What do Americans call sausage rolls?

At Schönburg, Oberwesel: Castle romance at its best

All in all: for those who like historical walls, an extremely beautiful, stylish place, comfortable and yet carefully restored and furnished, rooms with old furniture, with all the comforts and in good shape, ambitious, skilful cuisine with small flaws that are sometimes mannerist overshoots its goal, friendly, brisk staff, fantastic terraces with a view of the Rhine

 

The occupiers are really doing their best to live up to the cliché of the ugly Imperial American. As a matter of course, not a single person is able to speak the German language even remotely, the service staff is ordered around in various derivatives of the English language as a matter of course. At the next table, four elderly people speak a very hideous Texan accent at a volume that suggests that hearing aids have not yet been invented in Imperial America; one blaspheme about an adopted person who actually does not belong to the family and one makes a lot of jokes about Latin American servants. At the large table farther back, this decidedly casual West Coast speech predominates; the spokesman at the table is loud about the fact that his bathroom in the hotel room is far too small here and that his brother lives in Hong Kong, where the hotels have bathrooms of the right size. The seventy-year-old in pink sneakers and short sports trousers, which really shows off her cellulite legs, is a delightful sight at breakfast in the historic castle restaurant. A man in shorts with a belt and additional wide suspenders fills his plate overflowing with sausage, cheese, bread rolls, jam, fruit at the small but fine breakfast buffet; when he then destroys the food, he gesticulates wildly with the knife in his left hand, shortly afterwards he leaves the scene of the event, almost all of the food still uneaten distributed on or around his plate. A young woman in sweatpants has both elbows on the table, her back bent and hunched over a bowl of cereal, which she scoops in at a speed that is only exceeded by the loud slurping noises she makes . An elderly lady in a pink suit and thick gold jewelry is strikingly reminiscent of Evelyn Harper from “Two and a half men”; At the buffet she stacks cakes, sausage, rolls, fruit and cheese on a plate, then she wants to fill a bowl with jam, but geriatrically spills the jam over her full plate; As a matter of course she puts the plate down on the buffet, takes a new one and starts filling it again: I love the awe of the Imperial Americans for food.

Another very strange part of life, this morning at breakfast in the Burghotel Auf Schönburg high above Oberwesel on the Middle Rhine, halfway between Koblenz and Mainz, a bend in the river from the Loreley and with a view of Pfalzgrafenstein Castle in the middle of the Rhine. The concentrated swarm stupidity of tripadvisor voted Auf Schönburg 2015 as the most beautiful castle hotel in Germany and the second most beautiful in the world; but I actually have to admit that it is beautiful, historic, quite comfortable and indeed really burgy here. And yet the castle has a lot more to do with Imperial America than one might think. More than 300 years before the rediscovery of the American continent was born, the building of Schönburg began, one no longer knows whether it was an imperial castle or an archbishop of Magdeburg, but it doesn't really matter today. The normal life of a castle followed, wars, conquests, change of lords, partial destruction, strangled Count Palatine aspirants, reconstructions, conversions and additions, Emperor Barbarossa loitered around here repeatedly, the usual Heckmeck stop. The Knights of Schonenberg sat on Schönburg, who as Reichsministeriale inherited the complex as an inheritance, i.e. not the eldest son inherited everything, but each son inherited in equal parts, which led to the curious situation that in the 14th century there were 24 family lines with a total of 250 family members lived in the three separate living areas of the castle, but secured by common external defenses, which explains the impressive size of the complex. To make a long story short, in the Palatinate War of Succession in 1689, Auf Schönburg was destroyed by the French like most of the castles in the Upper Middle Rhine Valley, the last Schönburger died in 1719, in his “Letters to a Friend” Victor Hugo called “Schönberg one of the admirable rubble works that exist in Europe ”, and so the ruins rotten until the German-born New York real estate agent Major Oakley Rhinelander bought the remains of the castle in 1885 and had it rebuilt with astonishing historical meticulousness and accuracy by the First World War dominated by the southern hall in red Fugger painting and three mighty mountain peace. Well, we learned that an American built on Schönburg as we know it today. After the Second World War, the city of Oberwesel bought Auf Schönburg from the heirs of Rhinelanders, and since 1957 it has been in the third generation of the Hüttl family's lease, who are also diligently building, converting and expanding, and yet some parts of the complex are still there still ruins.

