Last weekend we had a great visit from my friend Mary, who came over from the States, spent a few days in Koeln, and then came down to Heidelberg. Our paths have unfortunately not crossed that often since college so it was really great to spend some time together, and it put my mind back on a lot of old times that I really hadn't thought about in a while.
On Mary's second day here, we took a trip down to Baden-Baden, a nearby town which we'd been meaning to see since we moved to Germany. Baden-Baden is a different type of place. The typical little German town might have a Marktplatz with some half-timber houses, a church or two with some sort of significance, maybe some bits of town wall here or there and an Eis cafe. Baden-Baden is, as its name suggests, known for its baths and has been a resort town even since the days that Mark Twain came through. A stone-paved canal runs through the center, there's ritzy shopping, a long, beautiful park, a casino, lots of hotels, and of course the baths.
Near Friedrichsbad (Frederick's Bath) there's a spigot* with thermal spring water running through which you can feel and taste. I wasn't expecting it but the water actually felt really nice even just on my hands. Maybe I'll be converted to this whole bath concept yet. I didn't taste it, but Mary and Damon reported that it was really salty. A sign warned people not to drink over a certain small amount each day.
The downside to Baden-Baden was the remoteness of the train station. We had to take a somewhat long bus ride, which was made even longer on our way home by tons of Sunday traffic. A woman on the bus overheard our English conversation and wanted to know what happened to "our wonderful dollar", and asked "isn't the health care there terrible?" Oh, so blunt.
We finished the day at the somewhat touristy Zum Seppl restaurant/bar in Heidelberg. The food was mediocre but the inside of the place is pretty cool to see at least once.
*Who else pronounces it "spicket"?? American hick dialects represent!