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The first stop on exploring Schwarzwald, Germany: Baden-Baden

I’ve always dreamt of going to the Black Forest because of reading Brothers Grimm fairy tales. You know the tails of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Hansel and Gretel, and Little Red Riding Hood, just to name a few. Because of the world-famous tails and my vivid imagination, I’ve pictured Schwarzwald to be an enchanting forest full of wonder that I absolutely needed to visit. The five day trip to Germany was going to give me that possibility.  

Upon entering the forest, a mountainous region in southwest Germany, everything around changed. The roads, the weather, the towns, and the scenery. Now driving isn’t just straight. The roads are full of sharp turns, and constant ascend and descend. Winter weather here, as the weatherman would say, is overcast sky with minimal visibility due to fog. All around, the landscape keeps on getting denser. Thick trees cover the surrounding mountains, making it quite hard to focus on the picturesque villages wedged between the hills. However, going through Freiburg, the region’s largest town, you get to see the Gothic buildings and the renowned vineyards of this area. Driving dipper and dipper into Schwarzwald, I get the feeling that everything that I have imagined about this forest was all here and true. As well the next stop was going to bring even more exciting experiences. 

Black Forest Hike

 

 

Hiking in the black forest, you get to see two seasons. Starting the hike, the forest greets you with late fall. A wet road leads you up the mountain, and slowly you begin to see the change in seasons. Black Forest Hike

 

 

 

 

 

The air gets more bitter, and the wind picks up. At a certain point, you notice the fine line between the end of fall and the start of winter. An unbelievable force of nature is present in Schwartzvald.The fine line of the end of Fall and start of Winter

Mineral Spa in Baden-Baden:

The second stop after Düsseldorf was a spa town of Baden-Baden. This charming town located in the Black Forest region is famous for its mineral spas, and Versailles inspired Gardens. Now I never knew that hot mineral baths excised in this part of the world. I’ve always thought that for water to be heated, a volcano needed to be nearby. However, here at Baden-Baden, the water gets it’s warm temperate from the pressure of the earth’s mass. Here the water reaches temperatures between 56 and 68.8 °C, making this location the hottest springs with the highest mineral content throughout on Baden-Württemberg. 

The Spa I chose in Baden Baden : 

I picked the Caracalla Therme Spa due to one simple fact: it’s not a nudist bath. As well it’s conveniently located in the city center, with underground parking available for anyone traveling from far away. The parking costs a reasonable amount: 3.50 euros an hour. It’s also within close range to many hotels, here are a few of the options: 

  1. Radisson Blu Badischer Hof Hotel “a historic 19th century hotel that offers the ultimate spa experience.”
  2.  Hotel Beek is conveniently located in the centre of Baden-Baden,” which is close to the Leopoldplatz, the Thermen, the famous Lichtentaler Allee with the rosegarden and the Augustaplatz.”
  3. AQUA AURELIA Suitenhotel hotel is located in the spa quarter of Baden-Baden.

Caracalla Therme Spa

Where I stayed and I did: 

I chose to stay in a nearby city and drive to the spa. As many hotels in Baden Baden wore booked or didn’t allow dogs. Upon arriving at Caracalla Therme I decided to spend two hours exploring/swimming in the bathhouse and let me tell you that was plenty of time. During the two hours, I got to swim outside, inside, and go into an aroma room twice. 

P.S Mineral baths are great but don’t overdo it. Honestly, you’ll only need tops three hours at the spa; otherwise, it isn’t healthy. During the swim, your skin is going to be absorbing all the mineral water into your body. The right amount of minerals is great, but overdo it, and it’s toxic. Ask yourself, would you be able to drink hot salty mineral water for three straight hours? I wouldn’t because that’s one harsh liver detox. 

What to expect inside: 

Once you enter the building and walk up to the lobby, it gets pretty confusing. There isn’t any particular line to enter or exit. Everyone stands in random lines waiting for one of the cashiers to check out clients and to ring you up. After paying for your way in, you are presented with a watch. This waterproof watch lets you store your clothing in the locker, and allows you to add more to your experience. What they don’t tell you is that the watch doesn’t let you know when it’s time to go. Make sure to time your arrival to avoid extra charges. 

After making your way past the register, the next challenge is figuring out how the changing rooms work. There aren’t separate men’s or a women’s changing rooms (that takes a minute to figure out). Men and women change in these two-door rooms. The first door is for you to go in and change. The opposite door is for you to exit into the locker rooms. Make sure both doors are locked when changing and open once done. After sorting everything out (the changing and how the lockers work), you are free to enter the pools. Oh, first don’t forget to shower. The showers/bathrooms are closed off and separated, but occasionally you will see a naked woman or a man passing in-between the showers and the bathroom exit. Hey, it’s Germany, and the traditional way to enter the bathhouse is in the nude. 

What I recommend wearing to the spa during the winter:

If you plan on swimming only without any additional treatments, then a one-piece swimwear would be best. The spa pools are meant for relaxation and getting a water massage (you’ll see once you are in the pool.) As well you’ll have to move around from pool to pool ether way some parts of your body will be out in the cold. The best option, in my opinion, is to wear some that covers you up, as well as bring simple flip flops and a cover-up to keep you warm after a hot shower. Here are a few swimsuit options and more:

The Cost: 

The cost to enter for two hours is 16 euros, bring towels. If you forget them, it’s a 15 euro deposit and 6 euro charge for the towel. In the event, if you don’t return the towel, you’ll pay the penalty of 21 euro for the towel. 

Enjoy this beautiful experience of detoxing, relaxing, and getting younger 😉 Read on about my stop in the town of Titisee. 

Black Forest Hike
Black Forest

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