Time traveling with Red Riding Hood on the German Fairy Tale Road

Some moments in life call for the unique archetypal power and magic of fairy tales to console us, to cloak us in their warm embrace of sparkling pixie dust and story-foam, and to replace our salty tears with sweet and tender smiles of ease and well-being.

As coincidence or fate would have it, I have just the right kind of fairy tale up my Gypsy-sleeve. Wanna lean back, pour yourself your favorite type of tea, and be whisked away to a world of almost-pure imagination? Your storytime-wish is my command – los geht´s (let´s go)!

A tale of two brothers

Once upon a time, there were two brothers. One was called Jacob Ludwig Karl. The other was called Wilhelm Carl. They were pretty smart cookies and excelled in academia, cultural research, and literature. The brothers had a shared passion: they just LOVED to travel deep into the past and mine for the golden nuggets of forgotten truths. While on their their intrepid adventures, they met some astonishing storytelling-heroines like Dorothea Viehmann and poetess extraordinaire Annette von Droste-Hülshoff.

These heroines shared age-old wisdom in story-form with the German brothers from Hanau, and the brothers Grimm (yes, that was their full name) passionate storytelling-fire led them to set the stories in stone aka on paper and gift us with the Grimm´s fairytales, originally known as Children´s and household tales, first published in December 1812 and containing 210 unique fairytales. Oh, curious side-info: The Grimm´s were also fab enough to found the immensely valuable fairytale science (“Märchenkunde als Wissenschaft” in German).

Venturing into charming Red-Riding-Hood-country

Germany´s magnificent forests and charming towns and villages build a lot of the backdrops of Grimm´s fairytales – and, like magic wands/ wants it… drumroll, German yodel song, drumroll: the brothers did invite us back to where they used to live and where they frequently felt the gentle caress of their muse. This place is, up until today, known as “Red-Riding-Hood-country“, located all around Kassel and Marburg in Hessen, right in the heart of Germany. Pretty cool to go on an outing with such outstanding personalities of German and European Cultural history, right?

Bist du bereit?” Rotkäppchen wartet schon auf uns!” (“Are you ready? Little-Red-Riding-Hood is already waiting for us!“), Carl Grimm enunciates excitedly in his Hessian accent while greeting us at one of the entry-points of the famous “Knüllwald“, the Knüll-forest in the densely wooded region of the Knüllgebirge (Knüll hills).

The magical forests of Knüll

Klar, los gehts!” (of course, let´s go!), I reply, dragging you along:P. All around us – majestically towering larch trees, rich green leaves rustling in the light breeze, and picturesque quiet valleys that seem untouched from any notion of acceleration, just at ease being left to their own being.

After a short hike in the rural area of Knüll (darn, Wilhelm Grimm forgot to tell us to bring proper hiking shoes! These lofty scholars again with their heads in the clouds), we reach the Wildpark Knüll wildlife park.

There! Little Red Riding Hood! Can you see her?”, asks Carl Grimm with a pleased look upon his face. “Nah, all I see are horses!“, I reply enthusiastically.

Or do I glimpse a little girl in a cute red cape vanishing into the woods in the distance? No time to figure this one out – Wilhelm Grimm is impatiently tugging me by my sleeve. “There he is, the rascal! Up to no good, as usual!”

What the wolf doesn´t tell

A gorgeous wolf appears in front of us, his silvery-grey fur almost sparkling a little in the gentle sunshine. For a moment, I wonder – did the brothers Grimm not mix something up here, and mistake this gorgeous, wild, and honorable creature for an off-track human? Why would a wolf be after a little girl in a red cape? Do wolfs not usually go for prey like deer, elk, bison, and moose, or beavers?

Mmm, something to ponder indeed. I decide to keep my admiration for the wolf to myself, though. By the way, check out the fantastic book “Wild Harmonies: A Life of Music and Wolves” by acclaimed French pianist Helene Grimaud – she literally lives with and around wolves, when not playing on the stages of this world, and has astonishing things to say about the true nature of these intriguing animals.

