My Mother-In-Law’s Uncle, Martin Kratz, was a well know architect in Köln. He designed and built many buildings here. He asked the city for permission to build a home around a medieval tower (The Weckschnapp) that belonged to the city. They allowed him to design and build the home and he was also granted a 50 year lease on the property. He raised his family there.
The Weckschnapp was mentioned for the first time in documents in the year 1446, but is suspected to have been built as early as 1233. Great-Uncle Martin’s daughter, Barbara Kratz (Simon calls her Tante Bärbel) now holds the lease since both her parents have died. She is one of our favorite people and was like a second Mom to Simon. She is very generously allowing us to stay in The Weckschnapp for 8 months until our new apartment is done being built. Talk about a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity!
The girls LOVE it. I can’t tell you how many times Kiera has said “This house is SO COOL!” She literally runs up to random strangers at the playground and tells them “I live in a castle!” Even though this is a temporary home, they are NEVER going to forget it. Did I mention that when we look out of the huge living room window our view is The Rhine?!
We watch all kinds of boats and ships pass by us all day long. When people are walking or riding by on the street and see us in the window, they sometimes stop and stare or point (and are probably thinking “somebody actually lives there?!”). We get tour buses, walking tours, and school field trips in front of our place as well. Definitely no walking around naked in the living room for us!
Our bedroom is in the tower. Almost every morning I wake up and think to myself, “I am sleeping in a room that is over 400 years older than America.” I often wonder about all of the other people through the ages that have been in this tower and looked out of these same windows. Once-in-a-lifetime!
View of The Rhine from the living room window..
Climbing up the stairs to the roof deck of the tower
My beautiful view climbing up
Across the street from our place
Tour group learning about The Weckschnapp
Kiera drawing one of her MANY castle pictures
Art class drawing The Weckschnapp
Friends of ours here have showed us some magazine articles with lots of cool pictures of the interior of The Weckschnapp. I will try and find some online and post them if I can. Right now we have boxes stacked everywhere (and will for a long time since we aren’t going to fully unpack since we’re moving in the Spring), so I feel badly documenting the current state of things. Here are some other photos and info about The Weckschnapp if you’re interested…