The infamous Frankenstein Castle outside Darmstadt Germany was the destination of a day trip with Erin and another opportunity to spend quality time with each other. Pleasantly the road leading up to the summit wound through a nature reserve that surrounded the castle, the lush green foliage was thick and appeared impenetrable to those driving upwards. The canopy was so dense in places that it was difficult to see the sky overhead; the late-April weather was ideal in every aspect and perfect for a day of outdoors fun. The wind raced through Erin's fur as she scoped out the passing scenery from the back seat, whenever a form of wildlife was spotted her excitement level went up a notch or two and that stub of a tail became a blinding blur. Upon arrival, she leaped out ready for another European adventure, the parking lot was empty and as the only visitors in sight we had the entire grounds to explore at leisure.
The imposing thick walls, looming towers and main courtyard had an eerie aura or maybe it was my imagination running wild, either way I saw why Mary Shelley gained inspiration to pen "Frankenstein" after visiting the castle. Off-leash I let Erin wander around the site as she saw fit, 750 years of scents and aromas were made available to her thus that active snout was pinned to the ground; one can only wonder what history unfolded before her. Every nook and cranny of the courtyard was being sniffed as a groundskeeper appeared out of nowhere like a ghost to startle me; no attention was paid to us as he strode pass with a purpose. Roaming about we discovered a chapel which was in much better condition than the castle itself, inside were tombs of several knights of the Frankenstein family along with the customary religious relics; while inside Erin remained patiently outside the doorway waiting for me to reappear.
There was open access to the castle, towers, walls, etc. and Erin was affixed at my side throughout it all; no one said dogs weren't permitted inside and as such she accompanied me on the self-guided tour. The stone structure was damp, cold, and condensation was glistening on the massive stones, the place must have been so miserable in the heart of winter as only a fireplace was spotted for heat and comfort. Up and down the stairs we trudged in the name of exploration and my legs were aching from fatigue but as a youthful dog Erin showed little effect of the physical toll so push on we did; glancing back at me she urged me to keep up the pace. Back down in the courtyard a group of visitors were seen milling about while several other cars could be seen pulling into the parking lot so our exit time was timed perfectly and from there we said farewell to Frankenstein Castle. There were no monsters lurking, sinister laboratories, or cadavers stacked up but it took little imagination to envision diabolical acts being performed many centuries ago; Erin certainly treated this outing as nothing but another day of frolic.
We strode around the forest outside the castle, it was very interesting and stimulating to the senses as the thick foliage was a beautiful shade of green while the landscape sloped in all directions. Well-worn paths provided a launching point for Erin to scurry off after squirrels, birds, and anything else that peaked her interest and there was always something to investigate in the shadow of Frankenstein's lair. There were interconnecting trails across the nature reserve, several of which were cut through embankments and we ventured on while trying to keep the towers in sight to avoid getting lost; "American and Dog Feared Lost" was not a newspaper heading I wanted printed across Germany so after hiking for an hour or so we headed back up towards the castle. A relaxing lunch in a restaurant on the premises followed by another impromptu trek into the woods concluded our trip back into literary lore; it was an interesting and fun-filled day especially for Erin who explored Frankenstein's domain and what dog wouldn't want that....