Sunday, September 22, 2019

Clam Castle



There is so much recorded history in Europe. Stories reside in every nook and cranny of old buildings and villages. In Grein, we took a short walking tour of the town that included an old theatre as well as the usual church and village square. 



The Danube is prone to flooding and 2013 was a bad year. The Austrians have come up with some ingenious engineering to create temporary walls to hold back up to 15 feet of water. However, not all of the town was protected and the waters crept up the streets, creating a lot of damage. 



The river looks so peaceful here, but if you search for 2013 Danube floods, you'll see many videos of raging water. 


Later, we took a bus to Castle Clam. Our tour was conducted by the Count himself, a young man in his early 40s who lives there with his wife and three children. He was very engaging, although it felt a bit odd, as if we were intruding a little. However, conducting tours helps to maintain the castle. The castle has been in this family for 16 generations, since 1454. I find that amazing. 
The tour began in the central open courtyard where a balcony runs along the second floor, seen above. The Austro-Hungarian Emperor Franz Joseph I enjoyed hunting and came here to visit and hunt. Some of the trophies mounted on the walls (and there were a lot of them) were shot by the Emperor. I preferred the flower boxes. 



We climbed a narrow, twisting staircase to the small medieval chapel where the Count told us Mass is still held. He said that celebrations, such as birthdays and Christmas begin with Mass here. It was quite something to imagine the many years of worship that went on and continue to the present. 

The family lives in a separate wing from the tour. I enjoyed seeing how the public rooms were furnished and set up as if someone had just stepped out of the room for a moment. 


One of the most impressive rooms is the dining room where the table was set with Meissen porcelain and fine crystal. The Count told us that this room is still where Christmas dinner is held. He grinned as he said that they use different dishes, as these are priceless, and with children and dogs in the room, breakages are inevitable. 

Just before entering the room he pointed out a portrait of one of his ancestors. He asked us to notice that his arm was in a sling. Casually he mentioned that this particular gentleman was one of three thrown out of a window in Prague during the Second Defenestration! You might remember that I mentioned the event a few posts back.  I was quite tickled to make this connection from one historical site to another. 


Clam Castle also holds big music festivals. Elton John, Pink, and others have performed there. The castle grounds produce wine and we were treated to a snack and a glass of wine before leaving. 

Here at home the trees are beginning to change colour and when I walked today, leaves swirled down from the trees. The heat of summer seems distant now. I'm loving going through my photos and remembering our wonderful trip.

Linking with Mosaic Monday, hosted by Angie of Letting Go of the Bay Leaf. 

26 comments:

  1. How magical to have a tour by the count himself. I would have loved to have been part of that tour. Your photos show a beautiful place. So sad about the flooding though. B x

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  2. Hello, what a great tourof the castle. It is nice that the count was your tour guide. It is a beautiful place, the dining room is lovely. Pretty roses. Enjoy your day, wishing you a happy new week!

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  3. One of my favorite historians makes those connections through history and I get a particular thrill from it. Some good writers make those connections and it is enjoyable and gives one a better understanding of the time frame. It had to be interesting to have the Count himself giving the inside stories. I was charmed by the thought of Christmas Dinner being served in the formal dining room with different china.

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  4. What an amazing place to visit, it’s shocking how high the flood waters reached isn’t it, The Count must be very proud of this establishment, beautiful , everything ,

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  5. That is impressive to have a tour led by the Count and to share an antidote or two along the way. How wonderful to have Christmas in such a beautiful room and setting WOW!!!

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  6. It's always fun to look at travel photos! Even after a walk in the woods, I like to work on the photos. Love the lovely pink roses!

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  7. The castle is so well preserved, a gift for future generations.

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  8. That dining room is stunning. How nice to have the Count as your tour guide. Happy Fall to you!

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  9. What a unique experience to be toured by the actual inhabitant of the castle!

    Maintaining a castle can't be cheap, so the tours are a win-win for everyone!

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  10. What an amazing place! So much history. Our trees are just starting. Weather is turning colder by the weekend. Kit

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  11. I've read some stories about how hard it is for modern nobility to hold on to their lands in an era when the economy has changed so. It's lucky the Count is an outgoing man who enjoys people, or it would surely be painful to have to depend on tours for income supplementation.

    Fascinating to tour the house where they still live and celebrate.

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  12. Lorrie - I have toured many historic homes in the UK, but never have I had a tour guide that was a member of the family. How special that is! The castle looks well-maintained, and I am sure that the tours are essential to be able to live there, so it is not an intrusion from their perspective! Gorgeous photos - thanks for sharing with everyone at Mosaic Monday!

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  13. I would like to visit Clam Castle too! The dining room looks fabulous and think of that the count himself acted as your guide :)

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  14. A tour of Clam Castle accompanied the Count himself sounds to have been a memorable occasion.
    I love travelling down these wonderful European rivers, but had forgotten all about those terrible floods of 2013.

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  15. Hi! I feel weight of the history. If it's possible ,I would attend one of the music festivals in a future. Thanks for sharing.

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  16. Love the roses photo! How interesting--being invited into one's home for a tour by the count. What an experience! And the connection between two places. So glad you enjoyed the trip. It's so much easier than years ago, having our digital photos at the ready to remember and show to others and enjoy. When we used to pay per roll of film and send off to get printed, we took a lot less photos.

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  17. Such interesting history, made even more interesting by having a tour conducted by a resident of the castle! I love that the castle is still lived in and loved.

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  18. That's special to have a tour given by the count himself. I've a watched a series on Amazon I think about great British houses, and it is wonderful to see the families that live in them doing things like tours and events to keep the homes/castles going. They are a part of history, like Highclere!

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  19. Oh Lorrie, what a beautiful castle this is! I enjoyed the view of the Danube, and like you, I prefer the flower boxes to the hunting "trophies". That room in the fifth picture is so pretty; it's lovely without being over-the-top ornate. The roses in the last image are gorgeous; they look like old Bourbon roses.

    I've enjoyed reading about your trip; you visited a part of Europe that I've wanted to see for some time - the Czech Republic - and I'd also like to visit Austria, Luxembourg, and Switzerland. It looks like it was a wonderful trip. :)

    Thanks so much for your visit and kind comments; it's always a pleasure to hear from you!

    Warm hugs,

    Denise

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  20. It is incredible that the castle has remained in the family for so many years. I really love that so much history is preserved in Europe. So much to learn and so many stories to be told. Looks like you had a wonderful trip.

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  21. I did enjoy seeing all of your photographs. This looks an amazing place, and full of History - what's not to like!

    All the best Jan

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  22. That was amazing to get a personal owner-led tour of this historical home ... imagine living there! I knew that there are such tours in England and that they are financially necessary to maintain them. Did not hear about them in Europe ... so glad you took us along! (Thinking about English castles, because daughter and granddaughter and I saw Downton Abbey movie yesterday.)

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  23. We didn't visit Grein but in some other towns we saw the watermarks on the buildings - terribly high!

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  24. It's all that history that we miss here, right? And I can just imagine how your love for history plays beautifully into your teaching.

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  25. OMG a tour by the Count himself, did you not manage to get yourself an invite to Christmas lunch? Write and tell him you promise not to break any of his posh glasses! How wonderful :)

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