With the car you can drive up the mountain from Oberwesel up to the mighty outer walls of the castle, there you have to park the car and trudge a considerable distance through various gates, always uphill, to the castle courtyard (you can also be smart , shortly before arrival call the hotel reception and let the caretaker pick you up at the parking lot in a small, tractor-like vehicle that fits through the narrow passageways). In addition to the hotel, part of the castle complex is used as a Kolping House, another as a castle museum, but the complex is really big enough that everyone can find enough space. The hotel is furnished in a historicizing way through and through, if you didn't know that 150 years ago only a huge pile of rubble was lying around here, you could easily believe that the last knight had just left the castle in full armor to go on a crusade. Sometimes bare, dark sandstone walls, sometimes half-timbered, sometimes wood paneling, sometimes wall plaster, here the architectural styles and types are mixed up in a colorful and wild mix, one has the impression of being in a building complex that has naturally grown over time. Old furniture from the 18th to 20th centuries, low doors (firstly, people used to be smaller, secondly, a low passage was easier to defend because the intruder had to bend down), small windows, mostly with slug panes and leaded glazing, often meter- thick walls, just great, even the modern balconies that were sometimes added later hardly disturb. And yet there is a lift in the house, because the narrow, winding stairs up to the 5th floor are sweaty. A friendly young lady accompanies us to the room and explains the house a little, while the caretaker invisibly takes care of the luggage in the background. I left the large room with a view of the Rhine for my little son, I myself live in a really small room in the tower with a view of the courtyard. Small or small, and yet everything is there: bathroom with shower, great mattress, proper linen, fluffy towels, trouser press, iron, minibar, umbrella, washing, sewing and shoe cleaning supplies, enough power sockets, fast, free WiFi , Flat screen, fan, even a CD player with Sony boxes and a few sappy CDs about the beauties of the Rhine and the extensive enjoyment of his wine (not only that it rhymes, Americans like something like that as an additional "local color") . So much for a four-star hotel. The freestyle consists of crunchy apples, a crystal glass carafe with very decent sherry as a welcome from the house, a small, fresh, tasty rose arrangement and a spray bottle (one of the old-fashioned kind with the ball to pump) full of cologne, a smell, which I haven't smelled for decades (and which is unmistakable). It is beautiful here.

The best place to take an aperitif at Schönburg is on one of the terraces with a view of the Rhine Valley. Long freight trains rattle on both sides of the river every five minutes, mainly bulk goods on the right bank of the Rhine, containers on the left bank, we wonder why, the few passenger trains in between are hardly noticeable. This rattling goes on incessantly, even at night, and is loud and annoying even in the rooms that do not face the Rhine. Otherwise everything - except for the manners of the occupiers - is simply beautiful. The view of the river, the towns and vineyards, ships passing by, the warm evening sun, a bottle of local Riesling sparkling wine, there are really worse things. Under the terraces, the spacious castle garden stretches across the old defenses with steps, fountains, grottos, ponds and houses, a truly enchanted place that is only reserved for house guests.

As a rule, I am used to such wonderful places - let's leave Hugenpoet and Bensberg aside - a sloppy, loveless, often lousy cuisine, because the place alone is so beautiful that the tourist masses flock by themselves and then eat without complaint what you put in front of them overpriced. Not so at Schönburg. I don't know who cooks here, but he / she can cook. No fancy star cuisine, but very ambitious, upscale, home-style cuisine, which unfortunately also lets itself be carried away into culinary craziness ... I would say. There is a four-course menu for € 45, a five-course menu for € 72, and a mini-menu in tapas portions for € 31.50, a really nice idea. The tartare (the menu actually says “Tartar”) from the Hunsrück trout is fresh, not mushy (as is so often the case with fish tartare). The veal fillet poached in the herbal stock is pink, tender and buttery, has a good taste, Café de Paris sauce on top and is actually superfluous with the delicate herbal taste of the meat, tomato and asparagus ragout is very good again, asparagus still has a slight bite the gratin of Jerusalem artichoke and parsnips as superfluous as a goiter. The fried sea bream fillet is also flawless, slightly glassy, ​​very tasty, the Dijon mustard sauce, the fried beetroot chips look and taste a nice idea, just why you should try the lukewarm potato slices on which the whole thing is served, “Potato -Carpaccio “does not reveal itself to me. Spin around a little less, pay attention to the accuracy of cooking a little more, and detoxify all the culinary bells and whistles, reduce it to the essentials, and that would be extraordinarily good cuisine in a great castle ambience. But the guests probably also want extraordinary culinary creations in such an extraordinary environment, well ... The wine menu is dominated by Rhenish-local items at affordable prices, there is even a Schönburg grape that is grown on their own Weinberger, plus a few alibi French and –Italians, the digestive wagon (to be more precise, the digestive display case) is also very well arranged, a couple of fuel friends have brewed a Schönburg herbal schnapps and a Schönburg liqueur that no one really needs. The service staff was very friendly, competent, brisk, polite ... as it should be, big praise.

 

Castle hotel on Schönburg
Tenant: the Hüttl family
55430 Oberwesel
Tel .: +49 (67 44) 93 93 0
Fax: +49 (6744) 16 13
http://www.hotel-schoenburg.com/de/
Email: [email protected]

 

Main courses from € 23.50 (fried sea bream fillet) to € 27.50 (poached veal fillet)
Double room BB € 260 to € 370 (per room per night)
And this is what the others say:

  • Tripadvisor: 5 out of 5 points
  • Holidaycheck: 5.5 out of 6 points, 90% recommendation rate
  • Varta: 2 out of 5 diamonds
  • Guide Michelin: 2 cutlery, good comfort
  • Gault Millau: 14 out of 20 points, 1 out of 5 toques
  • Schlemmer Atlas: 2 wooden spoons