We stayed at Hotel Gasthaus Hirsch. A small hotel about 5 kilometers outside of Baden Baden. It was a charming little place with great views of the town and of the local church which we soon learned rang the bells about a hundred times each morning at 6 AM.

When we first started planning the trip here I gave Karen my tentative agenda for the business portion and one of my stops is in Karlsruhe, Germany. At that point we planned to be there at the end of this week and having heard it was in the Black Forest I told Karen we would spend the weekend in that area. She immediately began her research and after seeing a Rick Steves’ video planned some time in Baden Baden. The video actually shows the bathing experience very well and you can see it at http://www.ricksteves.com/tvr/clips/germany.htm.
The timing changed a little but once our hearts were set on the idea of visiting the Roman-Irish Bath we found a way to make it fit in the pre-work days.


We stayed at Hotel Gasthaus Hirsch. A small hotel about 5 kilometers outside of Baden Baden. It was a charming little place with great views of the town and of the local church which we soon learned rang the bells about a hundred times each morning at 6 AM.
That really was ok since we get up so early except for the fact that the Germans don’t serve breakfast before 8 and we were starving.

That made us realize we needed to pick up a few things and we wondered around a little until we found the German version of Wal-Mart and right beside it was a McDonalds that we thought some of our friends would love since it also had a casino.




After we finished breakfast we finally made it to Friedrichsbad where we toured the ruins of the original Roman bath and then spent about 4 hours soaking, steaming and living the good life.

I found the ruins to be a fascinating lesson in the ingenuity of the ancient Romans. The Bath house was positioned to take advantage of one of the many mineral water springs in the area and then through engineering and creativity the water was heated and channeled through the walls and floors to create a steam chambers leading to the actual bath.

This Photo shows how the floor was elevated using thousands of stone blocks to create the support system needed and to create the channels where the heated water would flow. I wish I had pictures of the actual heating chamber but unfortunately those were destroyed. Basically though men (probably slaves) kept the fires burning 24-7 and the water flowed through channels on all sides of the fire box. To stand and admire this 2000 year old example of engineering is simply amazing.

This next photo shows the channels in the walls. The water also flowed through these creating chambers where the soldiers were completely surrounded by warmth that must have been wonderful and therapeutic especially in the long German winters.

I could have spent many hours exploring if they had only let me go off on my own but wisely they only allow visitors to view from well placed walkways. Below is one more of the floors.

After the very busy fun-filled days in Amsterdam and the natural levels of stress produced by traveling Baden Baden was the perfect place to catch our breath and rejuvenate. There is more but I will leave that for another day or maybe for Karen to post.