On Easter weekend we drove down to Kaiserslautern to celebrate a good friend’s birthday. Along the way, we made some stops.
Normally when we go anywhere we’re more “the destination is the point” rather than “what’s off this exit?” type people but on this day we had some time and Z had seen an interesting building off the highway he wanted to go back to explore.
Before we got to the interesting building we saw an even more tempting sign pointing us towards a “Skywalk” we decided to follow.
A winding road took us up a hill to a small village with a parking lot outside. This being late March, the wind and chill were brisk but once we were walking through the houses it wasn’t so bad.
At the fork in the road there is a path to the church. Inside the walls is a little graveyard with almost ancient tombstones. There is a little wall along the top of the hill overlooking the valley, so the view is unobstructed. You can walk all the way around the church and there’s a nice little bench at the back if you’d like to sit down for a bit.
Up the other part of the fork is the skywalk. There’s a bar here, with an excellent viewpoint, but nothing compares to walking out on a platform with a grid for a floor. The wind was even more extreme out on the platform but it was a bit of a rush standing out so exposed over the valley.
Then it was onto Idar-Oberstein. This town has a history of mining, particularly salt and precious stones. But it’s also known for its peculiar church built into the side of the mountain.
The parking here was excellent. Could have been the time of year but we had a great spot along the main street by the pedestrian area/market square. The info center is here along with restrooms and a giant water wheel.
The walk to the church goes up some stairs and through a tunnel which reminded me of Trümmelbach falls. Signs pointing the way can be found down in the marketplace.
The history of this church comes from legend, which states the Count of Oberstein was forced to chisel the building out of the mountain, as punishment for murdering his brother.
However, there’s a natural spring which still flows through the church which is probably how the mountain was actually chiseled out.
There are a series of icon-like portraits under the choir loft so make sure to walk out towards the altar and turn back to see them.
There’s also a little minor poking out of the wall as tribute to the mining history of the town.
Back down to the market square, there are signs pointing towards Schloss Oberstein and Burg Bosselstein. It’s a 15 minute winding, uphill walk through a park with some beautiful scenery. Along the way is a memorial to the men who died in a battle of the Franco-Prussian War in the late 1800’s.
Above this memorial is the split between continuing on to Scholss Obserstein and the ruins of the Burg (which is now just a tower).
Up to the Schloss is another 5 minutes, and there is a restaurant, a museum and a few hotel rooms. The Schloss is under protection by a community group from the town. The views are great up here; it was quite cloudy on the day we were here but the summer must be pretty.
Back through the forest to the old Burg. The ruined tower is like a Rapunzel tower. There’s not much to explore here but the views of the Schloss are fab. The old bridge to get to this point is also fun in a fairytale type way.
Finally back down into town, there are so many gem and precious stones shops. We got a couple of salt rock candle holders but the jewelry was really tempting. Might have to make a second trip out here.
I recommend these two locations for a day trip to get out of the house or if you are in need of precious stone jewelry (who isn’t). All in all it was about 90 minutes of driving if we had gone straight to Idar-Oberstein but I wouldn’t miss the Skywalk (and there’s castle there we have yet to see). Hope you get to see it!