Old grandeur of a spa town
Even if you won’t spend much time in Bad Kreuznach (like I did with only three hours in May 2009), you cannot help but notice the many fine old houses around the “Kur” (spa/health) section, which show how important Bad Kreuznach was already since a long time. I loved these villa like houses, some with beautiful carved wooden balconies (main photo) and then the old villa in photos 2-4 with the rich wisteria growing and forming a natural decoration for the balcony. The paint at the walls of this house is in need of restoring, and it might take some time until the owner do it, but imagine to live in the first floor (US: second) and have breakfast or an evening wine at this balcony with the aroma of this wisteria…. The house on my last photo was home to a famous local woman photographer, Nelli Schmithals. Her story is exciting but with a very tragic end. She was born 1880 and started to take photos very early, a pioneer in photography. She was the only one who documented the flood desatser in Bad Kreuznach early 20th century and her photos made her famous. She was even allowed to take photos during the French occupation of the city after WW I when it was forbidden for locals. An oficer saw her flood photos and commented that she is an artist, that’s why she got the allowance. She was creative and innovative and documented many events and also archaelogical work around the region. But at the end of WW II all her equipment was stolen and she didn’t have money to replace it. No one helped her and she did not take any photo since 1945. She died 1975. Can you imagine how life would be without the possibility of taking photos when this was once your life, your passion? I felt very moved when I learned about her story.
This is a fairly recent fest for Bad Kreuznach - maybe in the last 20 years. People get out on the water in little boats and try to joust one another into the water, similar to a festival in Mainz, I think. Also like the nearby Rhineland-Pfalz capital city, Bad Kreuznach has a parade on Rosenmontag complete with floats with young women pouring free wine to an adoring crowd - you gotta bring your own glass! Some of the crowd really get into this parade as they chase their favorite float down the street throwing back each offering with one big gulp - all the better to get ready for the next float!
NEW RIVER BARRIER
Severe flooding has led to an ambitious and spendy program of flood control. Natural barriers were built amongst the riverside parks along with long walls that are penetrated by several large metal doors. The doors are not normally in place, hidden away in some local warehouse to be brought out at times of potential flooding.
BAD KREUZNACH - KUR TOWN FOR THE KAISER
Bad Kreuznach is a quiet town only about 20 km south of the touristic circus of the Rhine Canyon. It has long been a town where Armies have been stationed, whether German, French or American. The armies have now left, but plenty of tourists - mostly Germans on Kur - still throng the city. Most of the kurhotels are along the Nahe river. People can walk along the river through beautiful parks along the Nahe or they can hike up into forested hills that abruptly rise south and west of the city.
One of the more unique features of walking along the Nahe River are the gradierwerks in the Salinental. They are basically like huge outdoor vaporizers where water is pumped up into long towers and then percolated down through branches which give off the vaporizing effects. The Kurgaeste enjoy walking around the gradierwerks, breathing the air, sitting on the benches. On a nice sunny day, it is easy to while away part of the day sitting, watching the water and the spray.
The Nahe river valley flattens out as it goes through Bad Kreuznach en route to its mixing with the waters of the Rhine, 20 km to the north in Bingen am Rhine. But Bad Krueznach (or 'BK' as it is affectionately known to more than one American servicemember who had the opportunity to share its hospitality) is sited right at the exit of a deep wooded canyon, where the Nahe has emerged from the hilllands of the Palatinate. 5 Km to the south, is the next kurtown with a typical Germanic tonguetwisting name of Bad Muenster am Stein/Ebernburg. This town is very pretty, hugging the banks of the Nahe while canyon walls steeply rise high above, festooned with the occasional castle to remind you that you are indeed in Europe. And of course, the dramatic Rotenfels are here, rising 300m above the river, draped with steeply pitched vineyards and crowned by wonderful forests.
Bad Kreuznach's primary tourist symbol is the 'Brueckenhauser' or bridge houses. The bridgehouses
The third week of August, the city puts on the annual Jahrmarkt. Many towns have similar fairs in this part of Germany - wine country - which date from much earlier times. The city is the heart of the Nahe wine region - one of the smaller and lesser known of Germany's wine regions. Though the region is small, outstanding wines are made here, in part, due to the demandingness of the sites where the grapes are grown, but also due to the art of the vinters. At the Jahrmarkt, you can taste many of the local wines in a large Oktoberfest-sized tent. Easy paths go along the river making it easy to return to your room afterwards. It is a big fest and locals look forward to it every year.