City Partner Hotel Schweizer Hof
Wilhelmshoher Allee 288, Kassel, Hesse, 34131, Germany
More about Kassel
Airing the bedclothes
Cigarette machine in Biebergemünd-Kassel
The old station
Travel Tips for Kassel
No German village would be complete without a cigarette machine, conveniently mounted close to the ground so that even the smallest child can become addicted at an early age.
As VT-member mariajoy has quite correctly pointed out in a tip on her Bad Salzig page, these cigarette machines are everywhere in German towns.
She writes: "These machines on the street are a thing of the past in the UK because they would just be vandalised. I still can't believe such a tiny town needs soooo many cigarette machines. Having said that, I saw at least two doctors surgeries."
Thanks, Maria, for this observation. I hope you don't mind my quoting it here.
Update: Because of a new law that took effect at the beginning of 2007, you now have to insert a card proving you are at least eighteen in order to buy cigarettes from a vending machine.
Airing the bedclothes
Biebergemünd-Kassel is still a stronghold of the old German custom of airing out the bedclothes. Sheets and pillows (often also blankets) are draped on the windowsill of the half open window and left there all or part of the day.
Understandably, this custom is no longer practiced in large cities with a severe air-pollution problem.
When Kassel and Wirtheim were merged in 1970 to form the town of Biebergemünd, neither village wanted to give the impression that it had been taken over by the other, so they built a new town hall here in the Bieber Valley about halfway between the two villages.
The building also includes a bowling alley, a meeting hall (Bürgerhaus or "citizens' house") and a "yawningly empty" (to translate the German expression) Chinese restaurant. The waitress actually came out to meet me when I cycled up, and was very disappointed that I didn't want to eat there. She hadn't had a customer all day, evidently.
There is only one church in Kassel, namely this Catholic one. As is typical for German villages, the inhabitants all tend to have the same religion, because in earlier centuries they were forced to believe whatever their local ruler believed.
This may sound like a silly rule, but actually it made sense at the time because it was an important component of the Peace of Augsburg that was negotiated in 1555, to put an end to religious strife within the loosely-knit "Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation".
Under this agreement, all the princes and dukes and other local rulers agreed not to make war against each other for religious reasons. In the countryside, the common people were required to accept the religion of their local ruler, but in the cities both Catholics and Protestants were allowed to have churches and practice their own religion.
In front of the church there is a monument, as in most German towns, to the soldiers who were killed in the First and Second World Wars, wishing them "peace and eternal life" from a "thankful community".