Baden-Baden

There was none of the pomp and ceremony I was hoping for crossing the border from France into Germany. Not so much as a small signpost! We knew though, as we crossed the expansive river Rhine that we were now in the territory of the leaders of the EU. As Sorties changed to Ausfahrts we merged onto an autobahn where BMWs and Mercs whizzed passed us to our left at an almighty speed. Safest bet was to stay in the middle lane, rather than risk death, or the wrath of one of these drivers, who were in such a hurry by daring to get in their way. With our hybrid in Eco mode, and loaded with luggage, it takes some time to build up to an acceptable speed to fit into the fast lane.

Exactly two hours after leaving Metz, we arrived in Baden-Baden. Baden-Baden is a lovely quiet Bavarian town in the Black Forest, famous for it’s thermal baths. The water comes from the local natural springs. The Caracalla Baths are the best known and are named after the Roman emperor Caracalla, who visited to relieve his arthritic aches. Unfortunately, we didn’t have time to relieve our aches, and Lenny couldn’t promise to be at an agreed place and time when we were done. Instead, we wandered around the main part of town called Marktplatz. This is a pretty pedestrianised area with shops, a fruit market, pubs, restaurants, and, as in every German town, the Rathaus. We had lunch al fresco at Nordsee which at first appeared to be a fairly basic fish and chip take-away but on entering, had a very fine selection of seafood, salads, vegetables, as well as the fish burger and chips option. Lenny got plenty of attention as, like the French, the Germans are big dog lovers. This makes life so much easier when booking accommodation as most hotels will happily allow a dog in the room with you.

Another three hours on the Autobahn (and not a single toll!) brought us to Munich. We were booked into a nice tastefully decorated hotel with a spacious room close to the Hauptbahnhof called Arthotel. It is also within walking distance of the centre. The only issue was that their carpark was fully booked (cannot reserve ahead) but they had a deal with another underground carpark about four blocks away. It was late again by the time we were ready to go for dinner so we found a place close by using our trusty Tripadvisor app (we never leave home without it). We ate Greek tonight at a place called Taverne Diogenis. As usual, when we go Greek, we get mezze – a selection of dishes to share. Grilled octopus, zucchini balls, mixed grill and salad. All dishes were tasty although a little on the salty side for me. We had an errand to do regarding a roof rack the next morning but I will leave Frank to talk you through the ins and outs of that in his next entry.

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