Kassel, Germany ~ City of art and fairytales
I love going on a new adventure. The excitement and thrill is incredible! #traveljunky! It’s a wonderful sickness. I have no idea where I’m going or what I am doing, let alone where I’m parking. Basically everything is last minute. I know, it’s so exciting. This past month, I discovered a “LIMITED time only” exhibit in the town of Kassel, Germany. I hadn’t researched the town at all before heading out, I just talked to a few of my german friends who told me it was a town worth touring.
Artist Marta Minujín’s “Parthenon of Books, A Celebration of the Accomplishment of the Collection of Forbidden Books” was on display in the Freidrichsplatz in downtown Kassel. This exhibition consisted of over 100,000 donated books and was part of “documenta 14“ a group that coordinates art exhibitions every five years in Kassel, Germany and Athens, Greece. Their work is secretive and typically not revealed until right before the event occurs. This past June to September people could come and visit her display.
This powerful exhibit was life-changing and my heart sunk as I walked the parameter of the parthenon as the columns were being dismantled and the banned books were once again distributed to the public for reading. I will probably regret not standing in line for four hours to get my copy of a banned book that was part of this exhibit. I saw everything from “Anne Frank’s Diary” to “Catcher in the Rye,” every book was donated!
Walking the streets of Kassel
“Kassel is a city of fairytales and art” – that is how UNESCO describes one of their selected towns and I couldn’t agree more. As I walked the streets of this busy town, I saw gorgeous architecture, amazing parks filled with wonderful botanicals and learned all about the 30 year home for the Brothers Grimm.
After visiting the exhibition, I headed to the tourism office and got a walking tour map of the city. With just an afternoon here, I knew I had to make the most of my time ~ here is what I found.
Freidrichsplatz – Museum Fridericianum
NeueGalerie (Art Museum)
Other beautiful examples of architecture in Kassel
- GRIMMWELT – this very affordable museum (€8/adult) was a highlight into the lives of the Grimm family and took about an hour and a half to tour. These famous “fairytale” authors are responsible for a great number of nursery rhymes and stories we all have come to know and love. Cautionary tales of behaving and listening to parents and authority, following the right paths and not straying.
It was interesting to see original copies of their story writing and development and also learn about their famous artist brother, Ludwig who illustrated several of their famous published stories.
Hiking Excursions, Little Red Riding Hood and More!
Kassel is very close to another UNESCO project, the Nationalpark Kellerwald-Edersee , only 40 km away. I see another hiking adventure in my future. This massive national park covers over 150 kilometers and several Hessen towns.
There are over 20 hiking (looping trails) in the park and several overlook the large and winding Edersee lake. Ranging from 4.5 to 11.2 km these educational hiking trails seems to offer ease as well as challenging routes depending on the trail you choose.
Alsfeld – Little Red Riding Hood town
If you’ve driven on the German Autobahn (highway) then you’ve probably seen a few BROWN tourist signs from time to time. On my return visit from Kassel, I noticed the signs for Alsfeld.
Alsfeld is close to Kassel and said to be the inspiration for the Brothers Grimm “Rotkäppchen” (Little Red Riding Hood) story. This town loves the story so much they dedicate an entire week of celebrating the story every year. Hmmm ~ sounds like good family fun!
Time to head home
After several hours of walking around the city of Kassel and falling in love with this Hessen town I knew I would have to drive the four hours back to Stuttgart. Kassel is definitely a keeper and will definitely be part of an upcoming weekend trip – Along the Fairytale Route in Germany – be on the lookout. This distance doesn’t make it ideal for a DAY TRIP from Stuttgart but if you add it to an overnight of the region or a half-way point to northern Germany it would be perfect.
Several years ago we were stationed in this region in the small town of Büdingen, just outside of Hanau but we had a little baby then and busy work schedules. I didn’t travel near as much as I do now. However, after driving through the sloping hills and all the farmland to get to Kassel this past week I was reminded of how beautiful this part of Germany is to tour. I look forward to planning another adventure to this area sometime in 2018. If you are interested too let me know in the comments below ~ til then remember ~
It’s always an adventure when you ©Travel with Wendy!