Europe 2012: Day 87, Baden-Baden


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View from Mount Merkur in Baden-Baden, Germany.

Woke up at 8am.   It is cloudy and rainy.   It is our first full day in Baden-Baden.

Our original plan was to take the train to Freiburg today.   But with the rain, we discussed alternatives over our  breakfast of coffee, juice, and bananas.   I want to see the Frida Kahlo exhibit at the Kunstmuseum Gehrke-Remund.  My DH wants to go the Friedrichsbad Roman-Irish Bath.  Since I am not a roman-bath kind of gal, I decide to give my poor HD a break and find my own way to the museum so that he can enjoy a few hours soaking in the warm spring waters of Baden-Baden.   After some research about the Baden-Baden bus system, I had a plan on how to get to the museum on my own.

After breakfast at around 10:30am, I kissed my DH good-bye, grab an umbrella, and set out to find the bus stop that will get me on the #201 to the museum.  Since the museum does not open until 11pm, I took the opportunity to do a bit more window shopping in the city center of Baden-Baden.

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Window shopping in downtown Baden-Baden, Germany.

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Found an nice tea shop. A hot cup of tea sounds really good right now but I have places to go before the rain gets worse!

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What pretty candies!

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These candies remind me of Christmas!

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Oh my!

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Look! The world famous Black Forest Cake! I am told that the real Black Forest Cake can only to eaten in the Black Forest — I am so glad I am here!

I find the right bus stop, I board the right bus, I purchase the right bus pass, and get off at the right bus stop, I follow the right streets, and I arrive at the Kunstmuseum Gehrke-Remund at noon.  The museum does not look like much but oh, the paintings!   This museum has the most complete collection of Frida Kahlo’s work on earth!   Frida’s father is from Baden-Baden; that is how this museum came to be here.

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This museum doesn’t look like much, but the art is fantastic!

After the museum, I decide to be brave and board the #205 bus to MerkurBergbahn where I can board a funicular that climbs Mount Merkur, the location of the Observation Tower Baden-Baden Merkur.  The view of Baden-Baden is supposed to be spectacular from here!     I find the bus, I ride the bus, and I arrive at the funicular at MerkurBergbahn to ride up the mountain.

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The funicular station that climbs to Mount Merkur.

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Next door to the station is a real Roman fountain!

I get to the top of the mountain and I see nothing but the cloud that hangs over the mountain.   Well, it was bound to happen right.  With rain comes clouds, especially at 2,192 ft.  Here are some pictures anyway:

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Hello!

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Is anybody out there?

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This is the Observation Tower Baden-Baden Merkur.

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It feels a bit spooky up here…

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Oh, is that the sun? No.

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Oh look — shelter!

There is a small restaurant on Mount Merkur so I thought I would order a coffee and maybe, just maybe, the clouds would abate just long enough for me to get in a quick picture.   The restaurant is small and has that “Black Forest” feel to it.   It is also fairly empty, so I sit down a table next to the pastry case.   There in the pastry case I see the ultimate Black Forest specialty – the Black Forest cake!   I order a slice with my coffee.

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Warm and cozy!

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Hot and yummy!

Unlike the American version of the Black Forest cake (dark and dense chocolate cake enrobed in darker chocolate frosting with a layer of cherry pie filling and a dollop of whipped cream and a cherry on top), the real Black Forest cake is lighter.  This cake is 50% chocolate cake with 50% whipped cream with a single layer of cherries on a crispy cracker crust.   What makes this cake really special is the each component is infused with Kirsch – a cherry liquor.  This cake is light, moist, and just screams cherry!   It is also really, really, really, good!  I must inform my DH about this!

Well, the sun did not come out as I had hoped, so I left the mountain and returned to the hotel.

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Going down the mountain.

When I arrived at the hotel at 4:35pm, I see that my DH has left me a note saying that “It is 4pm, since it is not raining, I went for a walk.”   I took off my raincoat and shoes and took a nap.  My DH arrived back at the hotel an hour later and we talked about our day.   He told me that his day at the baths was wonderfully relaxing!   He spent three hours there going through the various steam rooms, the various heated pools, and even got a massage!  “Yes,” he smiled, “it was very relaxing!”

Around 6pm, we decided to take a walk (since it wasn’t raining) by Lichtentaler Allee, is a historic park and arboretum set out as an 2.3 kilometer strolling avenue along the west bank of the river Oos.   It consists of a man-made stream that babbles over cobblestones and under quaint bridges.   We also walked by the casino where there are food booths and a band in the evenings.   The atmosphere was very festive and without the rain, the crowd was lively!    We stopped by a beer garden where I ordered a bowl of potato soup and a small beer (my DH was not hungry since he had Chinese for lunch).

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A walk in the park in Baden-Baden, Germany.

After listening to the band for a while, we headed back to the room.   It was another full day and nice to have a day where we each could set our own pace.  At the end, we each had a new experience to share over a bowl of potato soup – that was nice!

Quote of the day:   “I felt so clean that I hated to put my dirty socks back on!” – DH on his relaxing day at Friedrichsbad Roman-Irish Bath.

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