Baden-Baden was not quite what I had expected. Whether it was my lack of research, or the specific photos I had seen on the internet, I was expecting to turn a corner into a little village nestled in the forest with some hot springs dotted around. Reality was very different. We came out of the tunnel and were met with a busy and bustling town centre, with a huge high street. If you are looking for a shopping trip you wouldn’t be spoilt for choice. Personally I don’t really enjoy shopping at home, usually having to be bribed with the prospect of a cinema trip or meal at nandos, so when we are on holiday there is no chance I will be stuck in a busy shopping centre. I want to wander around, look at the architecture, speak to the locals and eat lots of good food.
Seeing the frustration painted across my face, my fiancèe wisely diverted us off the beaten track to the local park. Sitting on a bench outside Trinkhalle (The spa complex), having avoided my tired and grumpy meltdown, I took a huge sigh of relief that we had found the Baden-Baden I had been looking for. Peaceful, beautiful and not at all like an average British town. The park was filled with numerous paths, worming around the hills to a section overlooking the town and forest beyond; which was to be our destination. In the distance, beyond the boundaries of this lovely town, were castle ruins, walls and towers poking through the canopy, that looked amazing. Unfortunately I couldn’t find any trace of it on the internet or any marking on map. I think that if something like that is not clearly marked it will either be very hard to find or no safe for people like me to wander around so I gave up on that idea and went in search of the next best thing; another coffee shop.
Walking through the door of Kaffeehaus, we were greeted with a simple interior of white walls, dark wooden shelves and a glass counter with an attractive array of cakes and chocolate. I ordered the boss (or fiancèe as she prefers to be called) a coffee and chose a hot chocolate myself. What I didn’t realise was that there was a full wall covered in different flavours to choose from. Each was a chocolate cube on a wooden spoon which you stir into the hot milk they serve you. I chose the hazelnut flavour and it was delicious! Somehow I felt very fancy with my mug of hot milk and slowly dissolving the rich, hazelnut flavoured chocolate cube.
As I don’t drink tea of coffee, I often feel like a child when I order myself a hot chocolate or diet coke, so this was a pleasant change. My fiancèe always gets me to try her coffee as she read an article somewhere that after you try something so many times (I think the number was around 7) then you start acquiring a taste for it. Not really sure why she wants me to be a caffeine addict as well, but it would be nice to order a coffee like everyone else sometimes.
After trying in vain to find the ruins in the northern part of town (because they are housed in a museum and not open air… doh!) it was time to head back to the hotel and get some dinner in the restaurant. If you have read my earlier post about my language learning epiphany (see here) you will already know about the conversation with the waiter during this meal, so I will focus on the food this time. As there was a trout farm next door it seemed only right that we had trout for dinner. I had the ganz blau forelle (Whole blue trout) and the fiancèe opted for the trout fillet, topped with toasted almonds. Much to our surprise, we were served an onion soup as a complimentary starter from the head chef. It was really simple and tasty. I was really glad we hadn’t ordered this as a starter, as the table did next to us, as we would have paid for something that everyone else was getting free. Always one to look for bargain!
I wouldn’t usually order fish in a restaurant but this was particularly nice. Must have something with all the produce being so fresh and local. Makes me think about ordering more fish in the future, rather than just going for chicken all the time. The vegetable accompanying the fish were OK, slightly tough for my tastes, but the quality of the fish more than made up for it.
We skipped dessert in the restaurant, opting for a picnic in the room with some chocolate we had bought from the supermarket before. Eating a tasty dinner in a nice restaurant, with a cold German beer in hand, is great but it can’t get better than getting warm and cosy in bed with some chocolate biscuits and going through the photos of all the adventures we had that day.
In the morning we would be heading into the centre of the Black Forest and all the way through to lake Konstanz in the south. A long and exciting day laid ahead of us and I can’t wait to tell you about it in my next post.
Ciao for now!