“ONCE UPON A TIME” are just 4 tiny words, but for some reason I never got tired of hearing them while growing up. Like everyone I suppose, I lost most of my childhood memories, but I will never forget that moment where those four little words could bring me to another world, where loads of stuff happened and everyone truly lived happily ever after! What a perfect world indeed and then all of a sudden it ends, we become adults and basically don’t have time anymore to dream and wonder about such things. A few years back when visiting a Travel Fair, someone handed me a brochure with all kinds of interesting road trips in Germany, one of them being “The Fairy Tale Route” which basically runs from the state Hesse, through Lower Saxony, all the way up to Bremen and like a blast from the past, all those fond memories came back to me.
The route mainly revolves around the lives of Jakob and his one year younger brother Wilhelm Grimm, both of them are better known as The Brothers Grimm. These men besides being academics, were also great linguists with a special fondness for folk stories, which they collected from storytellers all over the region, where they worked and lived.
I guess till this day we all should be thankful for the interest they showed in the local, folklore tales because otherwise, we would have never heard of those great stories and to be honest, what would life look like, without a bit of „magic” ??
Starting point of the German Fairy Tale route is Hanau, birthplace of both brothers and although their birth house was destroyed during the world war, the city still commemorates the infamous duo with a national monument at their central market place. Ever since the late 1800’s Jakob stands tall next to his brother Wilhelm who sits on a comfortable chair. Legend says that during the witching hour, the brothers change places in order to give Jakob a rest. A nice thought no!?
Leaving Hanau, you just follow the rural road which automatically leads you to the next beautiful town of Steinau An Der Strasse, where both boys grew up and which is also a constant reminder of the beautiful half-timbered houses, so known for in the region.
Along the Fairy Tale route you can make numerous stops in small villages and towns, which all relate to the fairy tales, both brothers collected and wrote during their lifetimes. These were such as the Frog Prince, Hansel and Gretel, Little Red Riding Hood and of course lest we not forget Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella and Snow White.
The route leads all the way up to the north, passing Kassel where the brothers went to school and returned back in their later years to work as librarians. Then Marburg, the university city, where they studied to become lawyers and ends in Bremen. Bremen is not a historical fact of both brothers, but more because of their fairytale of the Town Musicians, their most famous one.
Starting from May and June and all the way through the summer months lasting till September, there are plenty of festivities and events going on along the almost 600 km long Fairy Tale Route. This makes sure your trip in this small part of Germany, is going to be a memorable one not only for the young, but even for the slightly older.