I was in the mood for some bratwurst

Trip Start Aug 19, 2007
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Germany  ,
Tuesday, October 23, 2007

    One of the things I've always envied about people in Europe was that they were so close to other countries and with all the cheap airlines, they could take weekend trips and get away for a few days quite easily.  This past weekend I got to be one of those people!  I had a few days off of school since it was the end of the first half of the semester (there are two periods in the semester, but they don't call them quarters).  Tommy said he could take a day off and was looking on-line to see where to go and found a 1SEK ticket each way.  Total with taxes and everything it came to 340SEK for both of us.  For those needing some conversion, $1 = 7SEK, well it did when I came in August, but now the lovely dollar has fallen to about 6.4 SEK, the lowest in history!  What are you people doing over there while I am gone? :)  Anyways, the round trip plane ticket was less than $25 per person on Ryanair. Ryanair was fine, even though they are always looking for cost cutting measures (you buy all drinks and snacks and pay to check luggage), for the ticket price it was well worth it.  They have recently started this charge for checking in at the airport, trying to encourage more to use on-line check in, yet another cost cutting measure.  However, you must have an EU passport to check in on-line.  Luckily neither airport enforced that fee since I had to check in at the airport.

When we bought the tickets to Baden-Baden Germany, neither of us had heard of it and weren't sure where in Germany it was, but soon found out it was the Black Forest region and considered to be one of the most beautiful areas of Germany.  We have our theories that a lot of Germans vacation there since there are beautiful lakes and forests, which are not abundant in the other areas of the country.  Plus, all the accommodation websites were in German, with no choice for other languages. 

We landed in Baden-Baden Friday afternoon, rented a car and drove to the city center (it's quite a small town).  As many of you have probably guessed from the name, Baden-Baden is a very popular spa town, with healing mineral water. There are two main baths, but it was the Friedrichsbad that everyone recommended.  It's 17 steps including warm bath, cold baths, saunas, and a brush massage by a German woman.  It's also done completely in the nude.  On the day that we went, some of the stages were segregated by gender, but then a few stages were mixed.  It was an extremely relaxing experience, even if I had to quickly learn how to say '15' in German so I would know when the massage lady was calling my number.  We stayed in Hotel Am Markt, a very nice and economical place, which I'd recommend, even with the lovely old church right outside the window with ringing bells every 15 minutes.
Saturday we got up and drove down road 500, which is supposed to be one of Germany's most beautiful roads, as it winds through the Black forest.

There were cute little towns all along the way, with the HUGE German houses. We stopped and watched one wedding with people dressed up in military attire shooting these LOUD guns, saw the worlds largest cuckoo clock (the Black forest is where the wonderful annoying cuckoo clocks are made), and ended the night at Titisee-Neustadt.  We staying a hostel there, I wanted to see if I could still do hostels.  It was fine, but of course it wasn't the high season so we had our own room, which is always nice in a hostel.

Sunday morning we woke up and it was SNOWING!!! It was strange to think we had flown two hours south and found snow.  It was picking up as we were driving and we even saw trucks salting the Autobahn.  Yes, we, well Tommy, drove on the Autobahn.  He like to call out 'fast Mercedes/BMW/Porsche coming up on the left' and then we'd watch it whoosh by.  It wasn't nearly as scary as I thought, although a few people did go quite fast.  

We were thinking of going to a lake by the Switzerland boarder to see the Alps in the back of the lake, but with the snow we didn't think we would see anything.  Instead we headed north up to the Maulborn Monastery, a UNESCO world heritage site.  It was quite impressive.  Then we headed to the airport and was back in Sweden by the evening.

A great weekend get-away!
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