Weekend breaks are all the rage, and after using the majority of my holiday for a three-week trip to California, I needed to eek my holiday allowance out in a really creative way this year. But I have caught the travelling bug somewhere along the line, and the need to soak up some culture, not to mention sample some delicious foods is great, so I decided to embrace the city break and take a trip for weekend. But where should I go?
I didn’t have a clue, so I left it in the hands of the Flight Checker, and researched where I could go for less than fifty quid. The results were Germany, Spain or Ireland. So I went with Germany.
Baden-Baden, to be exact.
I knew nothing about the town, only that the footballers had stayed there in the last Euro cup. Which is never a reason to visit a city, but it sounded the prettiest and as I floated the idea to friends, people said how pretty it was. A friend had been to university in nearby Strasbourg, and I decided to book the flights and go. What was the worst that could happen?
And it was stunning. I went in January, when the snow was falling and there was a chill in the air, and spent my forty-eight hours ambling around the little pedestrianised streets. It turns out that is a spa town too (like Bath in the UK) so I obviously had to go and check out the relaxation area and see what all the fuss was about.
I visited the Trinkhalle (where the mineral spring is housed), the Friesrichsbad (baths) and the Kurhaus (casino) and soaked up some of the beautiful architecture on the way. I wandered the paths along the river and climbed the steps to the little church and when I tired I sat in a little bakery and sampled some of the finest black forest gateaux available to me, while sipping earl grey. I felt almost regal, and when I was full I meandered back to my hotel, stopping only for a cocktail in one of the many bars along the streets.
The next day I got up and made my way to the baths. I had been told there were two options, the old and new, and chose the new on the basis that I didn’t have to go through all the steps of being sanded down, washed, dunked and flayed by someone else, in a certain order. The new baths gave me a chance to partake in the bits I wanted to, so I swam in the outdoor pool, surrounded by snow, and wrinkled in the Jacuzzi for what seemed like hours. Hungry, I made a trip to a nearby restaurant and dined on local cuisine like duck and red cabbage. Delicious!
There is a lot to be said for the weekend break, and I only had to take half a day off work to make it to stansted airport in time for the flight. Admittedly I was a bit tired on Monday as our flight got in late, but it was completely worth it for a great trip that would blow away the winter blues and make me feel like I had stepped into somewhere magical.