Aiud, Romania; Bruchsal, Germany – The pride of the locals

P1080917When we moved to Germany eight years ago, my German landlord said we must visit the nearby Bruchsal Palace. It was one of his favorites.  During our three and half years in Germany, we never made it to his favorite palace.  We visited many other palaces and castles across the continent, but never his highly recommended Bruchsal.  Last month we added Bruchsal to our itinerary.  Did it rival Versailles?  Of course not.  Was it in the top ten of Germany?  Not at all.  But you know what?  It was beautiful and historic, in a town not overrun by tourists.  It was something the locals are proud of.  Just because we’ve seen greater and grander sites does not mean a palace beloved by the locals should be overlooked. P1080918Though the interior is not open for tourists – a school occupies its spaces – the palace complex and garden are worth a visit if they are on your route.  Perhaps stop for lunch at a cafe nearby and then enjoy a gelato while walking the grounds.  Thank you German landlord for the tip. P1080930 P1090159Some of the most memorable places we have visited aren’t even found in the guidebooks.  Aiud, Romania is not in our Romania Lonely Planet guide, but it was a convenient stop for dinner on our route.  The medieval citadel across the street from our restaurant of choice barely would have caught my eye on a drive-by.  However, after consuming our kebabs, I had a chance to cross the main thoroughfare and walk through the unlocked gates.  Portions of the citadel dated to the twelfth century.  Organ tones wafted from the open cathedral door as a trickle of mostly elderly parishioners exited the near ruin of the oldest church in Aiud.  Hearing the organ postlude from such an ancient site would be rare.  What an uplifting treat as we left Transylvania and drove onto the plains of southern Romania.

Congregants greet the pastor as they leave service.
Congregants greet the pastor as they leave service.

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