Baden Baden

This is the Friedrichsbad bath house, the primary reason for visiting Baden Baden.  We’ve thought about taking a drive to the Black Forrest for a while and we’re so glad we finally got around to it even if it wasn’t quite as planned.  We thought we would go for an adventurous weekend of hiking.  Then, on Thursday afternoon Ryan remembered that he had to travel for work on Monday morning.  I thought this meant no Black Forrest for us but we decided to be flexible instead.

On the drive home from work on Thursday, we decided that we would leave work early on Friday and make the 90-minute drive from work cutting 30 minutes off of the drive from home.  We decided this would be a quick spa and relaxation trip rather than hiking in the Black Forrest since we were short on time.

Ryan booked this great hotel late Thursday night.  We were lucky that it turned out to be a fantastic hotel with a cozy decor and very comfortable bed (not the norm in Europe).

When we arrived in Baden Baden, we headed straight to the spa.  We decided to go to Friedrichsbad because it’s a beautiful, traditional Roman-Irish bath facility.  The spa is 134 years old and still has many beautiful tile mosaics, columns and sculptures.  The climate inside the spa is heated naturally from the geothermal spring beneath the spa.  The bath house has several rooms and pools that guests go through in a progression developed to improve health.  We started with a shower, then to a warm air bath in a tiled room where we rested on teak lounge chairs.  Next, the hot air bath, which was over 135 very dray degrees.  The next step was a steam room while we waited for the soap and brush massage.  By this time, we almost forgot we were nude.  After the scrub down, we went back to the steam room for about 15 minutes before we started the series of pools.  First a very warm pool and each one progressively colder than the last until we got to the last station. The cold plunge was freezing.  The water was so cold that it was almost painful.  Next, a woman greeted us with a warm bath sheet and directed us to the “creme station.”  This is where we lathered up with lightly scented lotion before being wrapped in a warm sheet and wool blankets like a cocoon in the quiet sleeping room.  Here we took a little nap to finish off for ultimate relaxation.  I think we are hooked on thermal spas and we will definitely be back to this one!

After the spa, we headed out for a fancy, delicious dinner.  The fish was fresh and the wine was fantastic.  The ambiance of the restaurant was just perfect and thanks to the wine, we didn’t even mind walking in the rain back to our hotel.

On Saturday, we woke up still feeling squeaky clean from the trip to the spa.  Three hours of bathing, scrubbing, steaming and more bathing will do that, I guess.  We started the day with a walk along the river taking in the beautiful parks of Baden Baden.

We walked though the main pedestrian area and shopped a little.  Baden Baden is very cute little spa town with lots of shops, beer gardens coffee houses and what they claim is the “most beautiful casino in the world.”  This was a great way to spend a lazy Saturday.

This picture below represents the best 2.50 Euro ever spent!  We stopped for coffee in the BB Kaffeehaus (coffee house).   I admit we are a little obsessed with Cappuccino and this one was excellent!  It was served on a silver platter with mineral water, raw sugar and a chocolate… for 2.50 Euro!  That is a bout half of what Starbucks charges for a cappuccino.

We will have to come back to the Black Forrest area for our hiking trip later in the Fall (the real Fall when the leaves are changing, not just our cold German Summer).  This was a perfect compromise for this weekend.  We got to have a quiet, relaxing day, date night, sight-seeing on Saturday and still got home in time to clean the apartment and get Ryan ready for his trip to England on Monday.  What a perfect weekend!

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