Declaring Undying Love for Baden Baden, Germany

Let me tell you about a little town called Baden Baden. Nestled in gentle rolling hills, it’s one of the most scenic small towns in the state of Baden Württemberg in the Black Forest. It was by far my favorite day trip destination when I was living in Freiburg, Germany. I went to visit the famous Baden Baden thermal baths and loved it there so much I went back to visit 3 times. People liked to make fun of me because they felt like thermal bathing was an activity best left to retirees, but I’d like to think I just have a great taste for the finer things in life.

Here are my tips for planning a day time spa adventure in Baden Baden:

  1. Use the Baden Wüttemberg day ticket when travelling with multiple people: Baden Württemberg Day Ticket Rules

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2. At the Friedrichsbad Spa, you can go the traditional route and do the in depth two hour bathing in the original chambers for around 40 Euros, or you can choose to go next door to the Caracalla spa which is a very nice indoor/outdoor pool. It’s a cheaper and more family friendly option. (Swim trunks are allowed in this section of the thermal baths). It’s the same healing mineral water at a fraction of the price, so if you are uncomfortable bathing without clothes as is required in the original part of the spa, this is the way to go: Caracalla Spa

3. Bring your own towel if possible because otherwise you’ll have to rent one for an outrageous fee. If you don’t have a towel you can buy one at a nearby DM, Germany’s most popular drug store. All the stores in the area are ready to serve incoming tourists with their bathing needs. If you forgot to pack a swimsuit, you can also be sure that H & M will have you covered for a cheap emergency bathing suit.

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4. Try to plan your trip to Baden Baden in the spring when the cherry blossoms are blooming. ‘Nough said 😉

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5. I would say that if you wanted to do some exploring of this hilly town, make sure to squeeze that in before bathing at the mineral baths. My experience is that once you finish bathing the hot water you will be left exhausted, overly relaxed and dehydrated, not a  good recipe for exploring. I know you’re excited to witness the iconic baths, but trust me, if you try to climb all those steps for panoramic views after 3 hours of steamy swimming, you might not end up exploring at all.

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6. Don’t forget to visit one of Baden Baden’s amazing cultural museums. There are several great options to choose from.

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7. There are so many great restaurants and cafe’s to choose from, but if you get overwhelmed by sit down prices and don’t want to cave and go to an American Fast Food Style restaurant, why don’t you give a German Fast Food Franchise a chance. For example, there’s a great chain called Nordsee that sells fish platters and sandwiches and it’s directly on the way to the thermal baths. There’s also a Chinese restaurant really close to the thermal baths called Lotus. I really liked it and it’s really cheap. However, it seems to have mixed reviews on Trip Advisor.

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8. Also, keep in mind that the train station for Baden Baden does not stop in the town center. You will need to pay a few more Euros for a Bus Shuttle into town. That really threw me off the first time I went. If you are scared and confused about how to buy the ticket just ask a local and they’ll gladly walk you through it. There’s a “slow” bus that will make many stops and an “express” bus. Either one shouldn’t take you all that long so just take whichever bus comes first.

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9. Finally, remember that there is no right or wrong way to explore a city. If you want to walk all over town the whole day and learn every cultural and historical thing about Baden Baden, knock yourself out. If you love window shopping, then by golly you should go window shop. If you want to relax in a park somewhere or decide you feel like going to the hotel a little early, take all the time you need. Sometimes life is all about those quiet adventures.

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Hope you all enjoyed this post. For more photos from my travel adventures, follow me on instagram: @colormeadri

See you all next time 🙂

Konstanz on the Bodensee

Last summer I travelled a few times to the beautiful lakeside town of Konstanz. Germans almost universally fantasize about spending summer days on Lake Constance or as the Germans call it “Bodensee”.  Boden means floor or ground in German. See in this context means lake. The name makes perfect sense because this enormous body of water, situated at a lower elevation than its surroundings, is the product of run-off water from the German, Swiss and Austrian Alps. We mostly stayed around Konstanz, but we did take a short ferry ride to another town. Unfortunately the name of that town escapes me but we were still on the German side. Enjoy these photos and see for yourself if you want to join the Germans in their desire to vacation on the Bodensee. Check out this link to plan your trip. 

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Rooftop Garden in Konstanz

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Picturesque Historic Buildings

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Let’s go sailing!

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Alex and I Bodensee

My sister and I waiting for the ferry to take off. (People always think we’re twins).

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Village nearby we reached by the ferry.

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What a view!

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The Alps in the Distance

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Me being a tourist.

 

Painting with Georg

When I lived in Freiburg, Germany I took an art class with a local painter named Georg Schell. I remember the first time my friends and I trekked to his studio located deep into a very wealthy neighborhood known as die Whiere. We climbed up the steps to his studio, and first encountered a hallway filled with rows of water bottles and large paintings carelessly stacked against each other. The studio itself was entirely covered in oil paint smudges, filled to the brink with paintings covering both the walls and ceilings. Georg prized working fast most of all which yielded him an insurmountable collection. He was such a prolific artist, that the town of Breisach in France gifted him a studio, overlooking the scenic countryside. I have met few people more creative and have met no one who dresses quite like him: always dressed formally, with a black vest over a white button down shirt, black slacks, leather shoes, most of the time a nice black hat.

The first class he was a bit too excited to meet us and scared a few people off with a combination of his enthusiasm paired with a tendency to stand a tad too close to people. I left the first class confused because he had given me a single wilting rose to take home. He put it into an empty plastic water bottle with the top cut off. The bottle used to hold carbonated water and was not the most suitable vase, but no one had ever given me a rose before. I left the rose sitting on the kitchen counter in my dorm, which my roommates saw as very sweet. In that way Georg indirectly helped me make friends.

