How do you get from the title of Prince Consort of the United Kingdom to the small Hessian town of Battenberg (Eder)? Ohh, we’re about to play six-degrees of separation in a history lesson again, aren’t we?
You bet your sweet cheeks, we are. ;-)
In case you didn’t know, Battenberg was the original surname of Prince Phillip of the United Kingdom’s family; but thanks to anti-German sentiment during World War I, the name was changed to Mountbatten.
Yeah, Phillip might be quite “royal” these days, but there were some ancestors of his that weren’t up to snuff here in Battenberg. One of his great-great-great something or other entered into what was known as a Morganatic marriage; which is when a “titled” man marries a woman, shall we say, not of equal rank.
Call it what you want, but whoever they were got to live in the impressive Battenberg Castle, with graceful Baroque Gardens, no less.
And the town of Battenberg is lovely itself, mind you. You’ll find a game reserve in the village of Dodenau, and a number of hiking scenic routes throughout the region. The long-distance R6 and R8 Hessian Radfernweg come right along through, and the Lahn-Eder Cycle Path and Oranier Route aren’t all that far away.
When you’re done with history and all that hiking (I like the Forest Trail, myself) and biking, come to Battenberg for its parties. September’s great for eating, since that’s when the Potato Festival is held, along with its annual Oktoberfest. November and December are great for its Christmas Markets, like the Woodlands Christmas Market held right in that game reserve I mentioned.
After shopping and eating, you can go back to the historical side of Battenberg again, by stopping by the Altes Rathaus (Old Town Hall) and the Stadtmuseum (City Museum) right at Marktplatz 1; climbing up the tower of the 12th century Kellerburg (open from April 1 til October 31); or heading below the surface of town, down into the shafts of the old mines.
Sounds good, but I much rather see the upside of Battenberg — so great in fact, maybe Phillip should consider changing his name back.