Fairy-Tale Road

Exploring the Fairy-Tale Road
Sunday January 23, 2000

While here in Germany,  we try to do something interesting each weekend; see something new or take a weekend trip.  Some of us have been places the others haven't, so we try to pick places that none of the folks on the trip have been to. 

Lately,  we've been taking some day trips, so in that vein, I delved into my Fodor's 99 Germany Travel Guide.  The book is divided into sections according to regions and interesting  destinations within Germany.  For day trips,  we don't want to spend the whole day driving, although at 100 mph on the Autobahn you can cover a lot of distance.   Searching the book,  I discovered a section called 'The Fairy-Tale Road'.  The Fairy-Tale Road, or Marchenstrasse is a route that starts just east of Frankfurt in the town of Hanau and goes northward about 600km through parts of Germany where the famous storytellers, the Brothers Grimm,  grew up and lived. 

So we decided to start in Hanau and go up the route as far as we felt like.  In all, we went to 5 towns: Hanau, Wilhelmsbad (just drove through), Gelnhausen, Steinau, and Fulda.

At our first stop, Hanau, we saw the Grimm Brothers Memorial, a large bronze statue of the brothers situated in front of the 18th-century Rathaus (town hall).   We also hit the German Goldsmith's House, a museum dedicated to goldsmithing and silversmithing.  Didn't see much gold.  There was an exhibit called 'Boxes, Boxes, Boxes' that showed all sorts of antique silver boxes made to contain everything from cigarettes to makeup.  Not a bad museum.  I would recommend it.  We ate lunch at Pizza Hut to see what the German version was like.  Pretty similar to the American version.  The pizza over here is BETTER ANYWHERE ELSE but Pizza Hut.   As a general rule,  only eat American fast food over here as a last resort or as a comfort food because you're a stranger in a strange land. 

Did I mention it was really cold and snowy today?  It was.   The snow went away after a while but the cold remained.

After lunch,  we drove around for a while, seeing if there was anything interesting in Wilhelmsbad.  This is resort town - spa, horses, golf.    It looked like a nice town, but we didn't run across the golf course.  The next stop was Gelnhausen.

In Gelnhausen, we visited Burg Barbarossa,  the remains of Barbarossa's Castle.  Not much left and not too impressive.  We did see and interesting wood sculpture that made the stop worth it.

Another 20 miles or so northeast is Steinau an der Strasse.  Mind you, not just Steinau, but Steinau yada yada yada...  You'll find in Germany that the whole name of a place is sometimes important because many places have the same names.   Like Frankfurt - there's more than one.  So the big Frankfurt is called Frankfurt am Main (Frankfurt on the Main River).  But I digress.  Steinau is definitely the best town we visited on our short journey up the Fairy-Tale Road.    The Grimm Museum is here as well as a small but nice medieval castle.   The Grimm Museum was closed but we walked down Bruder Grimm Strasse and saw some beautiful examples of half-timbered structures.   Half-timbered means that you can see the structural timbers in the walls of the building and they are usually painted different colors to preserve the wood and make it stand out.   Make sure you check out the pictures to see what I'm talking about.

Our last stop was Fulda - up the road another 20 miles.  We just grabbed a snack there and headed back.

This was another scouting trip for things to visit again when the weather is warmer.

Fairy-Tale Road



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