Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The baths at Baden-Baden

Initially I was emphatically against a trip to Baden-Baden and made all kinds of excuses as to why I would not like a trip to the most well-known spa in all the world. All the tour guides we had read raved about Baden-Baden being laden with historical reviews from royalty, writers, philosophers, and movie stars. The part that I was hesitant about was the fact that the most famous of all these spas, Friedrichsbad , has a "no clothes" policy. Germans are notoriously liberal when it comes to nudity and have a philosophy of FKK (Freikörperkultur) which literally translates to "free body culture."

As evidenced by their winding walking paths, mountain hikes, pedestrian-only zones, and sensible footwear, Germans love nature and part of their philosophy is enjoying nature and its perfection in all aspects. In order to fully enjoy a day at the spa, a German feels that nudity is the answer, whereas a bathing suit or other accoutrements will not allow them to fully experience the health benefits.

So we went to Baden-Baden, and enjoyed the 17 stages of shower, warmth, heat, shower, scrubbing, shower, steam, hot steam, water, bubbles, floating, shower, cold, rubbing, moisturizing, and relaxing in under three hours. I was definitely surprised by how relaxing the experience was, especially sans clothes.

I have to recommend the baths to everyone who visits Germany but it was nice going there, at least for the first time, being sure I wouldn't see anyone that I knew. The overall experience was wonderfully relaxing and Baden-Baden is a beautiful town full of Roman ruins, beautiful architecture, winding cobblestone streets, and a lively atmosphere.

On our trip, we also took a hike up a hill near the baths to enjoy a picnic lunch. The trees were enormous and fragrant. We also had a chance to take part in a wine tasting after the baths and tried German Riesling and Spaetburger, which is a German Pinot Noir as well as sweet red wines too.

Enjoy the photos we took while in B-B:
Joe in B-B
Joe in front of the baths

Me in front of cute little wild flowers

View from our picnic perch
The view from our picnicking location

Memorial for WWII soldiers from the area
Joe in front of a memorial to fallen WWII soldiers from Baden-Baden

Joe as he embraces nature

Frolicking in B-B
Here I am, embracing nature

In front of the baths
In front of the grand entrance to Friedrichsbad

Just wandering around B-B
Baden-Baden is full of gorgeous architecture since it attracts royalty from around the world.

The small enclave has a tap for the hot spring water
The arch is home to a tap of water straight from the hot water springs below.

Friedrichsbad: these stairs lead to the lockers
I took this photo from the corner of the main entrance of the baths. The staircase splits and takes men into the men's lockers and the women into their own. The entire building is full of marble and dramatic architecture.

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