Thursday, September 29, 2016

Germany trip 2016, part 2: Kassel

Today we visited the city of Kassel, specifically the Bergpark Wilhelmshöhe, a large park to the west of the city. It features magnificent trees, the palace Schloss Wilhelmshöhe, a statue called Herkules (?), and a series of ornamental lakes, creeks and waterfalls between the latter two.

The Schloss, built for the rulers of Hessen-Kassel and today a museum.

View from the hill below the Herkules statue back down across the Schloss and over the city of Kassel. Unfortunately Kassel is one of those cities that were industrially relevant and large enough to be bombed out during WW2, leaving very few of its original buildings standing.

One of the main attractions of the park are the Wasserspiele, or "water features" as a sign translated them, which take place three times per week. When we arrived at the place where they were to start we were surprised at the masses of people who had come, given that it was the middle of the week and not holiday time. I don't want to see what it is like on a Sunday.

The Wasserspiele finish with a huge fountain on the lowest lake. When the wind turned people ran away shrieking as they suddenly found themselves in the drizzle.

Of course we cannot have a post without something botanical. Admittedly this is one of the ugliest thistles I know, but then again Cirsium oleraceum (Asteraceae) at least has an unusual flower colour. At any rate I do not care so much about aesthetics right now; I am more in a "hey, I haven't seen that species in so many years" mind-space, given how rarely I come back to Europe.

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