Checking out Sleeping Beauty´s enchanted abode

Oh, ich hab langsam Hunger!” (Oh, I am slowly getting hungry!) Let´s head over to Sleeping beauty´s place – she is probably out like a light, but her place ist really erste Sahne (first class, literally: first cream)“, comments Wilhelm Grimm.

Half an hour later, and we find ourselves at Sleeping Beauty´s cozy abode in Homberg/Efze, a sleepy (obviously) and charming little town not far from the enchanted forests we had just visited. Unfortunately, Sleeping Beauty must have fallen asleep somewhere else as she is nowhere to be seen. And I so wanted to quiz her on how to sleep like REALLY well! Ah, next time. The brothers Grimm show us around and also share a little gossip on the town of Homberg, which is just one of many, many stops along the 600 km long German fairy tale route that reaches from Bremen in Northern Germany to Hanau in Central Germany, not far from where we find ourselves now.

A lot more happens that magical day in Central Germany, and if there is one thing I would love for you to take away from this, it´s that miracles and magic are real and do happen… never lose faith, be prepared for good things to come to you, and keep your heart and mind wide open!

Back to you, dear reader: What is your favorite ever fairy tale? And: Do you believe in magic, and that there is more to life than what we can see? Or are you a die-hard realist? As always, I would love to hear from you:)

On a different note: I am considering offering a limited amount of fun German and Spanish language and culture classes again! In case you want to find out more, just get in touch via mariaelena@agypsyatheart.com Bis bald:)

Categories: Glauben und Hoffen, Posts in English, Reiselust- Hungry for travel, Reisen | Tags: , , , , , | 43 Comments

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43 thoughts on “Time traveling with Red Riding Hood on the German Fairy Tale Road

  1. Thanks for the fun tour Maria. It was fun to learn some of the backstories for these fairy tales and see your smiling face as the charming tour guide. I’m with you on liking the misunderstood wolf. They are majestic creatures and bigger in person than you’d expect! I hold a little space for magic in my mind and heart, but live mostly as a realist. I wish I could live with more magic like some people I know. Hugs and happy dreams…🧚

    Liked by 1 person

    • Brad, thanks so much for your loyalty and for coming with once again on another Gypsy ride 🙂 So good to hear you enjoyed this little fairy tale excursion. YAY for being a fellow wolf-friend! I sometimes think humans just project their own issues onto animals as scape-goats or so… Animals are truly amazing, non-judgemental beings. Love hearing that you are holding a little space for magic within! I am absolutely positive you´ll be able to expand that space! Logic and magic/ intuition can go quite well together, too its just about embarking on that journey, and allowing for the possibilities. Step by step 🙂 Sending magic and hugs your way 🙂 🧚🧚🧚

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh this is just so creative, fun and as always with you abit educational too! The wolf looks so elegant and beautiful, amazing that you chanced upon him in the woods while giving us your fairytale tour. Interesting how fluent you are in German too… you’re certainly a very talented individual 🥰 I can’t figure out which is my favourite fairytale… the Maleficient take on Sleeping Beauty recently has been quite entertaining to watch but beyond that I have to think abit further on what stories captivated me as a child! Have a lovely week dear

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hola dear, so lovely to hear from you as always! So excited that you enjoyed this 🥰 Thanks so much for your beautiful comment. Funny thing, I´d say that German is kinda my first language! Its just that I have been speaking/reading/ living with English as my primary language for the last decade. Is English your mother tongue, or is it Malay maybe? Thanks for sharing your fairytale preference, too:) Have a fab week, lovely! xoxo

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      • How interesting that German is your first language? Why is that so? Are you both Spanish and German? The two languages are so different and it’s amazing that you are fluent in both plus English. Impressive. Yes, I would say I’m bilingual with both English and Malay. I’ve been struggling with French intermittently but sadly I’ve not been able to get any further than the A2 level. One of my main fantasies though is to stay in a French speaking city (probably Geneva) for a three month intensive course, refuse to engage in English and sit for certification exams (so I will put pressure on myself) to get to the B2/B1 level which is required for work (or to meaningfully say I can speak some decent French). I’ve always envied people like you, who can move between one language family to another so easily!

