January 24, First, let me apologize. So I stayed overnight. I headed out to take photos before it got dark and found my heart lifted by the brightly lit shops on cobblestone streets, the parks, the river, the Black Forested hills ringing the town, and the Trinkhalle, a columned building with romantic frescoes of maidens on the outside.
Inside the Trinkhalle, in addition to a ticket booth for opera and theater performances, is a splendid bar. And the jewelry is not the only thing that summons the image of Liz and Dick: I did win 20 euros on roulette but soon lost it on blackjack.
A kindly octogenarian I was soon to see naked, translated: He neglected to describe his bathing attire. Unlike the modern Caracalla Spa next door, where bathing suits are worn, in the Friedrichsbad, the dress code is nude. At the start, after I was briskly instructed to leave my clothes in the locker, I longed for a towel. After a couple of hours, though, I was almost used to it.
I was also convinced that anyone older than 5 looks best clothed. My fellow bathers were women of varying ages and men, many long past Nearly all were pale, German and sedate. Melanie and Nina — two young German women who had gallantly offered to accompany me after I had opened the door to the first pool and screamed aloud that there was a naked man in it — and I stayed about two hours before we called it a day and returned to the women-only area. We dipped into the icy plunge and took a final shower.
And then came the best part. We were taken into a darkened room filled with beds. We hopped up onto our beds, then were swaddled tightly in blankets and left to rest peacefully, like infants, on our backs.
Baden-Baden is easily accessible from Autobahn 5 from the Heidelberg area by driving south toward Basel and Stuttgart. From Heidelberg, the drive is about 90 minutes. Leave A-5 at the Baden-Baden exit and follow B and the signs to the city, about five miles to the east. The Friedrichsbad is open 9 a.
Monday through Saturday and noon to 8 p. Men and women bathe separately on Mondays and Thursdays. The Caracalla Spa is open 8 a. Both baths are closed on Good Friday and Dec. The casino opens daily at 2 p. The Caracalla costs 12 euros for two hours, 14 euros for three hours and 16 euros for four. Cafes, restaurants, even grocery stores abound in town.
Baden-Baden residents wear fur without worry. One gentleman nearby actually sported spats.