Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Into the Eifel: Bitte ein Bit!

So we crossed into the Eifel region of the State of Rhineland-Pfalz. Ah, the Eifel: Famous for the rather tasty and refreshing Bitburger beer, and that big metal tower thing out of Superman II (Er, are you sure about that?).

We passed this rather striking, and surely vampire-infested castle at Cochen (everybody laugh at the rude-sounding name), but this was not our destination.

Sneaking through the woods to avoid the guards I caught my first glimpse of the place: Burg Eltz, the home of the Schnellminiaturmalereiinstitut from 1918 onwards.

Somewhere inside this forbidding fortress lay the secrets of the figure-painting universe. The painter's Holy Grail.

Love this place. I can just imagine Richard Burton and Clint Eastwood having a rare old time here. Needs a cable car, though. No, it really does need one. The walk is a killer.

Broadsword Calling Danny Boy...
Broadsword Calling Danny Boy...

And it sells beer. A castle that sells beer. Supremely sensible folk, these Germans.

The security was too tight. This is as far as I could get. Imprisoned inside that tower is rumoured to be the thousand-year-old Vampire Count, the Graf von Bews. His satanic painting powers are legendary, and he is responsible for 75% of Germany's painting output.

Deep in the dungeon below, working in almost complete and constant darkness, is the terrain-building ogre known only as Grimmbo. A few pictures have emerged recently claiming to show him, but they have been dismissed by experts as too ridiculous to portray the real Grimm.

It seemed that I had failed. But one clue remained. A reference to a more modern facility built in the 1920s.
So I slipped away from Burg Eltz, and disguised as a hairy German music fan on his way to Rock Am Ring, snuck past the security and into the secret facility in the small village of Nürburg.

Ahh... Now I get it.

Painting at high speed, eh? I needed to try this out...

Off we go, around the Nürburgring, paintbrush in hand.

This is really easy. Look, I'm even painting left-handed.

The long straight: Good for doing buttons and eyes.

Perfect! Two laps of the circuit and the figure is finished! We have the secret of high-speed painting! Quick, let's get it back to Blighty!

And below, just in case you're not entirely sick of them, another castle, this time Nürburg Castle.

No comments: