fairy tale germany

Fairy-tale Experiences

My head is, and always has been, in the clouds. I loved fairy tales from a young age and realize now that as life got real and my childlike perspective dwindled away, I relied on stories with happy endings in many ways. This slight obsession with stories provided me an eagerness to wander to Germany, and these travel days in particular gave me so much satisfaction.

As if waking up here…

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…wasn’t enough of a fairy tale for me, we were set to drive through Germany’s wine country to Frankfurt, and then on Fairy Tale Road to Berlin. All my dreams were about to come true!

Once we were able to get our car out of its teeny tiny parking spot, we were on our way. This day we planned on driving through wine country, and quite possibly taking a river cruise in Frankfurt. Once we got started on our way, however, there were detours almost EVERYWHERE.

Ever drive in a country where you are so foreign, you do not speak the language and are struggling to feel assured you’ll ever get to any destination on your itinerary? This was our day. Our “fairy tale” did not go as planned. We were both so frustrated, and we spent HOURS driving through unknown areas.

The silver lining was that our view was absolutely beautiful, and once we gained a little perspective back – that we were still in Germany, still enjoying our time together (listening to Harry Potter in the car!), we calmed down a little. Know what helped? Beer and sunflowers.

Sometimes travel gets very real. This day, my instincts for blogging did not kick in, and I struggle to find where it was that we sat to eat. What I do know is that we drove down a tiny, narrow lane through fields of sunflowers to arrive at our saving grace, where we ate hot dogs and drank beer at a secluded little outdoor table. It was wonderful, and most importantly, refreshing.

After, we had our fun taking photos of, and with, the sunflowers…

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You’d never guess we were sitting on two hours of frustration with each other in the car, would you!? Like I said, beer and sunflowers are magic. Maybe we did experience a fairy tale on this day…

Remember when I said we were thinking of taking a dinner cruise in Frankfurt? Ha! We were so tired, and arrived so much later than we originally thought, that we did something we’ve never done on a trip before: we skipped dinner. We fell asleep while we were trying to pick out a restaurant. We got to our hotel much too late to even consider that cruise. Travelers can plan and plan prior to an adventure, but sometimes plans don’t mean a thing.

The next day we left Frankfurt, I’m sad to say, without exploring. We were so excited to drive on Fairy Tale Road, and planned a stop to Grimm Welt Kassel – the Brother’s Grimm Museum. We drove for a while, again having bad luck with the roads. However, once we arrived at the museum we had exactly the experience we had hoped for.

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This museum is fantastic for any lover of fairy tales. I recommend reading as many fairy tales as possible before going, and taking it a step further by learning their history. I read The Wild Girl, by Kate Forsyth, and then read Clever Maids: The Secret History of the Grimm Fairy Tales, by Valerie Paradiž. The latter of these two works is what Forsyth used to create her fictional account of the Grimm Brothers’ experience(s). Both are fantastic books, and so beneficial to have read if one visits this beautiful museum!

The inside of the museum has a small gift shop and welcome center at the entrance, and charges only 10 Euros per adult for entrance! (Children under the age of 6 are admitted for free, and families get in for 25 Euros.)

Grimm Welt Kassel provides a very unique experience. We started by roaming the A-Z section – their World of Words, which is fantastic:

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Between each letter, information pertaining to fairy tales, the brothers, their experiences, their German Dictionary, etc. can be found, and is all (surprise!) alphabetized by topic! I regret to say that I was not comfortable taking photos here; I was wary of being asked not to, although I’m sure they saw my camera so it was likely fine. But, it was amazing.

After going through these exhibits and learning a ton about their compilation of fairy tales, and their contributions to the dictionary, we visited the interactive portion – the World of Fairy Tales – which involved Little Red Riding Hood’s cottage:

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…here’s Matt, listening to a story…

…and me, being serenaded by the seven dwarves in their cottage:

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…this was awesome; I could see myself sitting in the room with them as they sang. Such a fun, clever exhibit!

I definitely recommend a visit for anyone who finds themselves in Germany.

Not only is the museum fantastic within, but the grounds are awe-inspiring as well:

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When we left Grimm Welt Kassel, we were headed north towards our hotel in Magdeburg. We originally planned to go straight to Berlin, dropping our car off this night, but we found a fantastic hotel that we were thrilled with, and shocked to be able to afford to stay in.

The artHOTEL, located at Breiter Weg 9 39104 Magdeburg – is this stunning building, that is part residential, part hotel. No two windows are the same shape, and permanent residents are allowed to paint outside their windows – as far as their brush reaches, apparently! Parts of it, as you can see, are covered by trees and grass.  It’s a phenomenal building.

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Even the parking garage is artsy!

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I am kicking myself for not photographing the room we stayed in, but you can see plenty on their website.

After checking in (during this point last year – 2019 – it was 128 Euros for the night, to be paid upon arrival), and having a complementary drink in their lobby, we went out for dinner. The hotel was on a street with lots of dinner options, and we opted for one .07 miles away from the artHOTEL.

La Bodega is a Spanish restaurant with incredible decor. We were two of just a few diners within, and had a beautiful table next to the window, with a fantastic meal and wine. Sadly once again I failed to take photos (I am now vowing to take photos EVERYWHERE next time we venture out!), but we had a great dinner.

After dinner we walked around a bit – the area is very walkable, lots of sights to see.

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I was delighted, as we were headed to Berlin the next day, to find a piece of the Berlin wall!

We didn’t stay out late, but the next day we did lots of wandering after breakfast (included in the price of the stay!).

We visited Magdeburg Cathedral, a five-minute walk from the hotel. Magdeburg Cathedral is the first Gothic Style Cathedral in Germany! The cathedral and grounds are stunning:

We loved that there were no limits to where we could walk, what we could stand on, etc. It was a fantastic place to explore, and if we’d stayed in the city another night, we probably would have been interested in touring the inside of the Cathedral.

Click here for some more information!

And from Magdeburg, we were off to Berlin!

Not a bad fairy tale adventure…

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