Crooked house in Idstein

Crooked house in Idstein ()

I must admit I was less-than-enthused when my spouse asked me if I wanted to get away for the day to this “I’ve never heard of it before town,” Idstein. Upon arriving in the town, I realized my attitude was about to change. Idstein is roughly a ninety-minute drive from the KMC area and a half-hour drive or less than an hour public transit ride from Wiesbaden. This town is a definite must-do on the list for those into interesting architecture, great food and witch lore.

Half-Timbered Buildings: In the heart of town, a majority of the buildings are intricately decorated and beautiful half-timbered houses that date back as far as the 15th century. There are hidden faces throughout the designs, and you can make it a family challenge to see who can find the most faces. These buildings house residents, hotels, restaurants, ice cream shops, graphic designers, art galleries, shops, toy stores, wineries and more. Keep your eyes peeled for “Das Schiefes Haus (Crooked House).” The name says it all for this blue house with yellow window frames.

Castles and Witches: While not as well-known as the ones held in the U.S., Europe also held quite a few witch trials in the 16th and 17th centuries. Idstein found itself swept in witch-fury and between 1676 and 1677, 35 women and eight men were executed for witchcraft. Today, a plaque in their memory sits at the foot of the Hexenturm (Witch’s Tower). By walking over to the Tourist Information Center, you can trade a deposit (such as your car key) for the key to the tower and make the climb in the tower yourself. If climbing up a tower isn’t for you, you can simply walk around the grounds of Idstein Castle. If just reading about castle adventures is more your speed, make sure to pay a visit to the Hexenbuchladen (Witches’ Bookstore) a mere three-minute walk from the Hexenturm.

Great Food: We arrived in Idstein right around “my tummy is rumbling for lunch”-thirty, so our first task was finding food and the Taunushof Restaurant and Hotel did not disappoint. I can personally recommend the French onion soup as well as the baked Camembert cheese with cranberries, salad and toast. My spouse highly recommends the Alfredo schnitzel. Or at least I think he does; he just kept repeating, “We need to make this at home” between bites. For the beer connoisseurs reading this, don’t worry, Idstein has you covered. The Idsteiner Brewery, “Alte Feuerwache,” not only has a variety of brewed in-house beers but also some amazing food. I had the Käsespätzle, and it was in the top three (of many) Käsespätzle dishes I have eaten during my time in Germany. They also featured a menu item that I have never seen in Germany before: Brizza, a pizza dish featuring a mustard and cream sauce, cheese and sausage on top of a pretzel (Brezel) crust. I also indulged in dessert which was a chocolate-lava cake dish served with vanilla ice cream and berries. All I can say is, leave room for dessert. You can also purchase beer and souvenirs to take home with you.

Whether you go for Instagram pictures of architecture, tower climbing adventures or on a foodie expedition, Idstein has something for everyone.

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Tamala Malerk is a writer and editor with Stars and Stripes Europe. She has been with SSE since April 2022 writing articles all about travel, lifestyle, community news, military life and more. In May 2022, she earned her Ph.D. in History and promises it is much more relevant to this job than one might think.

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