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Sun, flowers and spring
We arrived at Baden-Baden Airport late in the evening to start enjoying our short break in Germany. A taxi took us to the Gasthaus Linde (address: Yburgstraße 79, 76534 Baden-Baden); it is located in one of the towns around Baden-Baden called Steinbach. We were greeted by the owner of the guest house; he knew about our late arrival and offered to postpone check-in until the next morning, so we went to relax immediately after arrival.
In the next morning, after the usual grey April day in Riga, we were awakened by the rays of the sun – our short break in Germany have begun exceptionally well! From the window we had a fantastic view towards vineyards and all kinds of flowering shrubs and trees; we felt like on a real spring holiday! To enjoy these fantastic changes, immediately after breakfast we went for a walk around the town and without realizing it, reached the next town. The Easter morning service had just ended, the clock was approaching noon, and the local Germans were slowly gathering for family lunches at local pubs. Great tradition – in most cases, at least three generations of people gathered around the tables.
Baden – Baden
Short break in Germany would not be complete without a special attractions. Baden-Baden is an international thermal spa town in the south-western part of Germany, in the federal land of Baden-Württemberg, in the Karlsruhe region. The city and its surroundings have historically been a very prosperous region of Germany; people have been going there since ancient times to relax, enjoy thermal waters, wine and nature. We recognised it by paying for taxis and meals at local restaurants and observing the locals. Prices in thermal spas on the one hand seem to be quite high, however you get for that price excellent service and satisfaction. Now, in summertime, writing these notes I can say that the effect of relaxation procedures was keeping entire body well for at least another month and a half after our short break in Germany.
The word Baden means baths and the thermal sources of Baden-Baden were already known by the Romans. The city of Baden was named in the Middle Ages, however the name Baden-Baden (Baths in Baden) was given to it in 1931. Since the 12th century, the city has been conquered and destroyed many times, however in the 18th century it was reborn as a resort town. In the 19th century, celebrities such as Queen Victoria, King Wilhelm the First, Napoleon the Third, Turgenev and Dostoevsky visited it.
The city’s most important present and historical sites are the resort house (Kurhaus) and the gardens, the Fabergé Museum, the casino, the Caracalla thermal pools and the Roman baths Friedrichsbad, the ruins of the Roman bath and other interesting objects.
Thermal pools Caracalla
Caracalla thermal pools (address: Römerplatz 1, 76530 Baden-Baden) are a recreation complex built in a modern style. Caracalla (full name Marcus Aurelius Severus Antoninus Augustus) was, by the way, the Roman emperor, which probably testifies to the great role of the Romans in the history of the city.
Prices for visiting this complex are quite democratic, from 14 euros for two hours to 20 euros for four hours. Perhaps, the optimal time to spend in the complex is about three hours, which costs 17 euros, although separately available procedures (such as foam massage) there are for an additional charge. The good news is that time spent in procedures is not included in the total time spent in the complex.
Extras such as breakfast and VIP tickets, lunch in the thermal restaurant, etc. are available at an additional cost. Children under the age of 7 are not allowed to enter in the complex, however they may be left under the supervision of staff in a specially designed children’s paradise; those should be at least one and a half years old.
Irish-Roman baths Friedrichsbad
The two buildings, Caracalla and Friedrichsbad, are a few hundred meters apart of each other. The Irish-Roman baths in Friedrichsbad are classic and they are free from the hustle and bustle of children and holidaymakers. Everything is aimed to allow visitors to enjoy the relaxation power of natural waters in complete peace. Another interesting feature – you should be naked to use these amenities. On most days of the week, the women’s and men’s sides are separated, however there are days when both women and men go naked in the baths. And it is impossible to cheat because the bath towel and slippers given entering bath at the beginning are collected after the first procedures and new ones may be obtained only at the end – keep this in mind before you pay and go inside if you are shy.
In reality, it is even quite interesting, considering that the skin colour of the surrounding audience is really diverse. SPA process itself is so enjoyable that for a moment it was even forgotten that someone else is near. This experience was enough to say with complete confidence that our short break in Germany was a complete success. Prices: an individual ticket for three hours costs 23 euros, three and a half hours and a soap massage costs 33 euros, but a full set of visit for four hours, which also includes a soap massage and a cream massage at the end of the visit, costs 43 euros. And here it must be said that no euro cent seemed to be overpaid for the well-being we gained after spending four hours in this SPA complex. And we will definitely go there again!
Both before and after visiting the thermal pools and sauna complex, we walked around the city, which has both its own unique charm and something special, such as the German order, which in a strange way coexists harmoniously with the Russian language heard in many places. By the way, in the holiday complexes do not be surprised that you will be spoken in Russian, because some of the service staff came from Eastern Europe in the late eighties or early nineties. This short break in Germany was coming to an end and we had to go home, however on another trip we visited the island of Mainau – see below.
As I said before, this episode of a short break in Germany is from another journey. The island of Mainau is located in a completely different corner of Germany we visited returning from Switzerland. In fact, the region around Konstanz did initially give an impression of a remote not that exciting area, however the beautiful island successfully dispelled that first impression. The description here is not a comprehensive one, because the island of Mainau must be enjoyed looking at it and the impressions gained are difficult to transfer in words. Here are some photos from the visit below.
Flowers and flowers all around
There is a botanical garden on the island and the visiting time was specially chosen for spring; all the spring flowers were blooming there. The island is not large; it is possible to walk around it in a couple of hours. However, in reality it takes much more time because the created lawns, greenery and flower beds are admirable, and you can’t just walk without eating in one of the cafes during your visit.
At the beginning, the price for a visit to the island (adult ticket 17 euros, family ticket 34 euros) seemed to be quite high, however after visiting the exposition we realized that the work invested in creating and maintaining the island is huge and requires a lot of investment.
Tropical and butterfly houses
Among the gardens on the island are several buildings with shops and various expositions. The most outstanding is a tropical house with a huge collection of orchids – it is so beautiful! The other very special place is a butterfly house, where butterflies of various sizes and colours live in tropical jungle conditions.