We were back in Washington DC last week, which is a place that we are very familiar with. The National Mall is a park that extends between the Lincoln Memorial and the United States Capital, which is approximately 1.9 miles long. It is obviously a huge draw for tourists that visit Washington DC as the Washington Monument sits at the heart of the park and the White House and Jefferson Memorial are also very close by. There are several walking paths throughout the park and vendors are there selling ice cream, water, and other items. There are also many food trucks in the surrounding area.
It isn’t just a location for tourists, but the National Mall is also a popular place for locals to come and enjoy the scenery and to walk, jog, and bike along the many paths. On nice days, you will find many families and couples out enjoying the weather and relaxing in the park. Since we have been to all of the museums and seen all of the important sites on previous visits to Washington, we decided to enjoy the park as the locals do, simply walking along the Reflecting Pool and having a relaxing day in our Nation’s Capital.
Many of the most important museums are located in the general vicinity of the National Mall as well, including the Smithsonian Museums. We also walked through Lafayette Square, which is on the other side of the White House and then walked passed the White House on our way to the National Mall. If you’d like to go to one of the historic restaurants in Washington, we’d recommend going to the Lafayette Square area where you can find many restaurants with a colorful history. Even if you are visiting Washington DC for the first time, it is worthwhile taking your time while you are at the National Mall and taking your time to truly enjoy it and relax.
Heroes’ Square, or Hosok tere in Hungarian, is one of the main squares in Budapest and is located next to the city park. It was created in 1896 to commemorate the 1,000th anniversary of Hungary. Sitting in the middle of the square is the Millennium Monument and the Museum of Fine Arts and the Palace of Art sit on opposite sides of the square. At the time that Heroes’ Square was created, Hungary was still part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and some of the statues in the square today replaced those that paid tribute to the Austrian Hapsburg dynasty.
We took the underground to the station that is across the street from Heroes’ Square, which is the easiest way to get to the square and city park from downtown. On the day that we visited the square, there was a demonstration going on advocating for peace. The colorful flags surrounding the tomb-like Memorial Stone, which is not an actual tomb, but meant as a tribute to all of those who died protecting Hungary over its 1,000 year history.
There are a series of statues on either side of the Millennium Monument. On top of the columns on the left is a male statue that represents a symbol of war and on the of the columns on the right is a female statue representing peace. In between each of the columns are statues of historic figures in Hungarians history along with a mural below their statue meant to represent their major accomplishment. In addition to the columns with their statues, the base of the monument also has statues depicting the seven chieftains of the tribes who originally founded Hungary.
Visiting Heroes’ Square is definitely fascinating on its own, but we would highly recommend that you combine it with a tour of the city park. The weather wasn’t quite warm enough on the day that we were there, but there are paddle boats that can be rented to go out onto the lake. There is also the Vajdahunyad Castle and the Budapest Zoo are also located in the park. It is also just a nice place to spend a couple of hours walking the paths and enjoying the scenery. Depending upon how much you decide to see while there, you can easily spend an entire day at the park.
One of the first places that we visited when we were living in Frankfurt was to Kassel. Löwenburg Castle was also the first castle that we saw during our time there and it certainly didn’t disappoint as it is certainly a very interesting castle with a unique architecture. Located inside of Bergpark Wilhemshöhe, the castle grounds are quite beautiful and has great views of Kassel. We didn’t go inside of the castle because we visited on our own, but if you purchase a guided tour, it is possible to see the inside. The entire park is interesting with Schloss Wilhemshöhe, the Hercules Statue, and a large, fountain and water feature that cascades down the hillside, but Löwenburg Castle is certainly a highlight of the park.
Built in the late 18th century by Landgrave Wilhelm IX, the castle is partially in ruins, although there were some repairs going on during our visit there. Kassel is part of a route in Germany known as the Fairy Tale Road, with its connection to the Brothers Grimm, and walking the grounds of the castle will definitely take you back in time. The castle itself is actually an imitation of an old knight’s castle and apparently is really more of a country palace on the inside. Even so, it still draws tourists from around the world as well as Germany because of its fascinating features.
The gardens are also quite beautiful, especially the pathway that is covered by arching trees that create a tunnel-like feel. As you walk the paths around the castle, you can imagine how wonderful it must have been to live there with its amazing views and gorgeous grounds. Kassel is a wonderful city and certainly worth visiting while in Germany. If you do visit Kassel, Löwenburg Castle, as well as the entire Bergpark Wilhemshöhe, should definitely be the top of your itinerary. It is also worth visiting the Brothers Grimm Museum as well while you are in Kassel.