Baden-Baden seems aptly named for US President Bill Clinton was so taken by it that he remarked, "Baden-Baden is so nice they had to name it twice." Located on the western foothills of the Black Forest on the banks of the Oos River, the springs of Baden-Baden were known to and employed by the Romans. The water at the "Caracalla-Therme" spa is rich in sodium chloride, coming from artesian wells 1,800 metres (5,900 ft) under the Florentiner Mountain. Fragments of ancient sculptures have been found here, and in 1847, remains of Roman vapour baths, still well preserved, were discovered just below the New Castle. The German word "Baden" translates "to bath/bathe." In the Middle Ages, the town was named simply Baden without the repetition.
The popularity of the city as a spa resort dates from the early 19th century when celebrities were attracted to the hot springs as well as to the casino, luxury hotels, horse races, and gardens of the Lichtentaler Allee. The rich and famous included Queen Victoria, Wilhelm I, Napoleon III, Berlioz, Brahms, and Dostoyevsky. Tolstoy set a scene in Anna Karenina here. Dostoyevsky wrote The Gambler while compulsively gambling at the Casino and Brahm's residence can still be visited today.
In 1931, the town was officially given its double name, short for Baden in the state of Baden. After WWII, Baden-Baden became the headquarters of the French Forces in Germany, and a military airfield was constructed at Baden-Söllingen between the Black Forest and the Rhine River, 15 km west of Baden-Baden. In 1953, the Royal Canadian Air Force operated here. In the 1990s, the base was converted into a civil airport, the Baden Airpark, now the second-largest airport in Baden-Württemberg.
Picturesque Baden-Baden offers myriad options for recreational sport such as golf, tennis, horse racing, hiking and mountain climbing. In the winter, it's a popular skiing destination.
A guided tour of Baden-Baden is recommended for visitors. It introduces one to the many places of interest and provides one with an insight into the town's past. Tour themes include, Famous Musicians in Baden-Baden (Johannes Brahms, Clara Schumann, Niccolo Paganini), Writers (Otto Flake, Reinhold Schneider, Werner Bergengruen, George Groddeck), Gardens and History.
Here are some suggested short side-trips:
The following are suggested full day trips:
- "Schwarzwaldhochstraße" - the panoramic road through the Black Forest.
- Strasbourg - City with a famous cathedral and a historic old town.
- Calw - a quaint town with the famous Hermann-Hesse Museum.
- Rastatt - the two palaces, Schloss Favorite and Schloss Rastatt with its military museum, are well worth the visit.
- Pforzheim - visit Germany's Jewellery Museum.
- Maulbronn - with its beautiful middle-aged monastery.
- Freudenstadt - a Black Forest town with a historic market place.
- Karlsruhe - an impressive palace and art gallery, State museum.
Adam Southwood writes for Canadian, U.S. and European magazines and newspapers. He is a graduate of both McMaster University in Hamilton and UWO in London with an interest in culture and history. He has produced several educational programs for TV.
- Black Forest tour to the town of Titisee with a visit to a cuckoo clock factory.
- Strasbourg in Alsace, France (cathedral and historic old town)
- Heidelberg - the old historic university town with its famous castle.
- Freiburg - with narrow streams, a historic market place and Freiburg Cathedral.
- Hausach - a Black Forest town with its open-air museum and historic courtyards.
- Triberg - a Black Forest town with its waterfalls and cuckoo clock museum.
- Alpirsbach - a Black Forest town with its monastery and attached brewery.
- Schiltach - an old historic Black Forest town.
- Wolfach - a Black Forest town with a glass blowing workshop.
- Furtwangen - a Black Forest town with a clock museum.
Transportation, visas, health, maps and temperature
Airlines (Wikipedia): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_airlines
Embassies/Consulates (Embassy World): http://www.embassyworld.com/
Health precautions (WHO): http://www.who.int/ith/en/
Google interactive map: http://maps.google.com/
Temperature (Temperature World): http://www.temperatureworld.com/
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