So, August 2014 arrives and I hop on a plane from Seattle back to Germany. It’s time for a sneak peak inside the castle. I bring my friend Thomas to the property for his first look the day before we meet the Burgermeister (Mayor). The entire drive, Thomas is trying to convince me that I should build a new building! We arrive in Mutzschen and I first take him to the park and we walk around the lake. Not even 5 minutes into the walk, Thomas says, “I get it. It is almost perfect! The only thing missing is the motorbikes….”
We head to Leipzig for the night and agree that the location has everything we had been talking about for the last 5 years:
- Close to a major city – things to do and International Airport access
- The property is part of the town but separate – our guests need more to do after parking their bikes than we can offer. They should be able to walk to town and eat, drink, shop, stroll, play, etc.
- Places for camping, private events, parking, and the right size – intimacy and connectedness for our guests, not so big people lose each other
- Not too “castle-ey” Medieval does not suit motorbikes. I like to say that I do ride horses, I simply happen to ride many horsepower at the same time! But, that said, it needs to be HOME. It must be warm and welcoming.
- It must be special and also have a romance about it that makes people fall in love with it.
I am so excited I can’t sleep! The day has arrived when I actually get to go inside Schloss Mutzschen. We drive up and see that the gate is open – at last, the first time I will “officially” be allowed on the property! I am so full of enthusiasm as we drive across the bridge, through the gate, and park in front of the Schloss I leap out of the car barely before it comes to a stop.
Herr Carsten Graf greets us enthusiastically and I quickly thank him for taking time from his family holiday to meet with us. As he unlocks the front door, I try to calm myself, but I know at that moment it is the right place without even seeing inside. We walk through the rooms one by one and where many would see a project, or insurmountable task, I see opportunity. I see the entire thing as it will be when it is done. I see the “family room” full of interesting people from all over the world laughing and sharing stories. I see the library shelves filled with interesting books left behind by our travelling guests who “swapped” a book when they continued on their journey. I see and feel the energy. I feel the walls telling me it is time to bring life back to this place.
We walk the property and come back through the main building and stand on the balcony, overlooking the courtyard and clock tower building with the historic church in the background. I ask Thomas to translate for me so there is no misunderstanding. “Please ask Mr. Graf on a scale of 1-10, 10 being great, what will the town people think if we fill this place with motorbikes?” Carsten (We are on a first name basis now!) replies enthusiastically “15!!”
We say our goodbyes and head back to Bamberg to discuss everything we have learned.