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      • Yes dear, am a funny mix of German and Spanish! Thank you so much for your sweet words 🙂 That´s awesome that you are bilingual with English and Malay! Love your goal and dream of staying in a French speaking city and doing that course!! YES! Fingers crossed for that dream to come true asap. I once did an Italian course in Rome and it was SO much fun!! More than ten years ago now and I am still cherishing every minute of it. Have a fantastic weekend gorgeous! 🤗

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      • That’s such a lovely mix :)! One of my best friend is German and I’ve always enjoyed my trips there too. In fact, funnily enough she was the friend that explored Spain with me 20 years ago! I love Berlin, Hamburg, Dusseldorf… so interesting to know that you are a combination of two very different but intriguing cultures! Loving your Rome experience, please post about that one day…

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      • Terima kasih, my lovely:) Wonderful that you got to explore Spain and Germany a bit. I was born in Hamburg! I have written two previous blog posts about my birth town so far, you can find them both here https://agypsyatheart.com/reisekunst/germany/ in case you are interested 🙂 I will put bella Roma on my posts-to-write list, thanks for your wonderful support. Big hugs!

        Liked by 1 person

      • I will most definitely read your post on Germany and what a gorgeous city to be born in. Hamburg seemed so regal and grand, I was very charmed by it! My friend said its an almost aristocratic part of Germany 🥰 and looking forward for your bella Roma writing eventually 💕

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      • Aw thank you lovely, Hope you´ll enjoy the read:) Love hearing about your Hamburg impressions here! Hamburg definitely has a very distinct feel to it, regal is a great word for a part of the HH (Hamburg) identity, in my perception. Have a fab weekend gorgeous! 💕💕💕

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      • Ive just read your delightful Hamburg posts… tried to comment but am not sure if it went through in any case it was really informative and pictures were beautiful… certainly taught me more about the city than what I remembered in my visit many many years go ☺️ Have a lovely week ahead beautiful!

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      • So awesome to hear that you enjoyed the Hamburg posts! Thanks for commenting also – super weird with WP at times, I tried to find your comments in normal comment section and Spam section to no avail. Thank you for your wonderful support and encouragement, lovely! Wishing you a fantastic week with plenty of fab food also:) 💖


  3. Ahh Maria, what an enchanting piece of writing you’ve woven here. As you whisked me away to a land of goblins and wolves, of fairies and magic. Your know I absolutely believe in Magic and I often thought the wolf in LRRH was misunderstood, don’t ask me why! As I child I gobbled up fairy tales and as a mother to my two children I loved creating my own stories and mixing them up with the classics. Thank you cara for this visual uplifting escape into a land of wonder and awe. You’re an intrepid traveller, a spell binding story teller and a wonderful friend. Big hugs and lots of pixie dust love to you. xxxx ✨💜🌟🧚‍♀️🦄


    • Miriam my dear amica, aww grazie tanto for your uplifting and warm-hearted lines here! It´s such a treat to hear from you every single time my gorgeous lioness friend. Love that you´ve always believed in magic and that we share a soft spot for the wolf in LRRH, lol 🙂 How awesome that you created your own twist on the classics!! Your kids were super lucky to have you as a storyteller-extraordinaire-lioness-mum. Thank you, querida, for your words of kindness and friendship! Big big hugs my dear, and yes (love that word) lots of pixie dust love and fairy sparkles right back to you cara. A molto presto 💜💜✨✨🧚‍♀️🦄


  4. What a lovely adventure! I adore fairy tales and of course I believe in the magic alive in the forests and all around us. Sleeping beauty is a favorite of mine I must admit. I have always loved folk and fairy tales. They were some of my favorites as a girl and I love them still. Also, I ahve never seen larches. They remind me a lot of the pine trees where I walk. Thank you for the charming visit to the ultimate fairy tale forest! Take care dear Maria Elena 🤗✨🦄🧚‍♀️💝

