but perhaps I’m not my usual little ray of sunshine here in Baden Baden.
We left our comfy apartment this morning to drive through the Black Forest, making a scheduled stop at Hohenzollern. We have an extra passenger for our homeward journey, because Edward is with us, too. Crossing the border at Schaffhausen, the guard gave a cursory glance into the car and waved us through without a stop, though the incoming traffic was being rather more closely observed by the Swiss patrol and there was quite a queue to get in.
So we are in Germany once again and still feel quite at home. It’s good to be here!
It wasn’t long before we caught sight of the castle, high on the hill. My hero and I had been here before, not that long ago, but Edward had expressed a wish to drop in here on our way and it was an interesting stop for us all.
We arrived in perfect time for the 11.30am tour in English. Sadly, another 90 or so people were there too.
Never mind, the guide spoke clearly and held everyone’s attention, so we were able to follow and learn quite a bit about the Hohenzollerns, who were the Kings of Prussia and the Emperors of Germany.
There is a small piece of land that is forever Prussia, too.
I think I have this self-same photograph at home as well, but since no photos were allowed inside, such a fine view will have to do. The interior was grand but not quite a special as Neuschwanstein or the Wartburg for that matter, but then this castle is fairly new, having been built around 1850 as a symbol of power rather than a true stronghold or residence.
We were able to see the crown of the King of Prussia and the uniform of Friedrich the Great whose life was saved by a snuff box in a pocket, which took the force of the bullet which might have killed him. The bullet hole was there in the snuff box to see – except it wasn’t the real snuff box and, one assumes, not the real bullet hole either. Hmm.
It was pleasantly warm outside, so we settled into a corner of the beergarden for a bratwurst and beer for lunch (well, my hero had to make do with apfelschorle, for which we were grateful of course).
Then we were off again, heading towards Baden Baden through the Black Forest – the Schwartzwald. Yes, we dreamed of Schwartzwalder Kirschtorte. Who wouldn’t?
We stopped for five minutes break with a couple of dozen bikers at the Schwartzenbachtalperre dam, where there was a queue for the two or three pedalos available to hire.
Whilst we meandered by the motorbikes, we favoured the red one parked next to us, thinking that “he” could get his mid life crisis kicks by riding the bike bit, whilst “she” could sit in comfort and safety in the back.
Until it rained, that is.
In no time at all we were in Baden Baden and checking into our hotel, a rather grand place which is perfectly located but which could possibly do with a little attention. Only one of our three rooms were ready – grrrr – even though it was 4.15pm, so we hauled our luggage up into the one and decided to go and explore.
We could hear some band music coming from the gardens opposite so decided to go and see what was happening. Sure enough, a brass band was playing a few popular tunes to an audience of the type which might be expected to listen to a band concert in the park on a sunny afternoon. I loved the planting in the flowerbeds and thought the pale lemon and blue was just lovely!
We took our seats at a table in the cafe of the Kurhaus and waited some time to order iced chocolate from a very slow and uncommunicative waiter. Eventually it arrived and was very good – but oh my, did it take time.
So, off we went to explore Baden Baden a little. I found it to be a strange city, full of people who seemed to be out of place. Most, I imagine, are here from somewhere else. Many are overdressed, in a flashy sort of way, and I found myself wondering how it is that a woman such as the one above can put some much time and effort into her appearance and choice of clothes, only to have her partner walk alongside in shabby jeans, a scruffy shirt and a pair of trainers?
As for this colourful lady with an abundance of what my hero refers to as “I’m wacky, me” hair, we encountered her several times over, first at the band concert and then again a couple of times in the town. I can’t imagine why she caught our eye, really.
We chose to eat dinner in the Lowenbrau beer garden, making the most of the last few evenings when we can do such a thing. We made our choices but sadly, none were really up to scratch and the place and the food they served was a disappointment.
Yes, we might have sat at a table which claimed to be a square metre of Bavaria, but we felt sure that our Bavarian friends would have disowned the apology for Bavarian food which was served.
So we returned to our hotel. Edward’s room was finally ready and we each went our separate ways – not to do email, which is an horrendous price, but to read and relax. I can’t really say that Baden Baden appeals to me on this visit, mostly because of the people who are here. Flashy dressers, noisy out of towners and the very rich – not really our kind at all.
Perhaps the answer lies in the magazine which I picked up in the foyer of the hotel?