Meister's European Vacation

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Flag of Germany  , Baden-Württemberg,
Monday, May 9, 2011

We're going to be doing a lot of traveling the for the next week or so.  Yesterday was the start of all of it.  We left Mittenwald with our final destination being a spa town on the north edge of the black forest called Baden-Baden.In order to get there we had to take a regional train from Mittenwald to Munich.  From the Munich Passing station we grabbed a doner kabob (gryo) for lunch then hopped on the train from Munich to Stuttgart.  Then from Stuttgart we went to Karlsruhe.  Then finally from Karlsruhe to Baden-Baden.  Then from the Baden-Baden train station we had to take a bus into downtown that took about 15 minutes.  It was more difficult to plan than to actually do. We've learned to enjoy our travel days as time to just sit back and enjoy it.  The train from Karlsruh to Baden-Baden is famous for the number of tunnels it goes though.  We didn't realize that until we had gone through about a dozen.  I guess there are more than 30 on the short route.We weren't sure what to expect in Baden-Baden and we almost didn't go there at all.  It ended up being a very rich town, very different from the places we have been to recently.  Right by our hotel there was a big park with a huge fountain.  The main area of town was a short walk down the road and was lined with high end shops, many of which I have never heard of before and I think can only be found in this town.  One of the main reasons I wanted to come here was to go to the casino.  It was supposed to be one of the most amazing casinos in the world.  They describe it as a James Bond casino with golden walls and painted ceiling where everyone plays roulette and baccarat.  The casino was right next to the orchestra philharmonic building and when we went in it turns out you have to pay to get into the casino.  After finding where to get our tickets to get in, we were very politely told we couldn't go in because there was a dress code of a sports jacket, tie, and nice shoes.  I hadn't brought my suit from home one this trip so we were out of luck.  It was probably the nicest place we have been kicked out of so far.  The rest of the night we just wandered around the town, not having too much to do and most everything already being closed since it is Sunday.  Everything in Germany is closed on Sundays.This morning we decided to go to the famous spa's in town.  We're not really spa people, but we came all this way and our hotel gave us a coupon, and since we couldn't go to the casino we thought why not give it a shot.  It ended up being not really a spa like any I have ever heard of.  The downstairs was all pools and hottubs.  There were probably about seven or eight of them, all very large with waterfalls and fountains, and all of different temperatures.  All the them were warm to hot except for one cold pool with a tall waterfall that rushed down from the ceiling.  It ended up being pretty cool.  Every fifteen minutes or so one feature in the pool would stop, such as the waterfall, then something else would start, like the water jets.  It really was kind of like being at an adult Soak City.  It ended up being a lot more fun than expected.  I ended up leaving my swimsuit behind because by this point it was just disguisting.  I think all the motor oil in ocean in Thailand maimed it, then the salt in the Dead Sea killed it.  Since then it has just been crammed in the bottom of my pack.  I think it came from Target so no big loss. At around 3pm we had to leave Baden-Baden so that we could get to Triburg in time to find a hotel.  The train ride took a couple hours since again there wasn't a direct route.  Tribug is in the middle of the Black Forest, which is supposed to be a different world than the rest of Germany.  The Black Forest is famous for 3 things; cuckoo clocks, black forest cake, and black forest ham.  Pretty much the whole reason we were going was to get a clock, but we might as well get some cake too as long as we're here.When we got to town we were still completely relaxed from the spa.  Then we had to hike uphill for about a mile into town with our packs on, which have gotten ridiculously heavy.  We were both sweaty messes by the time we got to the main part of town, which wasn't anymore than a 'T' in the road with some shops and a few restaurants.  They did have a travel center though, and they found us a good hotel right down the main road for a good price.  As crazy as it seems, this is the first time we have showed up to a town without having a place to stay.  It ended up being pretty easy.  We rewarded our success with black forest cake, which is kind of like a casada/tirimisu in that it has a bunch of layers.  The bottom is rum cake, then a layer of cherries, then white cake, then a big layer of whipped cream, then chocolate cake, then more whipped cream with shaved chocolate on top.  Not bad.Triberg is pretty deep in the forest, but it is a nice small little tourist town.  Besides the things I mentioned before Triburg also has the longest waterfall in Germany that cascades down a hill over big mossy rocks.  We hiked to the waterfall in the late afternoon, it doesn't get dark here until after 9:00.  It was only about a five minute hike from the main road, and it was pretty awesome.  We went out for pizza for dinner, it seems to be our mainstay dinner in Europe since it's easy to find and usually reasonably priced, and still awesome.  By the time we were done eating it was dark.  At night they light up the waterfall, so we hiked back quick to see it lit up before heading back for the night.  
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