Sunday, July 17, 2016

German Fairy Tale Route

Friday July 15
Today Joe took a half day from work and we drove to Germany to meet up with Joe's family on the northern portion of the German Fairy Tale route (Märchenstrasse). What should have been a 4 hour drive to Hannover, turned into a 5.5 hour drive. At least Brooklyn took a nap and Caleb only needed to stop and breastfeed once and slept the rest of the time.
We met up with the family at a Vietnamese restaurant in Hannover. 
Then we drove out to our Airbnb country "mansion" cabin in Wedemark, Germany area. 

There were enough beds to sleep 10 in 3 rooms. There was a toy room in the attic, but the ladder situation was a little nerve wracking with little Brooklyn.
We put Brooklyn down to bed and gave Caleb a bath before bed.
After baths, Emily holding Caleb
The German Fairy tale route follows the Brothers Grimm through the country where they collected legends and saga which they published in their famous fairy-tale book, The Brothers Grimm’s Children’s and Household Tales. The German Fairy Tale Route stretches 375 miles winding through a landscape of picturesque villages, fortified castles, and sinister forests as it follows the footsteps of the Brothers Grimm.
The Lee family visited Hanau and Kassel, the capital along the German Fairy tale route where the Brothers Grimm lived.
The neighboring town of Hofgeismar is the birthplace of the fairy-tale Sleeping Beauty. 

Saturday July 16
Today's agenda was to go see Hamelin (1hr south), have lunch and then head down to Sleeping Beauty Castle (1.5hr further south). You can take a tour to Sababurg, or Sleeping Beauty Castle, and the ruin of Schöneberg Castle with the legends of giants, or listen to fairy-tale readings in the vaulted town hall cellar. We knew the castle was far south and we might have to call it quits before getting there with our little ones trying to nap in the Liang car, but hoped to get the Lee's to that destination.
Zachary holding Caleb 
Xiao Lee holding Caleb 
First stop, Hamelin (Hameln, Deutschland). We parked in a parking garage beneath a shopping mall. 
Hamelin is known for the tale of the Pied Piper of Hamelin, made popular by the Brothers Grimm. In the 13th century of medieval time, a piper dressed in multicolered ("pied") clothing who was also claimed to be a rat-catcher was hired by the town of Hamelin to lure the rats away with his magic pipe to drown in the Weser River. When the city refused to pay him for his service, he used the instrument's magical power on about 130 children and lured them away to a cave, never to be seen again. In one version of the story only 3 children remained, a lame one, a deaf one, and a blind one who told the adults the story. One version he led the kids away to a beautiful land (Transylvania). One version the kids drown in the river like the rats. Another he returned the children to their parents for a payment. My silver-lining favorite version of the story says that the Pied Piper saved Hamelin by driving the rats away who carried the plague. 
Besides Hameln being the site of this legendary story, the old part of the city is quite genuine and charming with its lovingly restored half-timbered and stone houses in Weser Renaissance style. 
Jackie got Caleb loaded into the Moby wrap in a position where he could nurse. 
Jackie nursing Caleb in front of Market Church St. Nicolai (Marktkirche St. Nicolai) & Hochzeitshaus in Hamelin. No first time mom modesty. 
The Hochzeitshaus, Marktkirche St. Nicolai (Market Church St. Nicolai) Glockenspiel which plays the story of the Pied Piper of Hamelin.  

Dempterhaus of 1607, Hamelin 
You can follow the Rat Trail with thousands of rats marking your way through the towns' walkways and alleys, leading you to all historical and architectural highlights.

Leisthaus from 1589, Hamelin
Statue of Rattenfaenger von Hameln (Pied Piper of Hamelin) 

Pied Piper House (1602)
We walked an outdoor market and then ate lunch in the Pied Piper House.
Caleb napping on Daddy at lunch at Rattenfängerhaus in the Pied Piper House 
Caleb's first international outing to join Joe's family on the German Fairy tale route #calebdai #germanfairytaleroute #hameln #piedpiper #ratkiller 
After lunch, we let the GPS guide us to the Sleeping Beauty Castle address. There were several road detour signs that we missed along the way. Much of the road south along the Weser River seemed to be closed for construction. After nearly a hour of driving somewhere south of Polle, we became stuck in a long line of cars waiting to take the ferry across the river. Caleb was screaming at this point. Brooklyn had hardly napped. We called it quits, still at least 1 hour away from Dornroschenschloss Sababurg (Sleeping Beauty Castle)
We stopped in Polle, the region where Cinderella lived. Fortunately for us, we were there in the afternoon and the stony castle ruins set high atop the hill were open. 
Daddy & Brooklyn walking up to Burg Polle, Cinderella and Prince of Polle's castle 
The view from Polle Castle 

