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BAVARIA


Left: Each of the rooms in the tower at Castle Sababurg main- tains the round shape of the tower and has a different color scheme based on the tartan of the castle. Center: The castle was the former home of Margherita von Waldeck, who is thought to have in- spired the Snow White fairytale. Top Right: Castle Trendleburg is now recognized as Rapunzel Castle along the route. Bottom Right: The cellar of Castle Trendleburg is where large parties can feast or have meetings.


“So that at breakfast, everyone can


say, ‘My room is the best,’” Knight Di- etrich said with a laugh. A look around the charming courtyard will lead guests to the sauna and steam room, and those who glance upwards might just catch a glimpse of long blond tresses unfurled from the tower window. Another popular stop, about an hour


south of Kassel, is Bad Wildungen. T e town has long been known worldwide for its healing mineral springs, and now for the Grimms’ rendition of Snow White, thought to be inspired by the town’s princess Margherita von Waldeck. She was taken to Brussels, where she fell in love with a prince whose family did not approve of her, and poisoned her so they could not marry. Gerhard Kessler, a tour guide from Bad


Wildungen, said that people have visited the town for its healing waters since the 14th century. T e typical medieval vil-


lage, he says, is a very close-knit commu- nity with a lot of pride for their culture, which now includes a fairy tale identity. A short drive from Bad Wildungen,


behind the misty mountains, deep in the forest, is the small mining town of Berg- freiheit. With a population of 300, the town, whose name means “freedom of the mountain,” was built as the Duke of Waldeck promised mine workers no taxes and other freedoms if they would come live and work in the community. Many of the workers were just boys. T ey spent so much time underground they became hunched and haggard, appearing to be old men by the age of 20. T us, the legend of Snow White’s dwarves was born. “What is really nice here is that the


village itself became alive through Snow White,” Kessler said. When the Grimm’s Fairy Tale Road became a part of the town’s identity, performances of the story brought the people together


every summer. “We are unifi ed,” said Stephanie Wil-


ke, a college student who sometimes per- forms the part of Snow White. “Most of us are living this topic. We are not just a village with a mine anymore. We’ve got a lot of parallels to the fairy tales and the historical background.” Visitors to Schneewittchen land can


see Snow White’s house in the town and a statue of the dwarves on their way to work and can even take a journey through the mines themselves, where veins of cop- per and ironstone shine through the rock like diamonds. No matter which stops you make


along the way, the Fairy Tale Road of- fers enchanting options for any traveler. From the big cities and castles to the small towns with their half-timbered houses, each place has its own story, and presents a magical setting for visitors to create their own stories as well.


ALPINE LIVING 2011 | 49


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