A Less-Than-Exciting Start

26 Sep
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Pretty Sunrise

Annelies and I work together when planning joint trips like the one we just completed. She selected our first overnight destination and I approved it. We both thought it would be cooler than it actually was.

We’d both agreed that the bergpark, which was recently designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, would be a nice, relaxing place to visit. I’d assumed “bergpark” meant something like “large city park.”

I should have read more closely AND translated that particular word from German to English. As it turns out, a bergpark is a MOUNTAIN park. Mountain parks aren’t relaxing. A stroll up and down the hills of a mountain park could — and did! — make for an exhausting first day.

When I opened my eyes on Sunday, I was greeted by the scene pictured at right. We’d slept with our hotel windows wide open since there was no A/C, which is the norm at hotels in older buildings throughout Europe. It sure looked like it might be a pretty day, despite the forecast for clouds and rain.

By the time we’d finished breakfast, however, the clouds had moved in. The rain started right around the time we reached the park. We had umbrellas, rain gear, and an “it’s all part of the adventure” outlook, so we pressed on.

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Annelies and I, happily optimistic as we waited for the bus.

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Map and Explanation

In the park, is a big-ass fountain — aka water feature — which dates back to the 17th century. If you’d like more details, click the image on the right.

It really is very big. Since we’d arrived early — about 40 minutes before the buses started running — we decided to start walking up the hill instead of waiting for the bus.

The hill was pretty steep. It wasn’t long before we wisely decided to descend back to the bus stop where we’d started and wait for a bus to take us to the top.

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You can barely see the Hercules statue atop the hill.

The first part of the water feature is situated at the base of the Hercules statue, which you can barely see through the clouds in the image shared above. You can see it a little better in the next shot.

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Annelies admiring the view.

There’s a palace building behind where Annelies is standing, which wasn’t all that impressive, in my opinion. But I did like the lion.

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Lion statue in need of power washing.

There was lots of moss and lichen throughout the park. I’ll share some pics of that in a later post.

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Guys reading about the fountain at the Visitors’ Center.

There was a Visitors’ Center in or near the base of the Hercules statue. I never did figure out why Hercules was the figure selected to adorn the top of the mountain, but then I didn’t try very hard.

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Hercules

You can see that palace building I mentioned earlier in the next image.

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View obscured by low-hanging clouds.

The water feature, which I will just call a fountain from here on because it’s easier, really is quite big.

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One of several tiers/levels of the cascade.

I tried to capture images that would show the scale.

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Looking down from top to where Annelies (wearing a white jacket) stood on the next level.

Behind Annelies, toward the upper left of the image above, is where the tiered cascades start.

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A close-up look at one of the tiers.

 

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The view cleared as I descended.

You know it’s a big hill when you get below the clouds as you descend!

I wasn’t impressed by the statues, which I found to be more like yard art (they are!) than museum-quality sculptures.

Fountain Statues

Fountain Statues

The water in the pools was sort of dirty, too. But then, it is recirculated through 300-year-old pipes twice every week, May through September.

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Nice Reflection

Notice that the statue in the image above is a trumpeter? Remember that, okay?

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One of MANY goofy group selfies.

 

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Yves, descending the stairs beside the cascade.

We reached the pool at the bottom of the cascade, which is supposedly the best viewing spot, at least an hour, maybe more, before the water was scheduled to be released. So we decided to have lunch and/or drinks while we waited.

It was really starting to cloud-up by that point, which is why the next image is so dark and grainy.

Grainy Group Selfie

Grainy Group Selfie

 

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Hubby and me, enjoying a German wheat (weizen) beer.

It may have rained a bit while we enjoyed our refreshments, but we were seated under an umbrella and didn’t care. Afterward, we headed back to the pool.

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Skies appeared to be clearing again.

We were all amazed to see how many people had shown up since we’d left the pool earlier. And there was still about 30 minutes left to wait!

Unfortunately, while we waited, rain started to pour. There may have even been some thunder. Our happy outlook was definitely starting to wane.

Looking a bit miserable, weren't they?

Looking a bit miserable, weren’t they?

But we toughed it out.

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The water was finally released!

Look how many people were lining the sides of the cascade. As the water started to flow, it sounded like there was an air-raid siren going off in the distance. Remember the trumpeter statue? There were at least two, and the flowing water caused their trumpets to sound!

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We waited in the rain until the water reached the pool.

From there, we hurried the half mile or so to the next feature, and waited through still more pouring rain for the water to flow over that waterfall.

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Steinhofer Waterfall without water.

 

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Steinhofer Waterfall with water.

 

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Devil’s Bridge

 

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Water flowing over the Aqueduct.

We were all wet and not so happy by that point. But, since we’d seen everything to that point, we couldn’t very well miss the finale at the lowest pool. So, on we trudged.

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View of lowest pool from just below the Aqueduct.

 

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Lowest pool before the water arrived.

We waited there at the bottom for what felt like a very long time. By that point, we were all tired, damp, thirsty, and ready to leave.

Once the water did reach the lowest pool, the sun had come back out, and the finale WAS fun to see.

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The Finale

You can appreciate the height of the gravity-and-water-powered fountain in the next shot, which was captured from the lawn of the palace.

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Tall Fountain

It was interesting. It’s certainly the biggest yard fountain I have ever seen.

That’s how we spent the majority of our first full day of the road trip.

It could be that the gray and rainy weather dictated the mood. Or it could be that we didn’t focus on the right attractions. Maybe it’s because we were all exhausted by the end of the day from all the walking we’d done. Whatever the case, it was unanimous… Kassel Germany was our least favorite destination.

I’ll share a few more pics tomorrow. But first, below is one of my favorite photos captured during our adventure at the park.

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I caught Annelies taking a picture of me.

 

8 Replies to “A Less-Than-Exciting Start

  1. That is quite a water feature. Sure the rain dampened (no pun intended) the mood but imagine the planning and work that went into creating that fountain. Quite a feat.

  2. That’s quite the fountain they have there. How did you manage all of the before and after pictures over that much distance. You must be a fast runner…

    • Richard, it’s a carefully orchestrated thing. I do walk fast, but it actually took about 20-30 minutes for the water to travel between features. I think it traveled via underground pipes.

  3. That was a fun post to read. I think the wait and wet was worth it, but I’m on the dry side reading about it. The engineering that makes it work is intriguing,

    • Thanks, Andrew. It was kinda worth it. We still had fun, and that’s the important thing. 🙂

      How the thing works is definitely intriguing. I couldn’t get a backyard pond to work, and it was all of about 12 feet long with maybe a two-foot rise. The one in Kassel is about 2.5 km in all! And it was done 300+ years ago.

  4. Interesting take on a fountain.

    Most fountain designer stick with the whole constant flow approach. Clearly someone had an ‘aha’ moment and figured out that one periodic mega blast of water would be really, really cool, even though once the show was over, the fountain would be rather dry until the next ‘performance’.

    Thanks so much for showing me that. You have spared me a possible damp visit 🙂

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