It rained overnight, and so it was quite overcast and damp when we woke up. Neither of us slept very well, and so we were awake early and ready to get moving. The hotel had a really nice breakfast, and we set off on our way to Germany well before 0900.
The weather was quite cool, and I stopped to zip my waterproof liner into my bike jacket. It was not actually needed in the end, but rather safe than sorry. We burned up the kilometres along the Autoroute de l’Est, and left it it after about 180km had passed.
Without any fanfare, border posts or even a cursory notification, we were in Germany. We finally were off the motorways, and wound our way through Baden Baden and up into the Black Forest. Twisty, windy roads and beautiful forest views accompanied us for the last hour of our travels.
We got into Bad Wildbad around midday. We are staying at a well appointed by slightly decaying spa hotel in this small Swabian town. Our room was not ready, so we walked through the pretty town and sat outside a restaurant by the river. I had a pork Schnitzel which was great, and a local beer which was even better. Lena had a grilled trout which she enjoyed immensely.
Back to the hotel, and our room was ready, we changed out of biking gear, and then walked less than 100 meters to the Sommerbergbahn, a funicular railcar that climbs almost 300 meters in a 700 meter stretch, from down in the valley to the top of the Sommerberg. The views from the top are stunning – green forest and valleys as far as the eye can see.
In the forest at the top is the Baumwipfelpfad, a walkway built high up in the trees. We had a walk through, and were treated to even more fabulous views. The walkway ended at a spiral tower, 40 meters high, which gives one an unfettered vista of forest in 360 degree technicolor glory.
Back down the steep rail to our hotel, changed into bathrobes, and then wandered across the courtyard to the spa. Like nearby Baden Baden, this town is blessed with thermal springs, and they have built a whole spa complex, with saunas, pools, showers, plunge pools, steam rooms and more. We did a bit of exploring around the 3 floors of facilities, and then commenced activities with a sauna and then a swim.
We could not help noticing that there was a notice as soon as you left the first floor of the spa, saying something like “from this point onward, you are required to not wear a bathing suit when using the facilities”. Basically, clothing is optional on the first floor, but thereafter, the breeze is your only modesty. The Germanic folk are generally very comfortable with nudity, and it was quite relaxing to be swimming, sauna-ing, plunging, showering and having a kleine bier on the sunny top deck without the encumbrance of any cover.
We spent a couple of hours enjoying the spa, then went back to our room and got dressed (somewhat to our disappointment) for dinner. We meandered further along the river that runs through this small town to Hotel Alte Linde, and had a nice meal and a tasty bottle of Beaujolais.
I have been suffering from cramp in my calf for the last couple of days, but as I subjected it to a severe pummelling from a high-pressure jet in one of the spa pools, I am hoping that my right calf will be a bit more relaxed and easier to use tomorrow.
Gute Nacht, meine Lieben