So your kids’ summer vacations are on and all you have are clichéd holiday destinations to go to. How about a journey through the fairy tales and legends of your childhood with your children?
Germany, the country which people generally associate with cars and the World Wars, has a “Maerchenstrasse”, or a Fairy Tale Route, that can entertain kids and adults alike during the summer months. The world famous Grimm brothers had gathered the plot lines for their fairy tales from these mofussil towns of Germany.
Remember Pied Piper — the musician who led the hypnotised children far away after elders of the village refused to pay him remuneration for getting rid of the rats that had become a menace in the town?
This story from my younger years came to life here in Hemlin on the river Weser in the Lower Saxony region — there were tell-tale signs all over the town that the Pied Piper was real!
The moment you step into Hamelin, right from the station, the rats and figurines of the unnamed Pied Piper adorn everything — even the delicious pastries and streets of this small town. In other words, the whole town conspires to make you believe in those childhood legends.
The adults can enjoy the world of fairy tales through museums or through enchanting fairy tale musicals, while enjoying chilled beer at the many small cafes in town.
You can undertake a guided tour by the Pied Piper himself as he takes you through the cobbled streets dusting your memory for the scenes from this story. The emotions of excitement, sadness and horror will be rekindled as you experience the unique Pied Piper mechanical figurine theatres.
The brothers — Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm — compiled a book of over 500 “German legends” in the form of a children’s story book. The book “Tales of Children and the Home” is part of UNESCO World Document heritage.
Cindrella, Sleeping Beauty and Snow White were all part of their work. The book was collected and published in 1816-18. Germany is now celebrating the completion of two centuries of this book through a slew of events till early 2018.
The city of Marburg, where the brothers had lived, has also come up with a Grimm path with alluring fairy tale characters and a Sound and Light Show.
You can also include Göttingen in your itinerary to see the medieval churches and the “Most Kissed girl in the world” also known as the Gänseliesel girl. It is a tradition among young students to kiss the girl after completing their doctorate in this student town.
How to reach – One would need to take a flight to Frankfurt or Munich and then plan the route ahead with Deutsche Bahn or various bus services available across the country. After landing in Germany, one could also explore the opportunity of car-pooling through websites like mitfahrengelegenheit.de
Where to live – Hotels can be expensive, it is better to try Bed and Breakfast options through Airbnb.com