Grimm Brothers Tour

Last week (April 12-15), I was on a tour of the Grimm Brothers sights in Germany. It was quite fantastic, so I'm going to tell you all about it!

First off, I need to tell you who the Grimm Brothers are. While there were many boys in the Grimm family, the term "Grimm Brothers"--or, on occasion, "Brothers Grimm"--refers to Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm. The Grimm Brothers were born in the 1700s, Jacob being born just one year before Wilhelm. They were raised in a German Reformed Protestant household, and their father was a county clerk (judge). The Grimm Brothers are known for their slightly dark retellings--you could call them "edited versions", but I prefer "retellings"--of Fairy Tails, such as Briar Rose (Sleeping Beauty), Hansel & Gretel, and Little Red Riding Hood.

Some of their retellings were inspired by German castles, and we visited them. Some of them actually had their names changed to fit the fairy tales; such as Sleeping Beauty's castle and Rapunzel's Tower. But, there was also just castles that the Grimm Brothers visited. There are plenty of Museums about the Grimm Brothers, all of which we visited. We also went to the town where Jacob and Wilhelm attended University (it's still a College town).

I'll talk about each of these from the order in which we visited them. 

First, there was the house in which the Grimm Brothers grew up in Steinau, which doubles as a Grimm Brothers Museum. It was really cool! The house is a two-story building, and--when the Grimm Brothers lived there with their family--the 1st floor was the house, and the 2nd floor contained offices (it was the work-place of their father). I wasn't able to take pictures inside of it, but I can assure you that it was awesome. They had an entire room dedicated to Little Red Riding Hood! 

Second, in the same town, there's a castle where the Grimm Brothers visited. It has another mini-museum about the Grimm family, and it also has a giant room of Puppets from Puppet shows of the Grimm Brothers' Fairy Tales. It also had a room full of amazing--and old--carpets telling about Cleopatra (the Egyptian), going from her coronation to her suicide-by-snake. In what once was the Castle's courtyard stands a quaint market.

Next, we visited Johann Sebastian Bach's house, which was in Eisenach. It was really fun; we got to listen to live music from 200-300 year old instruments! Turns out, we don't have many of Bach's masterpieces today because he made them for a Church. Did you know that Johann actually went to jail for awhile when he was younger (late teens or twenties)? Later in the day, we visited Hofsgeimar to see Sleeping Beauty's castle. We got to see a herd of deer, because there's an animal reserve around Sleeping Beaty's castle. And, for dinner, we went to Rapunzel's Tower; it's in Trendelburg, and it's about a 15 minute drive away from Sleeping Beauty's castle. And, let me tell you, they have the best mushroom soup that i've ever tasted! But, helpful tip, they don't start serving dinner until 6pm. 

Then, we visited a really cool Grimm Brothers museum in Kassel... Well, technically, the museum itself is still under construction (or renovation, i forget which), so we only got to visit a smaller section. But, it was still amazing! It had a giant book that a projector hit, and it showed a map, where they lived and grew up, letters, some of Ludwig's art, the Grimm Brothers editing stories... And more!

After that, we visited the castle where Jacob and Wilhelm used to go dancing; Wilhelm Höhe. It was absolutely breath taking! The castle was grand and majestic, and the pictures of the dancing hall (it was under renovation) were lovely! There was a lake as well, and we got to skip stones... Which i'm still not good at. It was a gorgeous day, so we got to see the statue of Hercules on the steeple from the lake. We also walked around the flour beds outside of the Green House.

Then, last but not least, was the hill-city of Marburg, where Jacob and Wilhelm attended university (only Wilhelm actually got a degree). One of the Grimm Brothers said, "Marburg has more steps in the town than it does in the houses." And, boy, was he right! After taking the walking tour of the town, we went to the very top of the hill and walked around the castle on top.

I really recommend this trip, if anyone had enough money for a plane ticket (or if you already live in Germany, it would be a great thing to do this Summer Break)!

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~Bekah The Bookworm


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