We went to Kassel by way of Gottingen! Our train got in at 8am, so we had an hour and a half to kill before the first group of Fulbrighters arrived from Marburg (it's an hour north of Marburg if you want to find it on a map).
When the group arrived, we started a video tour. I wasn't sure what to expect with this, but it turned out to be a walking tour plus video. We each had our own iPod touches with a video tour playing on them. It was interactive and had us walk around the train station and learn about different things. This station was actually used to transport Jews to camps in World War II, so that was a large part of it. They have the original track at the station as a "track of remembrance". Another interesting element of the video was the sound. Everyone had headphones, and the program was recorded in such a way that we had a hard time distinguishing what we could hear in our reality and what was going on in the video. We would turn the iPod to a door when it said to and on the audio we could hear a dog barking, and it actually sounded like it was right behind us. They explained later that it was recorded in a special way that is designed to trick your senses like that. Sounds come from all around you, but you can't hear it like that if played over a speaker, only on headphones. It was really interesting.
The video was fairly artsy, and at the end there was an interpretive dance. Carson took this picture to show how confused we were.
Following our adventure in the train station, we took a bus, a tram and another bus to the top of the hill where the Hercules monument is. I think that the original plan was to climb up to it, but since they have the buses up there on days where the Wasserspiele is running, we thankfully got to save ourselves a few hours. It was threatening rain and so it was quite foggy, but the view was still really great.
We climbed to the very top of the monument and got an even better view! Lots of winding staircases up there though!
Here's the first group! The others started their video tour when ours ended, and stopped to get lunch before going to the Hercules. It was a little windy at the top!
Rebecca (the fearless leader of the Fulbright group in Marburg), me, Carson, Jordyn, Lloyd, David
Jaime, Jenna, Lindsey, Sami
There was a cafe up there, so we all ordered lunch there. We initially sat down inside, but realized that the prices were much more, so we went and sat outside and ordered at a window instead. I thought I was getting the brat on the left, but I got the two incredibly long hot dog things instead.
We'd eyed the dessert case inside, so we went inside and had our first Kuchen (it was actually torte, but you wouldn't have known that if I hadn't said, right?)! I chose the Hercules Torte. It had marzipan, chocolate cake, and some other layers I couldn't identify. Very unusual, but good!
Part of the Fulbright group, geared up for rain! The rain made things a little chilly too, so that's why some people look bundled up!
Can you see the water starting to spill down the steps? All propelled by gravity!
Julianne and I got separated from everyone else, but ran to catch up on the way to the next water feature.
We had to walk and then wait in the misty rain for awhile before the next water feature began. It turns out that gravity sort of runs on its own time! I thought this one looked rather like a rainforest, although of course the weather made it seem all the more that way.
The third station didn't take quite as long to begin, under this bridge.
Waiting for water to fall!
The aquaduct was very large and pretty!
At the bottom was the Wilhelmshohe Palace. It's a museum now and if Carson had known at the time that it was a museum for his area of study, we would have certainly paid a visit.
At the very end, someone tightened a gasket somewhere and built the pressure up to create this big water fountain in the lake by the palace. Directly to the right, if I'd had my camera in panorama mode, you'd be able to see the aquaduct. If you were able to see through the fountain, you'd see the top of the Hercules.
Some stayed to tour the museum, and others got off the tram at the secondary train station, but several of us rode back to the Hauptebahnhof to see the Track of Remembrance there. On the way, we saw this rainbow.
If you look closely, it's actually a double rainbow!
Here's the outside of the station. It looks like it was rebuilt in an era that wasn't going for a timeless feel, and the statues on top (zoom in and look at the ones near the Burger King sign) were strange.
We made the train to Marburg about ten minutes after we got there, so we took pictures of the signs at the track of remembrance and read them aloud on the train. Some of us had a braiding party as well, since the rain didn't make us look so great.
For dinner, we walked to a Thai restaurant that's not far. I had Pad Thai, and they gave me a soup-bowl size of extra peanut sauce.
Carson and I walked to the wifi to upload pictures that evening, and the cat (who is named "Kitler" which is horrible) who lives at the student center, came up and said hello and took a snooze.
We were exhausted the next day. Several people didn't make it to class on Monday morning, and one or two others in my class actually fell asleep. All that walking and rain! We had so much fun though. This was a great trip!