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.
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.
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.
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.
There was lots of moss and lichen throughout the park. I’ll share some pics of that in a later post.
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.
You can see that palace building I mentioned earlier in the next image.
The water feature, which I will just call a fountain from here on because it’s easier, really is quite big.
I tried to capture images that would show the scale.
Behind Annelies, toward the upper left of the image above, is where the tiered cascades start.
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.
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.
Notice that the statue in the image above is a trumpeter? Remember that, okay?
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.
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.
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.
But we toughed it out.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.