We took it slowly in the morning, after all we had all day to drive just about 300kms to go from Lindau to Baden-Baden, so why hurry up? If only we knew………..
It took us nine hours to go from point A to point B, damn…… never seen so much water coming down!!! It was impossible to see through our elmets and drive safely so we had to take several breaks and stops………… anyway…….. eventually we made it to our hotel in Baden-Baden safe and dried up by the sun that came out, at last!
Baden-Baden, an international thermal spa resort is located at the foothills of the Black Forest in the south-western part of Germany. With its elegant flair and stylish way of life, and its old fashioned architecture, Baden-Baden is a pleasure to visit. In the picturesque streets and the small lanes of the neo-baroque old town of Baden-Baden there are also numerous exclusive boutiques for a first-class shopping. It was really a pleasure walking through its streets, most of the time with our noses up, savouring the old times atmosphere still in the air…..
This is Friedrichsbad, a temple to the art of bathing. Situated at the foot of the Altstadt, a combination of Roman and Irish bathing traditions, it’s been here for the past 125 years.
It was built just above the old romans baths ruins, and you can admire their masterwork by visiting the 2000 year old ruins, which are one of the oldest and best kept examples.
Near our hotel there was this great garden called Lichtentaler Allee, a green and relaxing gem……..
that lead our way to the Kurhaus
With its unique Belle Epoch styled elegance, whether it’s a concert, a midnight dinner or a star-studded ball, the Kurhaus represents Baden-Baden’s glittering center stage. Built between 1821 and 1824, by Friedrich Weinbrenner, the Kurhaus, with its stylish banqueting rooms and suites, can cater for all special occasions.
It houses also the Casino, dating back over 250 years and fashioned on the lines of French royal palaces, and it is and always has been, a temple to the alluring game of chance, in the last century a social rendezvous for nobles and the elite.
We knew before going there, that Baden-Baden has a deep connection with Russian history and people. ‘800 Baden-Baden was the favorite destination of European aristocracy, artists, musicians and writers, who called it “Summer Capital of Europe”. One of the most famous novels of European literature, “The Gambler” by the Russian writer Fyodor Dostoevsky is set right here in Baden-Baden. In the second half of the ‘800 it was a favorite of the rich and powerful of the Old Continent . Intellectuals such as Leo Tolstoy, Friedrich Nietzsche and Richard Wagner attended the small spa town and made it famous. Its thermal waters, already known and exploited by the Romans who called the town “Aquae Aurelie”, and especially the casino, represented a special destination. Since the beginning Baden-Baden was especially liked by the Russians who still form, with 30-40,000 visitors a year (usually quite wealthy), one of the most conspicuous sources of revenue for retailers in the city. Also the cultural ties between Baden-Baden and Russia are close and fruitful. Case in point, the Fabergè Museum. Russian art collector A. Ivanov opened the Fabergé Museum in 2009 in order to share his great collection with the world. The museum has more than 700 items, including two Imperial Easter Fabergé Eggs, the famous Rotschild Easter Egg, a stone figure of Buddha (formerly property of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, before of Greek King Georg I, British Royal Family) and the whole range of other very important gold, silver and precious stone masterpieces made by Fabergé. Too bad inside I wasn’t allowed to take photos…….but trust me, it WAS an experience……
Russian connection was provided also by this group of streets artists, while we had lunch one day…..
We did not miss the delicious Russian Orthodox church, built from 1880 to 1882 and lavishly decorated and painted in the Byzantine style.Vladimir Potemkin and Bernhard Belzer built this spectacular structure, its interior was based on the designs of the master painter Grigor Grigorijewitsch and, as you can see, is liberally decorated with religious frescoes.
Inside I had a very interesting conversation with an old woman in charge of the little shop and with the Pope holding the local russian congregation, kindly explaining to me the meaning and the different styles and colors used to represent the saints and Our Lady……..while husband was busy trying to decode the cyrillic inscriptions….
Built in a very different style, nevertheless very interesting, is the Stiftskirche
Take the many steps up to the Marktplatz. The climb may be a little strenuous, but you will be rewarded at the top by the sight of Baden-Baden’s first parish church, the Stiftskirche – a dominant, late gothic building with striking features and impressive portal carvings. Built originally as a Roman basilica, it has witnessed numerous modifications over the centuries. Interesting features include the 18 foot high stone carved crucifix and the illustrated tombs of the 14 Margraves of Baden, including the most famous of them all, Ludwig-Wilhelm (1677 – 1707).
While on top of the hill, we visited also the Jugend Kunst Museum (art museum for youth) free and almost deserted but once again, no photos allowed!
Walking outside the town center, we were greeted by this spectacular view….
The Trinkhalle (pump house) was built 1839–42 by Heinrich Hübsch in a complementary architectural style as the spa’s main building. The 90-metre arcade is lined with frescos and benches, and little faucets to drink water while sitting under the corinthian colonnade. A branch office of Baden-Baden’s tourist information bureau is located in this historic structure.
A nice surprise was also the Festspielhaus, Europe’s second largest opera and concert hall. Opened to the public in 1998, the Festspielhaus, with its world acclaimed acoustics, offers a diverse agenda of musical performances featuring top international artists. The building itself is also home to a harmonious blend of architectural styles. The neo-classical facade, once the entrance hall to the town’s railway station, leads into the modern concert hall, where the Belle Epoch grandeur is replaced by the Avant-garde styles of today. The 2,500-seater auditorium, has, in its short lifetime, become internationally acclaimed for its outstanding acoustics.
While in Baden-Baden we enjoyed different restaurants and coffee shops, and here are the most memorable duo, the Lowenbrau Gasthaus……..
and the Glockelstube
and on our last day there, we had a very special and different kind of sunday brunch at this place, and as you can see by hubby prominent belly he’s always enjoying treating himself like this, yes he had TWO pieces………..
while I had melon and yoghurt….
We had a very nice stay in that charming city, and even if it was so hot there and I haven’t had the chance to meet a web friend living nearby (maybe some other time Sabi?) we have fond memories of the place.