impressions go, it was impressive. Granted my recent non-activity could have provided some positive bias, my lasting regard for anything medieval laid intact and it was a bit of a thrill wandering in and around the property, images of distant history and Harry Potter fantasy mixing around each other. With a sunny, nearly Spring day as background, it was pleasant looking through the main castle windows out onto the grounds, walking the ramparts like how the old guards used to do, and peering down from the tower onto the courtyard and surrounding town imagining how it was 900 years ago. It wasn’t that big a castle though such that we had soon seen pretty much everything of consequence, thankful for the opportunity and the time spent there. What are the chances that a little more research could come up with similar, accessible treasures like this. In these surreal times, let’s hope many more than expected.