In a little while

Trip Start Dec 15, 2009
Trip End Aug 27, 2010

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Flag of Germany  ,
Thursday, August 12, 2010

The morning after the U2 concert, with Derek and Sarah feeling a little delicate we set off from Frankfurt to make our way to Kassel along the "Brothers Grimm" fairy tale route. Unfortunately, we discovered that the road network in and around Frankfurt is very complex and difficult to navigate, especially when you don't speak German and you don’t know which little German town name to follow! Needless to say we got a little lost and spent a lot of time trying to get back on track and were therefore rather late getting to our first intended stop – a small town called Steinau an der Strasse.

Having listened to some of the Grimm Brother’s “fairy tales”, it is clear where the expression “that’s a bit grim” comes from….even the kids picked up on the fact that most of the “fairy tales” involve multiple deaths! Steinau is the town in which the Grimm Brothers spent much of their childhood and we took the time to explore the town and the house in which they lived. Due to our delayed departure from Frankfurt we were soon on our way again hoping to get to Kassel, another Grimm town, in time to find our hotel before dark. Along the way we stopped off in Alsfeld (another pretty Grimm town) where Granny & Lauren did some more shopping and Granny bought us "the best icecream I've ever had" according to Derek.

The tourist information office in Kassel had booked our hotel for us and so we had no idea what lay in store. It was easy enough to find and was a very traditional bar/restaurant with about half a dozen rooms above it. Unfortunately their menu was mostly traditional German food and largely meat/sausage based and so we made our way into town and found a very pleasant restaurant rather appropriately called “Alex” where Granny treated us to dinner. Breakfast was served in the restaurant of the hotel and was just what one might expect in Germany with a fine array of cold meats and cheeses, eggs, yoghurt, etc; they even had prepared a jug of hot chocolate for the kids :-)

We left Kassel after visiting the Rathaus (every town has a Rathaus which appears to be the town hall and is usually one of the most beautiful buildings in town) and a few more shops, hoping to make it to Hameln in time for lunch. There is no major road from Kassel to Hameln and the secondary road marked on our map seemed to consist of diversion after diversion (maybe Northern Germany is a little like Canada and only has two seasons; “winter” and “road works”?) and so by the time we reached Hameln an hour later than planned we’d already eaten our lunch in the car! Hameln is storybook home of the (Grimm’s) Pied Piper and we spent a very pleasant hour strolling through the streets, visiting the sights, telling the children the Pied Pipers tale and for Granny to indulge in a little more retail therapy.

By this stage of the journey, time was not on our side and we still had to find an internet café in time for Derek to make his meeting and also get Granny to Hamburg in time for her flight to London. The time crunch resulted in axing a planned detour to the town that Sarah had stayed in as a young and impressionable teenager. Along the way, and unsurprisingly given the time and distance, there were many "when will we be there" inquiries from the kids (and probably thoughts from Granny) met with obligatory "in a little while" replies. Unfortunately we weren’t driving a black Audi or BMW which seems to be the requirement to be able to drive at 200+km/h on the autobahn! With very little time to spare on both counts we managed to achieve our goals, despite encountering some traffic on the outskirts of Hamburg.

The kids were sad to see Granny leave, but happy that it will only be a couple of weeks before we see her again back in Londonderry. Despite Granny’s very recent loss of a dear friend she did remarkably well and hopefully she enjoyed her few days as a traveler as much as we enjoyed having her join us on this part of the trip.

Next stop: Denmark….what are the Danes famous for other than pastries, Vikings and dogs??
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