Friday, 16 May 2014

The Bentleys Abroad {part 8} Wilhelmshöhe

I left off recounting our time in Kassel saying that we decided to leave the city and go to a place called Wilhelmshöhe. The park was started in 1696, and took about 150 years to complete... not surprising since at 2.4 square kms, it's the biggest hillside park in Europe. 

The park, starting at the base of the hill, has many trails running through it, with many little sights along the way. As one nears the top, there are water features that run down (unfortunately when we were there the fountains weren't actually running since they run on certain days only), and which eventually lead one to the massive Hercules statue at the top. The schloss is now a art museum, holding a collection of wallpaper (?!?) and has a collection of work focussing on the 16th and 17th century. 

To get there is really simple; we hopped on a tram somewhere in the middle of town and it took us all the way out to the base of the mountain, where we went into the welcome centre and picked up a free map. 

And so began our walk up the mountain, involving fields of flowers, steep inclines, a wedding, a pleasure-palace, the Devil's bridge and Hell's pond. 

The Schloss up ahead.

Having made it to the palace. 
The palace (now art museum) from the other side.
(First wedding party spotted here!)
First little water-falls, second wedding party spotted!
Lowensburg up ahead. 

I find Lowensburg fascinating. It was built in 1793 to look like a romanticised medieval knights castle, but as 'artistic ruins'. (who builds ruins??) It was used by the Landgrave and his mistress as their residence or Lustschloss - this seems to translate to both pleasure palace and Summer palace. Interpret it as you will!
There is a tour if one wants to see inside, but we were cheap and having come this far with only spending money on icecream, we decided to skip it.

From there we carried on up and went via the Devil's bridge. I was expecting the actual bridge to look a little scarier, and was disappointed by how small it was... until I realised the drop... on one side it's a meter to the ground, on the other side of the bridge, it's a sheer drop.

The walk was getting steeper, and the mistiness was sure to turn into rain any minute. There were rolls of thunder every now and then, and looking up to the big Hercules in the distance was slightly ominous. This feeling wasn't relieved when we got to the pool at the foot of the Water features, where Triton is hanging out.

As we walked up the stairs, I had plenty of time to think.
Here we were, panting and aching as we walked up those seemingly never-ending stairs, to get to a bronze statue of a mythological hero. As we were dragging ourselves up, a couple came past jogging. (jogging?!?!?) I looked at them and admired them for their perseverance, how focused they were, and noticed how dreadfully slow I was at this whole thing. I mused that there was the option of having taken a bus to the top and that we could have walked the whole thing downhill.
How good the news is, that to reach God we don't have to try with all our strength to reach Him, but that Jesus came to us in our weakness. Furthermore, what a relief that our God is not made of bronze and slathered in bird-droppings, something that tarnishes and needs to be maintained, but that He is all powerful and living God who is the same always, and who loves us.

We finally made it to the top, and had a beautiful yet hazy view of Kassel.

At the top, we still couldn't actually reach Hercules (isn't that always the case with false gods?), but we were pretty happy to have made it to the top. That said, we were not in the mood to walk all the way back down again and instead we took the bus and then the tram back to the station. 


  1. This place looks really cool! I expecially like the tree pic of you two!

  2. That place looks amazing and yeah sometimes when I see people jogging about like that I give them a slightly mean look!

  3. Such a beautiful palace (more like castle!!) and grounds. Looks like you guys had a great time.

  4. It is! A UNESCO Heritage site for good reason :)

  5. Jogging up those stairs was just unthinkable, I don't know what was motivating them!

  6. Thanks! It definitely reminded me that we need to take more travel opportunities!!!

  7. I can easily understand why this place would be a hot-spot for wedding photos! Gorgeous!

  8. Absolutely! There are so many beautiful places - the architecture and nature is stunning... as long as one doesn't need to walk too much! :)