Morning comes and a haze covers the villages and towns in the Muldental. The view from Schloss Döben includes the beautiful town of Grimma, the Mulde River, and on a clear day you can see so many church spires and castles in the distance you can’t count them. It’s time to go explore the greater depths of Schloss Mutzschen! I am to meet Carsten at 10:00 and the Key Keeper and Thomas will meet me at 1:00. There is one small challenge – Carsten does not speak English – and I don’t speak German.
Ahh, the wonders of modern technology, iTranslate to the rescue! I head into Carsten’s office, expecting to fumble my way through requesting the keys I need, only to find he wants to accompany me. It’s just a short walk from his office to the Schloss (remember, this is a village, not a city), and we casually walk through the grounds, using iTranslate as needed. He indicates he wants to show me another Schloss to get some ideas and I willingly agree.
In the car we go, passing the two small lakes that separate Mutzschen from Wermsdorf, the adjacent town. I note that there are hotels on each lake, hmmm, people must come here… I catch a glimpse of a gold tipped turret and think, this should be interesting. Shortly after, we drive up to a sign that says Schloss Hubertusberg. It is clearly HUGE and VERY formal! As we walk to the center, Carsten asks me if I like it. I convey it is beautiful, but not my style. However, I instantly visualize the open air concerts we could host there and think about Thomas’s goal to have Bruce Springsteen play at MotoSoul. There is no doubt this would be the perfect setting!
As we are walking back to the car, Carsten asks why I like Mutzschen better than Wermsdorf. I tell him “it is easy to translate words, but much harder to translate feelings.” He understands and we find our common ground. From this point forward, I feel he gets me, and he is going to help.
On our way back we stop at a Goose Farm. I wonder what this is all about and begin to learn that when you do not speak the same language, you must rely much more on trust and your gut instincts. I follow him into a “barn” and see that it is actually like a farmers market. There is a little zoo for children and a shop where they sell yummy looking local delicacies. Eventually we end up in a restaurant that serves goose in many different ways than I am familiar with, including a goose burger! We both order, take our meal back to the table, and start to eat.
As we begin our meal, I try to ask Carsten a question in iTranslate, only to discover there is no cell service in the building. Darn, now what do we do? No worries, we simply laugh about it and get to enjoy our meal in peaceful silence, both with our own thoughts. I realize it is not a bad way to enjoy a meal. So often this type of situation would be filled with small talk and instead, there is a peaceful co-existence that is quite welcome given the flood of feelings I need to process whenever I am here.
Back to Schloss Mutzschen where we meet the Key Keeper and begin our tour of the depths!! I always wear a hat when it rains to keep my hair from frizzing into what I call my “Peter Frampton look.” This was one of those on/off drizzle/sun days so I was well prepared with my hat. Thomas has also arrived at this point, so we all set off together. First order of business, the cellars in the main building. I have been told that if the cellars are dry, the building is dry, which is an important factor in an old building restoration. The vaults are opened and I dive into the depths, flashlight in hand, eager for a peek. I immediately walk into a huge cobweb, and my hat is covered with it. Halloween costume complete – my lovely hat turned into a witch’s hat in an instant.
Dry, dry, dry, and dry, everywhere I look. I also discover that these are not “basements” like what I grew up, these are beautifully engineered and constructed rooms made from stone in the shape of half moons. Picture wine cellars that people spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to re-create and you get the picture! SCORE!!!
Next, the Hungerterm – the old guard gate and prison room. This fancy turret is adjacent to the bridge (over the moat of course) and has a unique look and feel to it. I am eager to see if it could be a very special suite for our guests. We open the door, and walk inside, only to find magic! A lovely circular window that has iron bars with no glass to distract the wind or weather. The “window” looks out over the grounds and faces South – WOW! A winding staircase leads to the floor below which has a beautiful antique firestove made of tile, spectacular! Lastly, down a fireman’s ladder I go to the room below. I shine my flashlight in and the first thing I see is a human skull surrounded by candles. A little scream escapes and then I collect myself and have to go investigate. Ideas flood me for the use of these spaces, and how much a guest might be willing to pay to sleep here for a night…