His advice often made no sense. He’d tell us things like, make it purple or use more water, without telling us why. Everyone’s least favorite Georg phrase was “Entschuldige bitte, aber das ist schon fertig”. When Georg said this it meant he thought your painting was finished despite the fact that you probably only worked on it for 3 minutes and you weren’t even sure what it was yet.

Georg emigrated to Germany as a young man from Serbia. He talks lovingly of his mother, but much more lovingly of Alsace in France, wine country. To this day I’m convinced we were enrolled in a wine and food tasting class rather than a painting class. Almost every class ended with the opening of a different bottle of expensive French wine paired with cookies, fancy salamis, pan fried trout, or various fruits. Thanks to Georg I know now that I love white dessert wines and don’t much care for fish eyes or alcoholic free beer.

Leaving Georg on the last day of class was hard. He held everyone’s hands for what seemed like an eternity. With tears in his eyes he pleaded, “Kommt bald wieder”, or please come back soon and visit. The man gave openly to us, beyond what was expected of him, not expecting anything in return. Whenever we shared a glass of wine, he always used to say, “One does not drink wine alone. It’s meant to be shared with friends.” These words, the taste of new foods, new wine, new friends, will never leave my memory.

Why I studied Sociology in undergrad?

I first became interested in the study of Sociology at the age of 11, before I even understood what Sociology meant. During a summer in Boulder, Colorado, we frequented the locally famous Boulder Bookstore, where my mother and I would spend hours exploring the shelves, acquainting ourselves with new reads, and unbeknownst to the both of us, developing new interests entirely.

I became engrossed with a collection of books which discussed modern-day issues, such as runaway capitalism, race relations in America, and food systems in America. Among my first “Sociological” reads were books like Don’t Eat This Book by film maker Morgan Spurlock, and Nickle and Dimed by journalist Barbara Ehrenreich. I was in love. The books I read about fast food made me rethink entirely the choices I made around food and awakened me to the reality that for some families, fast food is one of if not the only options to feed their families. I enjoyed reading books by authors who were active participants in exploring unjust social realities, who championed social reform through the spread of awareness of the problems they perceived around them. I wanted to follow. This is why I chose to study Sociology.

I am still glad I studied Sociology, but leading up to graduation, Sociology in the academic context had begun to feel like the wrong path for me. In undergrad I began feeling like I wasn’t writing papers and putting together projects out of passion, but rather obligation. The spark I originally had for social reform was not sustained.

Sensing that I needed to re-ignite this desire to learn more about the world and its people, I took a different approach, and took a year abroad in Germany and Denmark. I am so glad I did this. My German improved tremendously. I worked on a farm in the Black Forest and learned about sustainability in a class about Green Business practices. I talked to more strangers than I ever thought I’d speak to in the course of my entire life. Most importantly I soaked up the stories of the locals both from direct conversation and eavesdropping. I’m convinced those stories have shaped me and will continue to shape me.

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While I prepare to make goals and plans for the next few years of my life, I hope to take the lessons I’ve learned both in my studies in Sociology and my experiences abroad and use them to enrich other people’s lives somehow. While the manner in which I will achieve this is still partially unclear, I hope at the very least to be a resource to people, and to be a listening ear to the stories of others.

❤ Color Me Adri

Countryside Run

I went on the first run I’ve been on in over a year today. It was pleasant and easy unlike many runs I’ve been on before. It’s been years since I’ve ran competitively or participated in any competitive sport for that matter. It used to compose such a huge part of my identity, but I don’t look back at it as an entirely positive experience.

Junior Year Cross Country Portrait

This is me on the very left, junior year, with my cross country team

Today when I ran I did it for myself. I was feeling lethargic and unsettled and needed simply to move. Before I was much more critical. I started out running cross country with my coaches thinking I had a lot of promise, so I tried my best, sometimes not listening to my body for when it was time to stop.

My first two years I was on varsity. By my sophomore year I became quite anemic, needing to take naps during the day and crying when I woke up from them because it was 8 o’clock I had hours of homework to do and I felt more tired than when I went to sleep. I didn’t realize there was an issue till the end of sophomore year. It’s quite common for young women who run and also young women in general to develop an iron deficiency, so if you are a young female runner I highly recommend getting tested for serum ferritin, your stores of iron. By senior year my iron levels were a lot better and I was ready to take on my last season, but midway through I had to stop due to a hip injury.

I tried on and off during college to run but it always ended up being an activity that I was too critical on myself for. I’d go out wanting to run times I had achieved while actually training competitively and judged myself for my body not looking the way it used to when I was in shape. In college I battled with depression. When I was depressed I often sat for hours not moving at all. There was no one I wanted to see, nothing I wanted to do. I was doing my work for school but little else. I spent more time hiding how unhappy I was than I spent actually trying to heal.

Last semester in Freiburg I got into better shape simply because of the amount of walking it took to get most places there. Working at a farm also helped with gaining a little more muscle. People working at the Lebensgarten were very, very in shape, but not because they wanted to show everyone how muscular they were or beat someone in a competition. They just love to be out in the sun, farming and they know when their bodies are tired. They know when it’s time to sit out and drink coffee and when it’s time to call “Feierabend”.

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Lebensgarten Dreisamtal

So here I am with a new fit body that for once was gained almost purely by accident in an attempt to achieve something good for the earth, as opposed to getting it by being hard on myself and pushing limits that weren’t meant to be pushed. I hope to approach life in a similar way. I want to stop being so critical, overanalyzing every perceived flaw that I have in order to finally give myself over to something greater, to be in tune with the world around me, to finally love myself the way I show love to the world around me.