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Baden-Baden: Returning to a Fairy Tale

May 8, 2012

Have you ever heard of the Brothers Grimm’s tales? Have you read them? I was a big fan when I was a kid. Cinderella, Snow White and Rapunzel would help me get away from my childhood problems and despairs, such as a broken doll, upcoming visit to a dentist office, or even my parents’ divorce. Those tales tempted me to believe that there were magic kingdoms where anything could have a happy ending. And when I closed my eyes, I would imagine myself among those beautiful castles that were so lovingly drawn in the book illustrations. And now, after many years, I can actually see the castles of my dreams and imagination, and experience the overwhelming nostalgia for my childhood when I go to Southern Germany.

I just came back from a fabulous vacation that I spent with my family in Baden-Baden, a thermal baths resort town located in the foothills of the famous German Schwartzwald, or Black Forrest, which is mesmerizing with its spectacular views. Someone said: “Baden-Baden is so nice, you have to name it twice.” And it truly captures the essence of this place. It’s nice. You won’t find passion or extreme here, but you will enjoy the relaxing routine of a wealthy German lifestyle provided that it’s exactly what you’re looking for. I was. I needed to get away from the hustle that my life has become for the past months and just contemplate the awakening of the vernal nature, good food, and my own tranquility.

Walking every day down the Lichtentaler Alley that stretches for several miles along a picturesque river on one side and a lovely park on the other, I was so touched by the serenity surrounding me. After having the most tender white asparagus that has become a trademark of this region for lunch, we would dip our bodies in the tingling natural mineral water of the local thermal spa that features several indoor-outdoor pools with water at various temperatures and numerous health-enhancing accessories.

Afternoons and evenings were devoted to shopping on the narrow cobblestoned pedestrian streets and dining out at cozy German restaurants. Sometimes we would venture out to the mountains in a quest for an old haunted castle. Sometimes we would spend hours at Café Konig with dessert galore on display, indulging in supple, rich flavors. But more often we would just enjoy each other’s company and lose track of time in never-ending conversations about life.

Baden-Baden will not entice you if you’re looking for urban splash, but it will charm and intrigue you if you’re looking to slow down and distress. There must be something about this place if 19th century aristocracy including the Romanov family would frequently visit it, and authors of classic literature would come here in search of inspiration and a little hope. It’s simply a paradise within the scenic German countryside.

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