Friday, January 30, 2015

Bathing in the Black Forest

The first time I heard about the Black Forest was while attending the University of Georgia.  Along with five of my closest agriculture college friends, I learned about an amazing Georgia track athlete who won a gold medal in the 110 meter hurdles in the 1936 Olympic Games.  Fun fact, the UGA track facility is named in his honor, Forrest "Spec" Towns.  He was so fast that he defeated a cavalry horse in the 120 yard hurdles.  Crazy, right?  You can read more about his story, here.  Okay, back to the Black Forest and how this relates to ag (trees, duh).  Every athlete who won a gold medal at the Berlin Olympics was given an oak seedling from the Black Forest.  Spec's seedling was planted on UGA's campus after his return.  I always imagined what this Black Forest might look like, and so we took two nights to explore the area.  
We drove through the rolling hills of trees, and I couldn't help but be reminded of Georgia.  It's landscape is distinctly different from the midwest.  Trees are everywhere!  Even in the city of Atlanta.  Our final destination was the romantic bath town of Baden Baden, but we went a little further into the Black Forest to a town called Freiburg.  It was a cute little town situated in the forest but a little too busy for our taste. It felt like we were back on the pedestrian zone of Wiesbaden. We ate lunch and then made it to Baden Baden by night fall.  We arrived on a Saturday night, since Sunday is the only weekend day the spa is co-ed.   
Baden Baden
The experience was much different than when I attended the Kaiser-Friedrich Therme in Wiesbaden.  Here you go through 17 stations, and after an attendant gives you a soap brush massage you are not allowed to take your towel any further.   Say what?  At the other spa you could cover yourself from room to room.  Eek. Well, I guess they want everyone on the same playing field?  I won't ruin the whole experience for you but at the end of this 3.5 hour experience you walk into a room that looks nothing short of the Matrix.  A room of adults laying in a circular pattern on raised tables.  The attendant literally swaddles you in a warm blanket and you fall asleep (once you got over the fact that you are a grown adult who just got swaddled).  It was by far the most relaxing 3.5 hours of my life.  
  1. Friedrichsbad is textile-free and co-ed on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays, Sundays, and for the romantics out there, on Valentine's Day.  
  2. For 37 Euro you can get the wellness package, which includes a soap brush massage and 3.5 hours in the Bad.  The brush massage is one of the stations, and you should do it for the full experience.  We didn't need to book a reservation in advance.  We just walked in and paid the attendant.  
  3. Be aware that your towel will be taken from you about halfway through the stations, so you won't be able to cover up when you move from room to room like at other thermal baths.   If you can't embrace the experience there is a another bad in the area that allows you to wear your bathing suit.  
  4. If you have kids you can drop them off at the kinder paradise for only 5 Euro and enjoy your time in the bath.
I hope you enjoy your experience!

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