The Real Reason for Castles

As a newcomer to Europe, castles are a complete novelty to me. All my life, I imagined that castles were grand places where princesses held court, kings defended their people, and knights gathered at round tables. Now I know the truth.

I recently visited this castle:

It’s called the Castle Lichtenstein and it’s located near Stuttgart, Germany. Since this was my very first European castle, I entered with the appropriate amount of wonder and awe. I was impressed by the grand library, the room filled with armor and scary-looking implements of war, and the chapel filled with ancient religious paintings and statues of saints.

But as the tour progressed, our guide led us further up into the castle and I discovered the real reason the castle had been built…

The Drinking Room (no photographs allowed!). Above the door to this room, was a sign our guide translated as:

Many more drown in beer and wine than in the Danube and in the Rhine.

Inside the room, a champagne glass hung from the ceiling that was taller than me and could hold three liters of alcohol. How many Germans did it take to drink from the glass?

Three. One to hold the glass, one to drink the champagne, and one to keep the drinker from falling over.

The castle’s drinking room hosted so many parties that an adjoining “pass out” room was needed. Here, the women slept in chair-like beds that kept them upright so they wouldn’t experience bed spins and wake up looking less than their best (I suppose drinking a little less wasn’t an option).

And where did the men sleep? I’m guessing that after a night of bawdy revelry, the women banished the men and made them sleep here…

In the castle doghouse.

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