Joe sitting atop Polle Castle
Polle Castle from the 13th century, Cinderella's Castle

Avery and Zachary playing with Brooklyn at Polle Castle 
The small town of Polle is also believed to be the area where the Grimms' fairy-tale Puss in Boots is originated.
Next we pulled off in Bodenwerder, because we saw a sign for the Fairy Tale Route on the side of the road.
Bodenwerder is the birthplace and residence of Baron von Münchhausen. German writer Rudolf Erich Raspe based his 1785 book loosely based on the real life baron who would tell outrageous tall tales from his military career in the Russo-Turkish War. The fictional stories include him riding a cannonball, fighting a 40 foot crocodile and travelling to the moon. 
Münchhausen statues and fountains in Bodenwerder depicting some of his epic tales 

We walked the main street of Bodenwerder. 
We sat down for some ice cream in Bodenwerder 
Mama and baby boy selfie for a milk snack for all in Bodenwerder (breastmilk for Caleb and ice cream for everyone else) 

Next in Bodenwerder we walked down by the Weser River.
Daddy with Caleb along the Weser River in Bodenwerder 
Zachary pushing Emily and Brooklyn together in the stroller in Bodenwerder 
More statues in Bodenwerder depicting Münchhausen epic tales
When we got back up to Große Str., we couldn't keep the kids from jumping into the Münchhausen statue fountain in Bodenwerder 

Playing in the water fountain with cousin Emily #dutchbrooklyn #germanfairytaleroute #bodenwerder 
Video of the excitement of Brooklyn and her cousins playing in the water at the Münchhausen sculptures in Bodenwerder, Germany on the German Fairy Tale Route 
It may be a fake ice cream cone, but that won't stop Brooklyn from trying to have a lick!

We had dinner back at our Airbnb home. 
Cousin Avery holding Caleb 
Cousin Emily holding Caleb 

Sunday July 17
Today's destination was Bremen, Germany. We would continue home from Bremen to Eindhoven after lunch while the Lee family would visit Hannover.
How the Liang family car rolls on vacation. 
Bremen is a port city in the north-west of Germany, also on the Weser River, on the northern portion of the German Fairy Tale Route. It is home to the world-famous Town Musicians, the 4 animals from another fairy-tale of the Brothers Grimm. The Bremen Town Musicians is about a talking donkey, dog, cat and chicken.
Bremen Town Hall (covered in scaffolding) 

Bremen Chamber of Commerce on Bermer Marktplatz 

Zachary in front of Bremen Chamber of Commerce on Bermer Marktplatz 
Bremer Marktplatz
Zachary, Avery, Emily & Brooklyn in Bremer Marktplatz
Next we walked down Böttcherstrasse in Bremen. It is a historic street, famous for its unusual architecture in an expressionist style, many with beautiful brickwork from the 1920s & early 30s.
Böttcherstrasse in Bremen

Town Musicians monumment in Böttcherstrasse alley in Bremen 
We walked along the Weser River for a bit.
Stadtwaage, beautiful building in Bremen which used to house the municipal weighing scales

The bronze sculpture of the Bremen Town Musicians, the rooster, on the cat, on the dog, on the donkey. 
The kids in front of the bronze landmark sculpture on the side of Bremen Town Hall 
There was a large bronze group of pig sculpture with shepherd and shepherd dog called, Hirt mit Schweinen at the end of Sögestraße. In the Middle Ages, the pigs were driven by the "Saustraße", today's Sögestraße.
The kids climbing on Hirt mit Schweinen 

Daddy and Brooklyn on Hirt mit Schweinen 

Windmills are not just in the Netherlands. Am Wall Windmill (Herdentorswallmühle or Mühle am Wall) from 1898 is set in a city park along where the wall fortifications once stood and a previous windmill stood. 
We ate lunch at Miku, a Chinese restaurant near the Bremen train station.
Avery holding Caleb at lunch in Bremen

After lunch we began our drive home to Eindhoven. We stopped on the drive at McDonalds to feed Caleb.
On the drive home after Brooklyn woke up from her nap, she requested to sing "Row, row, row your boat". Both Mommy and Daddy. We had a medley going for a long time but all Brooklyn would contribute was "row row row", the only words she ever sings. 
The Lee's explored Hannover after lunch before they departed for Amsterdam. Xiao Lee was flying back to Pittsburgh to go back to work. Mon Ping and the 3 kids will be staying longer with us for a few more weeks in the Netherlands. 

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