We just completed a couple of days in and around Baden-Baden, in the Black Forest. We actually stayed in an inn about 10 k outside the actual city of Baden-Baden, in the tiny village of Neirwer. It was farther away from Baden-Baden than I thought, but it turned out to be an excellent choice. We were surrounded by vineyards and apple orchards, rural and quaint. The inn where we stayed, the Rubenhof, had its own excellent restaurant. Most of the places where we have stayed have one person that seems to be their official English speaker; everyone else waves their arms a bit and tries different German and English words until they get their point across. Pantomime works wonders, on both ends.
The drive from Lindau to Baden-Baden was cold, congested and snowy. By the time we arrived we were happy to just eat at the inn and relax. I walked down the hill to the village to stretch my legs, but that was about it.
The next morning was cold and cloudy, and windy too, but I had a 12 mile run to get in, so I was up early. No skipping this one, if I intend to run that half marathon at the end of May.
I took my time, opting for the slower 20/40 ratio that I use for longer runs. It was about 3/4ths of a mile down the hill, and then another mile to the main road and a great hiking/biking path. I followed it through the little towns, Buhl, Osterheim, until I reached 6 miles and it was time to turn around.
Once I turn around a strong wind is whipping right into my eyes, making tears run down my checks, but at least now I'm warm. It's really not that bad, since I'm being careful about my pace, and I'm very well rested since I haven't run since Wurzburg. Even the last steep climb back to the inn isn't too bad.
Once I've eaten something it's time for the big event of the day. We're going into Baden-Baden to partake of the baths. I'm pushing and dragging Lee into this activity. Not his cup of tea at all, but he's a good sport and is willing to try it, as long as he has my permission to exit early if he decides he wants out.
So, we are going to the Friedrichsbad spa, the old roman-irish baths. Today is one of the co-ed bathing days so Lee and I can bath together, at least at the start.
The idea at the Friedrichsbad is that you take your clothes off and follow the signs, through 17 different stations involving progressively hotter steam rooms and bathes, with showers between the stations. There is an optional soapy brush massage that I select and Lee skips so after that we don't see each other again until the end.
Each station has a recommended time and I try to follow the rules, although one of the steam baths ends up making me a little dizzy. My favorite is the bubbly bath where you start to cool off. It's not cold, just very very pleasantly cool. It makes me sleepy, but then the following 2 stations that are progressively colder wake me back up. Especially the one that's 18C! Yikes! The recommended time is. "Shortly"and believe me that's all I manage. Very shortly!
Then you go sit wrapped in a warm towel for a couple of minutes, slather lotion on yourself, and then lie down wrapped in warm blankets for 30 minutes. Some people fall asleep but not me. Then you go sit in a sunlit room and drink tea and relax for awhile and that's that.
It was very enjoyable, even Lee said he liked it and would do it again. The nudity very quickly becomes no big deal. Everyone is naked, so who cares. I hardly noticed the other bodies after awhile. One woman with very nice huge breasts and one guy with a gargantuan penis and that was about it.
We walked around Baden-Badan for a bit, found a late lunch and went back to the inn. We ate dinner at a nearby winery, Rottle's, where I managed to cause a furor on Facebook by posting a picture of a mysterious eating utensil. We never quite decided if it was a fish knife or a saucier. The meal was great and I didn't drop anything on the floor so I guess we did all right even without that particular thing, whatever it was.
Now we are on our way to Trier, which is pretty exciting since that's where my mother lived until she was 9. It's a beautiful day, sunny and chilly. Stay tuned!