Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Bathing Bathing - now YOU TOO can be Butterfly...


It was TracyK's comment on 'swanning about in Baden Baden' that set me thinking. It's a lovely place to spend a week end - on the edge of the Black Forest and the site of two brilliant Roman bath complexes where you could actually spend the whole day just taking the waters. Everyone's travelling on a budget, myself included, and it strikes me that, if you were clever, you could do this for not too much dosh. Here's the plan:

  • Flight: Ryanair do a direct flight from Stanstead to Karlsruhe - Baden airport. Which is really Baden Baden, not Karlsruhe. You'd have to get down to Stanstead via a cheapy flight and then you're off!
  • Hotels: There's a great one called the Hotel Café Beeg which is situated just opposite the thermal baths. It's also a Konditorei or cake shop of some renown. Single rooms with B&B start at 85€ which is about £64. The Hotel am Friedrichsbad is also great - also situated just opposite the baths and boasts its own Czech restaurant - the Prager Stuben. A bit more expensive with a single starting at 99€ which is about £74.
  • Bathing: You have two options, really. First of all, there's the Caracalla thermal baths situated in the heart of the town. It's basically a huge, landscaped indoor pool composed of baths with different temperatures. There are outdoor pools too with all kinds of groovy bubble bath features and waterfalls to play with. Great for kids I have to say. They have bubbling round hot tubs full of tourists. Frogprince and I joke that we will start chopping onions and carrots into the water to see if they get the joke. The upstairs is a sauna complex for the serious health fanatics. But if you want to get that authentic Madam Butterfly experience, then you have to go next door to the Friedrichsbad which has the most stunning architecture I've ever seen in a bath. OK excepting the Hotel Gellert (sorry Sourpus). They have old brass shower heads that measure a foot across. And steam rooms with beautifully tiled walls. And you can have your epidermis scrubbed off in a 'body brush massage'. At the end of the bathing experience, they wrap you up in clean sheets and you lie down and sleep for 20 minutes. And wake up feeling brand new. You just need to know that bathing suits aren't allowed in the Friedrichsbad, although you get a towel to cover your bits.
  • Calories: Well, you're sweating them off in the baths, aren't you? You HAVE to have some Black Forest Gateau (Schwarzwälderkirschtorte). It's the law. Cake shops can be found in every street and they're all good. There are many nice restaurants in Baden Baden. Most do good quality German cuisine. and don't let anyone tell you the Germans eat badly. Not in the South West, they don't, gel Nilpferd?
  • Otherwise: Baden Baden has a very well renowned Opera house. They get world class acts. Like Nigel Kennedy and Gary Mullen. And I'm not joking. Have a drink in the Medici before your concert... For the considerably more wealthy than myself, or those who fancy being an extra in 'Quantum of Solace', there's also a very beautiful Casino.

And don't forget to take the waters. They're supposed to cure everything from gout to rickets... And if you do make it to Baden Baden for your Madam Butterfly week end, be sure and let myself and Nilpferd know. We're not too far away after all...

18 comments:

ejaydee said...

Is that really what it's like? Architecture-wise I mean of course...

Frogprincess said...

Oh yes. And more. Click on Friedrichsbad on the link and you'll see some photos. You really CAN pretend to be in that video. Can't promise a crows of heavily made-up models, though. I think Malcolm Maclaren paid extra for them and we're trying to do this on some kind of budget, after all.

Frogprincess said...

Make that "a crowd". Fatigue setting in...

Anonymous said...

-deleted by moderator-

steenbeck said...

I liked that, FP, I thought it was like "murder of crows" or "pod of whales." We'll have to add that to the 'Spill phrasebook. "When FP was at Cannes she saw a crows of heavily made-up models." (To use it in a sentence)

Frogprincess said...

You're on. That's the way expressions come into being after all. I shall do my best to photo a crows of models for you all when I'm down :O). Oh and evening anonymous.

ejaydee said...

Hey no fair! I didn't get to see what Super Anonymo wrote!

DarceysDad said...

Oh I'd forgotten all about this song until this week.

Cheers fp et al.

nilpferd said...

Friedrichsbad is a beauty, but I always get nervous in Baden Baden that someone will try to perform plastic surgery on me...that wrapping up in clean sheets thing is in case you've expired from a heart attack during the sauna. If you get up and walk away after 40 minutes, there's no hard feelings. The architecturally most exciting baths in Europe besides the Gellert are in Vals, Switzerland. At least those are the ones we architects swoon over in magazines.
http://www.therme-vals.ch/
Stuttgart city actually also has great mineral baths, though not as glamorous as B-B. Still, there is almost a music scene here, if you're into German techno or hip-hop.. and you might meet someone unter 30...
The SW Germans don't exactly eat badly, no. As long as you remove white asparagus, Currywurst, Spätzle, Berliner, and Linseneintopf from the equation..

ejaydee said...

Nilpf, I know a collection of London architects is on its way to Bregenz, Austria to study the architecture and they'll be stopping at some spa there. It's in the air!

Frogprincess said...

I think he wrote -deleted by moderator- actually. Come on anonymo. Get into the act here. 'Abend Nilpferd. There are some great baths in Bad Wildbad as well - just a little more remote. You sound very clean living and very health conscious. And respct to that. I love spaetzle - they are kind of home made thick gnocci-noodles known as "little sparrows" and have been known to consume large quantities. Though not before going through the Friedrichsbad. The only ptoblem with the Friedrichsbad is that you're sooooooo relaxed that there's a real danger of falling asleep at the wheel when you drive home. I let Frogprince drive and bellow at him every five minutes "CA VA???"

Frogprincess said...

I think the architecture is just an excuse, Ejay tee hee.

nilpferd said...

Clean living??! You must be joking.. to (mis)quote Patricia Fearing in Thunderball..
EJD, the spa is bound to be the one at Vals, it's a shrine for us Arkytekts..
FP, most Spätzle here in Benztown are mass produced, tasteless little worms.. a shameless carbo substitute for good bread or roast potatoes, in my opinion.. Schupfnudeln are somewhat better, though..

ejaydee said...

Indeed it's the one in Vals. You're almost right FrogP, the one I know was supposed to go to Köln, but did everything she could to not go to Germany (it would have been the 3rd trip like this for her), especially when she heard there was a spa.

TracyK said...

Ah, another Eurotrip for me and the boy! We've just come back from Prague, where I got re-proposed to, complete with a new ring. Think Twice in 2 years means Prague is off the list for a while. Could have done without the Tottenham fans though, shameful behaviour.
Mmmm, architecture...

Abahachi said...

Recipes for Allgauer Kaesespaetzle (can anyone remind me how to do umlauts on this thing) offer a handy way of making even mass-produced Spaetzle taste decent, though not necessarily to the benefit of the digestion or the gall bladder (Spaetzle, cheese, butter and fried onions: mmmm, cholesterol...). However, as I tend to hang out in Niederbayen instead, it has to be Knoedel every time...

Anonymous said...

Umlauts via Windows:
Start / Accessories / System Tools / Character Map. Choose your weapon, then just cut & paste into your message.

DsD

Abahachi said...

Herzlichen Glückswünsch!