Napoleon III was dragged to Kassel (pop. 195,000) as a prisoner of Prussian troops, but today, folks visit this edgy city of their own free will. From Bahnhof Wilhelmshohe, take streetcar #1 to HWilhelmshohe, a hillside park in a time warp. Inside, Schiofi Wilhelmshohe is a dressed-down version of the Residenz in Wurzburg (509), but more authentically furnished. Uphill, Schlofi Lowenburg was built by Wilhelm in the 18th century with stones deliberately missing to look like a crumbling medieval castle he was obsessed with the year 1495 and fancied himself a time-displaced knight. (Both castles open Mar.-Oct. Su and Tu-Sa 10am-5pm; Nov.-Feb. Su and Tu-Sa 10am-4pm. Required tours every hr. 3.50, students 2.50.) All of the park’s paths lead up to Herkules, Kassel’s emblem; visitors can climb up onto Herkules’s pedestal and, if they’re brave enough, into his club. (Access to the base of the statue free. Pedestal and club open mid-Mar. to mid-Nov. daily 10am-5pm. 2, students 1.25.) The Briider-Grimm-Museum, Schone Aussicht 2, exhibits Jacob and Wilhelm’s handwritten copy of Kinder- und Hausmdrchen. (Open daily 10am-5pm. 1.50, students 1.)
Kassel has two train stations, Bahnhof Wilhelmshohe and the Hauptbahnhof; most trains stop only at Wilhelmshohe. Trains run to: Diisseldorf (3!4hr. 1 per hr. 37); Frankfurt (2hr. 3 per hr. 27); Hamburg (2V6hr. 3 per hr. 51); and Munich (4hr. 1 per hr. 88). The tourist office, in Bahnhof Wilhelmshohe, has free maps and books rooms for a 4 fee. ( 70 77 07. Open M-F 9am-6pm, Sa 9am-lpm.) To reach Jugendherberge am Tannenwaldchen (HI) , Schenkendorfstr. 18, take streetcar #4 from the Wilhelmshohe station to Annastr. backtrack on Friedrich-Ebert-Str. and make a right on Querallee, which becomes Schenkendorfstr. ( 77 64 55. Breakfast included. Sheets 4. Reception daily 9am-l 1:30pm. Curfew 12:30am. 19, under-26 18. HI members only.) For Hotel Ko78 , Kolnische Str. 78, follow the directions to the Jugendherberge, then walk up Annastr. from the stop and turn right onto Kolnische Str. (716 14. Breakfast included. Reception daily 7am-10pm. Singles 32, with shower 41-46; doubles 5161-75.) Friedrich-Ebert-Strafie, the upper part of Wilhelmshoher Allee, and the area around Konigsplatz all have supermarkets and cafes sprinkled amongst clothing stores. Postal Code: 34117.