Bryant Park in New York City

Although everyone knows about Central Park in Manhattan, another park worth visiting is Bryant Park. It is located between 5th and 6th avenues and 40th and 42nd streets. The park offers a variety of events throughout the year, as well as a stage where performances occur on a regular basis. It is another of the many areas within New York City where people can enjoy some green scenery and relax in the otherwise hectic city. It is quite popular for a variety of reasons, so expect there to be large crowds gathering in the park, even on weekdays.

Soothing Fountain at Bryant Park
Le Carrousel at Bryant Park
People Relaxing in the Park
Statue of William Cullen Bryant

In the park, there is a large fountain located by the stage that offers a definite sense of cooling on the hot and humid day that we visited. A favorite of families is the “Le Carrousel”, which is obviously a carrousel with whimsical animals bobbing up and down as they rotate around in a circle. For those wishing a refreshing drink or some food while sitting outside and enjoying the views of the park, there is the Bryant Park Cafe. If you are looking for more formal inside dining, there is also the Bryant Park Grill with a full-service menu.

Walking Through the Park
Some of the Many Flowers
Flowered Wall Outside of the Bryant Park Grill
People Relaxing and Eating at the Bryant Park Cafe

In addition to those items, there is an area to play ping pong, as well as other areas to play chess and checkers. The park is also adjacent to the New York Public Library. The statue of William Cullen Bryant, for whom the park is named, certainly has a prime location and cannot be missed when walking through the park. There is also a statue of Gertrude Stein in Bryant Park as well. With colorful flower beds, large shade trees, and an abundance of park benches, it is a great place to sit and relax for a while. Bryant Park might not be as famous or as large as Central Park, it is still a worthwhile place to visit when spending time in Manhattan.

Statue of Gertrude Stein
Pocket Park Sign
New York City Library and Skyscrapers Behind the Park
More Colorful Flowers

Bergpark Wilhemshöhe in Kassel, Germany

The very first trip that we took while staying in Germany was to the city of Kassel where we spent most of our time at the incredible Bergpark Wilhemshöhe. There are so many wonderful sights to see on the grounds of the largest European hillside park. Due to it’s size of 590 acres as well as the fact that it sprawls across a steep hill makes it a strenuous day of walking, but the views and historic sites are well worth the effort. The park is made up of four major points of interest, Schloss Wilhemshöhe, Lowenburg Castle, Hercules Statue, and the fountain and water feature that cascades down the hillside.

Schloss Wilhelmshöhe

Entrance to Lowenburg Castle

Hercules Statue

As you enter the sprawling estate, Schloss Wilhemshöhe looms large across the landscape as the prominent feature for anyone who enters the park. As the one-time summer home of Kaiser Wilhem II in the early 1900’s, this magnificent palace was originally built in the 12th century as a monastery and used as a castle for centuries before becoming the summer home of the aristocratic elite. There is no doubt as to the reason that this site with it’s beautiful gardens is still the site of many fairytale weddings, which was also the case on the day that we visited.

Part of the Palace

Pond Behind the Palace

Front of the Palace

For us, the Lowenburg Castle was one of the highlights of our visit to Bergpark Wilhemshöhe. First of all, it was the first true castle that we visited while staying in Germany. It has all of the typical features that one would expect of a castle such as the turrets and fortress walls. In order to reach the castle, you have to walk through a relatively dense forest, which certainly fosters the images of the stories of the Brother’s Grimm who came from the area and whose museum can also be found in Kassel. Walking the grounds of the castle certainly provided all of the images that we had imagined when we envisioned ourselves travelling to Germany.

View of the Castle

Castle Turret

View of the Castle from the Trail

Hercules Statue is certainly a site that cannot be missed. Mostly due to it’s prominent location at the top of the hill and presiding above the cascading fountain, it can be seen from throughout the park. To reach the statue itself, you must scale a long series of stairs the climb steeply up the hill. We chose not to go all of the way to the top, mostly due to the fact that we had a single day in Kassel and we were quite exhausted at this point with all of the walking that we had done through the park. It was certainly an impressive sight to see.

The View from the Bottom

Under Construction

Palace Grounds

Unfortunately for us, the cascading fountain was not running at the time that we visited, but it was still wonderful to see and we could imagine how impressive it must be when it is running. The thought that the statue and the cascading fountain were created in the early 1700’s is something truly hard to imagine. We can only imagine what it must have been like for the elite of Germany society to visit to walk along the grounds and see such an amazing sight.

Bottom of the Falls

Water Cascades Down from the Statue

Pond on the Property

Kassel was definitely a worthwhile location for our first exploration of Germany outside of Frankfurt. Specifically Bergpark Wilhemshöhe was truly incredible to see with everything that is located inside of this incredible UNESCO Heritage site.

Kilkenny Castle in Ireland

During our trip to Ireland, we really enjoyed visiting Kilkenny Castle in the quaint city of Kilkenny. We were staying in Dublin and hired a guide to take us to a variety locations as we headed from Dublin to the coast. Seeing this wonderful castle was certainly the highlight of the tour, but just driving through the countryside made the trip worthwhile. Construction began on the castle in the twelfth century and it is truly a magnificent residence. You are able to take a self-guided tour of the interior and exterior of the castle and it is well worth taking a couple of hours to visit the beautiful castle and gardens.

Walking to the Castle
Beautiful Castle
Elegant Dining Room
View of the Garden
Castle Entrance
Walking Around the Castle

It may have been a cloudy day during our visit to Kilkenny, but that didn’t distract from the beauty of the historic home. It was the home of the Butler family from 1391 to 1967 when it was granted to the people of Kilkenny. The rooms have been preserved to show the day-to-day living of the previous residents and provide a glimpse into the lives of the wealthy inhabitants. They are decorated so well that you could truly imagine that someone was still living in the castle.

Children’s Toys
Marble Fireplace
Small Piano
Family Art Gallery and Ballroom
Castle Hallway

The views from the castle’s rooms as well as the lawns are spectacular. The River Nore runs next to the castle and leads towards the heart of the city, where, in the distance, the cathedral towers dominate the skyline over the heart of Kilkenny. We visited many castles all throughout Europe and Kilkenny Castle is definitely one of the best preserved castles and was well worth taking the time to visit.

View from the Castle
The River Nore
Looking out the Castle Window
Family Crest
Kilkenny City
Stunning Castle
Looking Up
Another View