Friday, March 29, 2013

Penners Spotlight - Stephanie Landsem - Germany

Pens on a World Map
Penner's Spotlight

Location: Germany

One night in a real German castle 

Last summer, I was able to take my family on a trip to my favorite country: Germany. This was my third trip to Deutschland, but my husband and children’s first foray into the land of majestic castles, soaring cathedrals, and amazing natural beauty.

The kids each have their favorite places from the trip. My daughters loved Cologne, where we climbed to the top of the tallest cathedral in the world.

The boys loved the little town of of Boppard on the Rhein, where we rock-climbed to the top of a mountain for a stunning view of the river valley.

One of my favorite memories was our stay in Stahleck Castle above the tiny town of Bacharach on the Rhein river. As we climbed (are you sensing a theme here?) the 500 steps to the entrance, it was like stepping back into the 12th century.

The kids had a blast storming the castle, while my husband and I relaxed in the courtyard and caught our breath at the view of vineyards and the winding river below. 

Although the outside of the castle was medieval, the inside could only be called utilitarian. Bunk beds, tiny bathrooms, and a modern cafeteria provided the basics for the low price of 20 Euro per person. 
In the evening, we hiked down the hill to the quaint little town of Bacharach for dinner and a sampling of German wines. Breakfast was sturdy German fare of bread, boiled eggs, meat, and cheese—with plenty of strong coffee and hot milk.

When we strapped on our backpacks, the whole family was sad to say goodbye to Stahleck Castle and Bacharach, but our memories of Germany and our (high-climbing) adventures there will stay with us forever

Have you stayed the night at a castle or historic property? Do you have an unique family trip to share about? Please join the conversation below.  

For more travel stories about Germany, click here or here.

Stephanie Landsem writes historical fiction because she loves adventure in far-off times and places. In real life, she's explored ancient ruins, medieval castles, and majestic cathedrals around the world. 

Stephanie is equally happy at home in Minnesota with her husband, four children, and three fat cats. When she's not writing, she's feeding the ravenous horde, avoiding housework, and dreaming about her next adventure - whether it be in person or on the page. 

For more information about Stephanie, visit her website here.

Mara is a desperate Samaritan girl struggling to keep her family alive in the face of starvation and the threat of exile from their strict village. When a mysterious Jewish teacher transforms her mother at Jacob’s well, Mara hopes for a better life—until her mother’s past sins lead to a brutal stoning.

Only Mara can save her dying mother, but she’ll have the help of an unlikely friend: Shem, a hot-tempered young man on the run from the Romans. Shem risks capture to help Mara search for the man that Samaritans call the Taheb, the Restorer. Together, they travel dangerous roads into the hostile territory of Galilee. Their journey to the Taheb brings them burgeoning faith, unexpected love, and unimaginable heartbreak.


  1. Sounds like an awesome trip! I've always wanted to stay in a castle. The only castle I've visited in Germany was Neuschwanstein, another beautiful spot with great views.

  2. Neuschwanstein is beautiful, Amy. And if I remember right, quite a climb to get up to also. Did you know that Neuschwanstein was the inspiration for the Disney logo?