The Brothers Grimm... in real life
Step-sisters chopping off their toes to fit in a glass slipper and then having their eyes pecked out, chickens choking to death on nuts, frog tumours and infanticide.
The Brothers Grimm were the original fairy-talers, before Disney cleaned them up for the PG rating.
Germany’s 600km Fairy Tale Route takes you through Jakob and Wilhelm Grimm’s fave spots. Between Bavaria and Prussia, you’ll see dark forests, medieval houses, gothic castles and even the odd frog puckering up for a pash.
You can walk, bike, drive or pony and trap your way round this route, doing the whole thang or popping in and out like a forgetful fairy godmother.
Here’s how to follow the Brothers Grimm… in real life.
Hanau is where the magic began, i.e. where Mama Grimm and Papa Grimm shagged to make the greatest storytelling duo ever (sorry, Barry and Paul).
Bow down at the altar of the national memorial to the Brothers Grimm to gain their blessing on your fairytale pilgrimage.
Bremen will fulfill all your Gothic architecture needs...
Marburg was where both brothers went to uni, presumably getting tanked up on stein and schnitzel.
Do the same at Ratsschänke am Marktplatz, and then follow the breadcrumb trail of Grimm statues: a frog prince, seven dwarves on the steps of the castle and a giant slipper.
Finally, Kassel. Jakob and Wilhelm lived here in the gatehouse on Brüder Grimm-Platz (presumably named after they moved in…)
There’s The Brothers Grimm Museum, which has their original, annotated copy, insured for a tidy €50 million.
You can also scope out fairytale Löwenburg Castle and epic waterfalls at Bergpark Wilhelmshöhe that date back to the 1700s.
Then it’s time to step off the trail and into the dark forest of Reinhardswald. Grandmother’s waiting, after all...