I flew into Baden Baden to meet up with my Dad, who was spending a few days in Tübingen. RyanAir wasn’t quite as cheap as I was hoping it would be, but I was booking last minute. A convenient airport was Baden Baden (Bath Bath) so there I was.
My first night, I ate dinner and went to bed. The next day, Dad wanted to meet me in Baden Baden to tour the town. It was a three hour train/bus ride for him, so I went to the Friedrichsbad Spa. As the nice check-in woman said, “It is both genders, textile-free.”
So, yes, away I went! No photos so use your imagination (please don’t). I walked into the large locker room where I used my wristband to access. As soon as I went through the turnstile, there was a box that said deposit wristband here. So, even though I thought it was a little weird, I did what I was told. What a dumb bunny! Of course, I should have kept it and deposited it at the end. But now, what could I do? I waited to long so the turnstile locked and now I had no sign that I was even supposed to be there. So, I crawled under the turnstile, went back to the front desk, and got another wristband. By the way, in case you were worried, this entire part took place clothed.
Take two! Off to the locker room and then, to the baths! A person can do any of the baths/steam rooms/saunas they choose, or one can follow the 17-step prescription. I decided to do that, although I really had no idea what I was getting myself into.
So, first you lie down on your towel-sheet on wooden loungers in two progressively hotter dry sauna rooms. There are little signs that tell you the degrees centigrade and recommended duration. There are clocks in almost every room, so it’s pretty regimented rather than a “lose all of sense of time” spa experience.
Next, you go into two progressively hotter steam rooms where there is hot springs water directly piped in and visible on one side of the wall. It is out of reach so no one can directly scald themselves, but the rooms are very hot and humid. The first room felt a little rough (10 min!), but the second felt like an endurance event (5 min!). It didn’t feel great, but I told myself to be tough and follow the orders!
After the steam room, there were three baths of successive cooler water- warm, lukewarm, cold. It was nice to bring the body temp gradually and the cold plunge, while shockingly bracing, felt great.
To my surprise, there were no hot tubs! What!? I totally thought there would be at least one onsen-like hot tub. Wrong.
Then, I deviated from the prescription and repeated the steam room and cold plunge (showering in between- I’m not a sweaty savage!). After that, I applied lotion and then went in the rest room where I wrapped myself up in a blanket that was very cocoon-like. Supposedly, the attendant tucks you but I think I blew that chance when I deviated from the order.
Finally, you end in the reading room where you can lie back and enjoy tea, although I was nervous about spilling the hot liquid. Although maybe that could be a mini-hot tub experience?
So, who was there? Well, it wasn’t too crowded. More men than women, but it was definitely a mixed crowd. Some people were on their own, while others were in pairs. The pairs seemed mostly to be guy friends and man-woman couples. Most people seemed to be in their 30-50s, so not filled with old creepers or young kids (min age is 14). I didn’t make any eye contact because frankly, I don’t love eye contact so I often look away and what if it looked like I was looking down!?!?! Awkward!
After my bath, I showered, dressed, and headed out to meet Dad for lunch. We walked around the slightly busy downtown. We considered going to the car show, but we decided to go back to the hotel and eat at the beer garden. Then, we went to the old Roman bath ruins, which were pretty neat. Very hot- I could tell we were near the springs!
Also, FYI, if you’re more into bathing suits, there is another spa next door that allow bathing suits in most (but not all?) areas. And maybe there are hot tubs!?!
Then, we went on a never-ending train ride. The power to Stuttgart and the surrounding tracks had been disrupted +/- striking workers (this was harder to verify) caused several train cancellations. Dad and I ultimately went North a bit, and then headed South through Stuttgart which seemed to be an unaffected direction. All in all, it took just under 6 hours to get to Tübingen which was a lot. But I was glad I was with Dad and, our saving grace, Google Maps and my international data plan!
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