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello Suzanne, thanks so much for stopping by and leaving such a wonderful comment! It gladens my heart to know that you enjoyed coming along for the fairy tale adventure:) Fantastic! I am with you on loving folk and fairy tale stories – they provide us with so much inspiration and cozy and warm feelings, don´t they? 🙂 Wishing you some magical walks amongst your beautiful pine trees in Eastern Texas my dear. Sending many hugs and blessings 🙂 😇🤗✨💕🧚‍♀️

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      • Always such a pleasure! They absolutely do! 🧚‍♀️ Thank you so very much. 😊Having quite the storm here today but the rain is so needed that it’s a very good thing. Huge hugs and blessings back to you 🤗💞😇✨🧚‍♀️

        Liked by 1 person

      • Suzanne, you are such a sweet soul! Thanks again for your beautiful words and sentiments. Wishing you a wonderful and inspired weekend over there across the ocean! Hugs hug hugs dear, also to your pack 🐕💞😇🧚‍♀️

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      • Hugs!!! 🤗🦄💞🐕🐾🐾

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  5. You have created a piece of magic here, Maria, just as with these fairy tales you describe 🙂 Awesome, and as always to see yourself and personality shine in your posts, and plus the backstory hear about the Brothers Grimm. You make a perfect modern day Red Riding Hood ~ especially because I think you’d be able to befriend the wolf in the tale. Great writing to bring us back to these stories many of us grew up with, it brings a bit of happiness and a smile to the day. Cheers and take care.

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    • Dalo, aw thanks so much for your absolutely wonderful feedback 🙂 Smiling here. You know what, I reckon I would be able to make friends with the wolf, lol. I think animals would love to live in peaceful co-existence with humans… Thanks again for your uplifting and generous comment here, amigo!! I just saw that you have a new post up, will be by soon to check it out. Love your work!! Take care 🙂

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  6. That was a great trip through fairytale land, dear Gypsy!
    This is a very creative post, indeed!
    (I adore the wolf, too! I think they meant bad men!!!!)
    My favourite fairytale is Rapunzel. I based an Art Gown on it, and wrote my own fairytale! It’s called “Empress D’Amore”. https://artgowns.com/2014/03/09/empress-damore/
    Sending love and hugs and more love and hugs!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hola dear Resa artista, merci beaucoup for your awesome feedback:) Yay, I think we may be able to found a fanclub for the wolf here, I love it, hehe. I arrived at the same conclusion like you re the wolf! Rapunzel is an adorable tale. I mean, who doesn´t want hair like that?! Hehe. Excited to check out your fairytale Art Gown, thanks so much for sharing!! So much love, and a million artsy hugs 🙂 xoxoxoxoxoxo

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  7. Most attracting post with your existence like a fairy looks.hey yaar !! Here is no any fairy tale but only description about of it.i want to hear any story of fairy.your German woods is most attractive and give the feeling of imagination about the existence of fairy.’s world.that red dressed girl-what have happen with her.photo of wolf is most wonderful.the sleeping beauty,Repunzel ,Cinderella,about of them i have heard.were they belonged from your red woods?plz ,meri jaan !! Tell me a interesting fairy tale.will you tell me?you know-may be i am elder but a little child lives in my heart.well.i think that you understand this.much love and big hugs.bahut dhanyawaad for taking me in imaginative fairy world,Querida amiga.🤗🤗🤗😇😇😇😇💕💕💕💖💖💖💖💖💝

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Wow Maria you always amaze me with your beautiful writings. Thank you for your fantastic share. Awesome

    Liked by 2 people

  9. That is a lovely share, I also love to visit wild places. By the way, well writings💙.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Wow! So much! Well Done!
    Hansel and Gretal is my favorite tale.

    Liked by 1 person

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