blending an assortment of thoughts and experiences for my friends, relations and kindred spirit

blending an assortment of thoughts and experiences for my friends, relations and kindred spirit
By Alison Hobbs, blending a mixture of thoughts and experiences for friends, relations and kindred spirits.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Bad Wildbad and Maulbronn

Palais Thermal, Bad Wildbad
I blogged about spa towns before, last year, when we had spent a few days in Bad Pyrmont. There's a large number of them in Germany, Baden-Baden, Wiesbaden, Marienbad being famous examples. The word Bad means "Bath". Names ending in "...bronn", such as Heilbronn, also signify a source of water, (Brunnen is the modern German word for a spring).

I notice that many Germans order alcohol-free drinks these days, presumably because they want to be safe drivers. In Pforzheim last week we kept being served bottles of Teinacher mineral water. One has to pay for drinking water at German eateries, so it might as well be of good quality. Teinacher was a sponser of this year's wine festival, the Oechslefest.

On Monday afternoon, August 25th, I went to visit a lovely little spa town in the hills of the Black Forest, Bad Wildbad, ein Wellnessparadies, as it says in the current publicity. As soon as I stepped out of the S6 tram at the Kurpark stop I was in the gardens, a café with outdoor tables right beside me, and because it was lunchtime, I immediately sat down at one of them to order a Goulaschsuppe. Then I went for a blissful walk, enjoying the shade of the trees and restful sound of running water on this hot day. In 1699, Duke Eberhard Ludwig of Wurttemberg planted an avenue of hornbeams here; since then the park has spread on either side of the River Enz to include around 15 kilometers of trails. The main trails follow the bank of the upper Enz on either side, leading to a meadow in the forested hills, sometimes used as a landing strip for hanggliders. Flower beds enhance it:

The park, enjoyed by all generations, is beautifully decorated by features like an old water wheel and an Archimedean screw. The lucky children of Bad Wildbad have access to marvellous adventure playgrounds. Pictures of the plants, animals and birds to be discovered here are posted at regular intervals; there's a "Swan Lake" (duck pond, actually) and the inevitable Matschbad (mud bath) for feet. Rocky cliffs, running streams, lawns and forest form a most satisfying landscape.

Old man and his Dachshund, walking in the Kurpark

Rocks and flowers in the Kurpark
By the River Enz at Bad Wildbad

Englische Kirche in
Bad Wildbad Kurpark
Rathaus, Bad Wildbad
An interesting feature is the Englische Kirche, built in the style of a medieval country church for the benefit of British guests in the 19th century; sometimes they would stay here for many weeks, taking the cure. Anglican services were held here regularly until the start of the 1st World War. Around the church (and in front of the railway station too), giant trees have been grown from seeds sent from California.

Bad Wildbad itself features fountains, foot bridges and a pedestrianised shopping streets with colourful awnings: Wilhelmstraße. It has some posh hotels, and the façade of its Rathaus is covered with geraniums. The rocky Enz flows right through the centre of town.


Fountain at Maulbronn
In the monastery complex, preserved as in the 16th century
A couple of days later, I took the bus to Maulbronn to visit the Kloster (12th century monastery) complex, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Within the walls the buildings are still as they would have appeared in the 16th century. In the monastery are fragments of catholic wall paintings that had been whitewashed over during the Reformation, and within the abbey's cloisters is a beautiful fountain.

Grapes, Maulbronn
I climbed some very steep steps to the path round the outer wall of the monastery complex, leading to the "deep lake" that used to supply the monastery with its water. Dozens of lizards were sunbathing up there. They scuttled away and hid under stones when they noticed me. The Tiefer See is being enjoyed these days as a Naturbad for outdoor swims. I just wished I'd brought my swimsuit with me. On the other side of the wall were extensive vineyards, with grapes almost ready to be harvested. The monks used to cultivate them, and the vines are still there.

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