We ate breakfast on the porch. I had some fruit, yogurt sprinkled with oat bran, and some bread with jelly. There was also brie and salami available.
After breakfast, we hiked up to Hohenberneck (also known as Neu Wallenrode or Neuwallenrode). Along the way, we stopped to try an arm "bath" that is an example of the hydrotherapy theories of Sebastian Kneipp. Basically, there is a stone basin filled with cold running water on the side of the hiking path. You submerge your forearms in really cold water, then you take your arms out of the water and shake them and swing them in large circles. The point is that your heart reacts to the cold and temporarily increases the blood flow out to your arms. After being in the cold water, then getting an influx of "fresh" blood, your arms feel oddly warm. There was also a wading pool/leg bath, but we only tried the arm bath.
The path up to the castle is wide at the beginning (left), but it becomes more narrow the closer you get to the castle. Parts of it are kind of steep rocky. It's not a difficult hiking path, but I do recommend that anyone who walks it should wear good shoes. The view of the city from the castle is great (right).
Here is a translation of the description of the castle found on the Bad Berneck web site:
Walpoten CastleOn the today's castle mountain around 1150 the Walpoten castle was established, whose entire outline is still clearly recognizable this very day. Around the steep rock slope in the south were two barrier ditches, which were planted with lilacs and transformed into terraces in the 19th century.
In 1478, the Amntmann Veit von Wallenrode received the order to establish for the Margrave Albrecht a homelike castle on the ridge where a front fortification once protected the Walpoten castle from the north. It was named New Wallenrode. The daughters of Amntmann Veit von Wallenrode sold the incomplete buiding in 1495 to Albrecht von Wirsberg. He finished the castle, which was then called Hohenberneck, and in 1501 it was given to Margrave Friedrich IV. Just 50 years later began the decay to the still very militarily well-fortified castle.
In 1480, the Veit von Wallenrode placed the foundation stone to construct the Marienkapelle (Mary's Chapel) below the castle. With the building of the castle chapel he fulfilled a Gelübde (a vow), which he made during his two trips to the holy land in Jerusalem. This Gelübde also included creating a Via Dolorosa, a crossroads with (perhaps better written as a walking path describing) the suffering stations of Jesus Christ. He fulfilled this committment in the year 1485. He measured the distance going from the chapel into the city, which he had measured in Jerusalem from the Judgement Hall until Golgatha. Afterwards he built columns at three stations, the first of them in front of the entrance into the Rimlastal (the Rimla valley). At all the stations today some plaques still remain. These can be seen at the former inn “Riedelbauch” on Kirchenring (a street in Bad Berneck), at the house in “Münchsgässchen,” and at the former “Hotel Bube”.
Besides the castle, there is a theater on the hiking path, with a small café. When I was looking for information about it, I came across the blog of an American who has been living in Germany since 1991. He sang in a performance there last summer and he wrote about it on June 9, 2006.
After the hike, we had lunch back at the house, out on the porch again. We had an appetizer of maultasche soup, then a variety of grilled sausages, plain sauerkraut that had been seasoned by the family, and rolls.
We spent the afternoon in Bayreuth (link to an English description of the town), which is about a 15 to 20 minute drive from Bad Berneck. It was a little tricky to find parking, because there was a festival going on in town. But, our friend knew the side streets well and we found a spot that wasn't too far from the center of town. We had lots to see, so we stepped in to the Old Castle just for a moment. There is a pretty garden, which is free to see, just inside, to the left.
Our next stop was the new opera house, where we saw the "light show." It was a slide show, supposedly narrated by Margravine Wilhelmine (daughter of the king of Prussia) and Voltaire, describing the different decorations within the opera house. It was in German, but it was still interesting to see drawings of the people and the clothes they wore, etc.
When we left, there was a dance performance going on immediately outside the opera house. The dancers were girls ranging in age from four years old up though 16 or 17. They were performing traditional dances from the medieval times.
Our next stop was a restaurant named Oskar. We ordered a snack plate, which came with several slices of multi-grain bread, obazter (a mix of brie or camembert, cream cheese, onions, and spices), and seasoned quark. We also got a large pretzel to share and a round of beers. There were so many people at the festival. It was fun to simply sit and watch the world go by. We went to look at the inside of the restaurant before we left. The door to the kitchen was open and we could see everything that was going on. There was one young man forming dumplings by rolling the dough in his hands. I had to wonder if that unfortunate guy had been standing there, doing the same thing for hours.
We returned to the house more tired than we expected. It was a quiet night with a very light dinner of bread, slices of meat, such as salami, cheese, fruit, and wine. I went to sleep early and left everyone else up to talk.