Friedrichstollen: Entrance To The Underworld
The door in the steep hill slope behind Friedrichsbad isn't really off the beaten path but usually overlooked. This is the entrance to a system of 19th century tunnels, 160 m long, that lead to four hot springs in the Florentinerberg hill. The temperature range of these natural springs is 64 to 67.5 degrees Celsius.
The tunnels are not accessible for visitors.
In front of the Kurhaus are two rows of shops and boutiques, the Colonnades. These house very expensive, exclusive shops, and it is nice to stroll through the Colonnades and window shop. During Christmas, this is the home of Baden-Baden`s Christkindelsmarkt, and is a particularly beautiful location with the backdrop of the Kurhaus and the Colonnades lit up with thousands of lights.
The Christmas Market in Baden Baden lasts from 25th November until 22nd December.
Hang Gliding on Merkurberg
Merkurberg has become a popular hang gliding base in recent years. A big gale in 1999 (the infamous “Lothar”) has left large clearings in the forest around the summit and the local hanggliding club has, in close contact with the authorities and in regard of protection of nature, been able to establish two starting points, one to the west and one to the northeast.
On fine days there are often hang gliders around and you can watch them from close by.
See a hang glider take off in my travelogue
In case you are a hang glider and want to fly from Merkurberg: Yes you can, though not ‘just like that’. Apologies because I do not know a thing about hang gliding but I have read the information boards on the mountain top... The base on Merkurberg is controlled by the local hang gliding club named Schwarzwaldgeier, the “Black Forest Vultures”. Everyone can fly there but you must have a licence, buy a day membership and be instructed about the area by one of them. Check out their website and/or contact them for terms and conditions and all details: www.schwarzwaldgeier.de
Baldreit and Stiftskirche
The beautiful courtyard of the house named Baldreit is well hidden and you have to know which passageway through a house to enter, or you won't find it.
This lady was extremely agitated about something she was reading. I did not understand much of it. Must have been about politics.
I tried to calm her but without success. She would not stop shouting.
It was scary. So I finaly hid behind a lantern to get out of her way.
This staircase leads uphill from Baldreit towards baden-Baden's main church. We had to climb a lot of stairs and steep slopes in the old town.
This is the church. It is big and old, partly medieval, and has a high steeple to be seen among the hills and houses.
The foundtain of Mary next to the church provided a sunny seat for me.
The mary figure on top of the column is no sculpture as you may think at first sight. It is a flat piece of tin, cut out in the shape of the figure and painted.
On the hilltop above the spa quarter and the church we see the so-called New Palace. It is closed and neglected and slowly crumbling. Some years ago the Margraves of Baden sold it to a rich investor who planned to turn it into a luxury hotel. Invenstro went bankrupt, sold it again, new owner does not do anything about it either. No one knows what will become of it.