Yodeling & Nude Bathing

(OK, have I got your attention again?)

It's hard to be objective in summarizing our 10 day loop by car when just getting out of "prison" was such a joy, but I'll be as objective as I can. The countryside in Bavaria was lush green & beautiful. When the drive was hilly, I was in awe of all the layers of scenery-- sometimes trees & smooth grass, other times patches of cultivated farm land with precision-spaced rows of crops. The neighboring large cultivated patch might be at a different angle with a different green, but each row precisely spaced. German engineering, right?
Then in a turn in the narrow road, we'd spy the next village off in the green hills. All roof tops the same color... all clustered together into a small community, leaving the luxurious land between villages a lovely, uninterrupted patchwork of greens. Can you tell I like green?

We saw MANY ancient walled villages in the loop, but my favorite was Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany, our first stop. Laurie had insisted that we book our stay at Hotel Goldener Hirsch with a room overlooking "the view," which she would not describe. (I LOVE surprises!)

What a charming OOLLLLDDDD town with storybook beauty -- very narrow cobbled roads, thick stone wall encircling the town, lovely old stone buildings housing shops, food, & lodging. Nicole & Peter were terrific hosts & real characters! Because Nicole remembered my little clan's visit a few months back, she booked the same rooms for us so we could enjoy The View Laurie promised. WOW! All the greens you could imagine in the valley below our room, which also overlooked the town's wall & an ancient stone bridge in the distance. It was breathtaking. (Don't let the cheesy-cake pic below spoil the view... and YES, it's definitely OK to laugh!) Breakfast was an elegant affair overlooking The View & featuring traditional German breakfast foods-- juice, fruits, muesli, various sliced meats (ham, salami, & sliced sausages), wonderful baguettes & other yummy carbs, butter, sliced cheeses, boiled eggs, coffee, tea, milk. My hips expand as I write...

Another memorable highlight of our car trip was reaching the Mosel & Rhine rivers so we could take brief cruises on both. We saw castles, green vineyards, colorful waterfront towns, & the locks! I preferred the less commercial lazy Mosel, but both were lovely.

Then off we go for a longer day of driving a la Shirley in Greg's fun Cooper to my 2nd favorite Bavarian town, Baden-Baden, Germany. It had its

share of quaint ancient stone buildings & roads (see our hotel), as well as modern streets lined with trees & very exclusive shops. But sitting outside on a glorious day eating skewed shrimp salads at the trendy Wall Street Bistro, I couldn't count the number of chic, young fashionistas in strapless sundresses & fancy high-heeled shoes strolling through the cobblestone plaza (Why don't they ever fall on their face & twist their ankles?!) I suspect we even shared the same air with a few international movie stars. Let's just say that in Greg's Walmart wardrobe & my 1 elegant Ace-bandage open-toed "shoe," we made a unique fashion
statement here. Also, this was one EXPENSIVE town.

Did Greg pick Baden-Baden to enjoy its rich, elegant lifestyle? or its excellent symphony with free performances each day at 4pm?

No. When we arrived, I learned that Greg was intrigued by its 2 mineral water spas-- very elegant affairs in old historic buildings resembling palaces. The town's healing waters draw folks far & wide. OK, I was surprised that this appealed to my husband. What an unexpected treat! The spa Greg had in mind for us was the older, very classic one, with tall vaulted ceilings, painted stone walls, marble statues, reminiscent of the Roman baths I read about as a Latin major.
It featured saunas, exfoliating rubdown, massage, hot water, cold water, in-between water, but always nude water. Minor OMG here! He saved that surprise for last! This would take some mind-molding for me. As modest as I am (VERY), what are the odds that anyone will know me, right? Besides, I'll take my glasses off, so I won't know who's looking. Plus medicinal water means it might help my ankle. Yes! Finally, only 2 of the rooms we'll visit as we step through the process would be co-ed. OK then! I bought 2 admit tickets. Next I headed for the pharmacy to buy more medicine-goo to rub on what was left of The Egg. I enjoyed a chat with the druggist, laughing about my plans to go to the spa. SHE NIXED THE IDEA FLAT! It would worsen the swelling in my foot & lower leg. I honestly didn't know whether to be relieved about the nudity or upset about the lost money. Modesty vs money-- a real dilemma for Cheryl. But all ended well when our kind hotel owner totally refunded our money for the tickets. Phew in both regards:) We'd both enjoy visiting Baden-Baden again, and not just to see if I can do "it."

Neuschwanstein Castle- Couldn't see this :(
Linderhof Castle- We did see this :)

The last biggies on our loop through Bavaria are my favorite castle we couldn't visit & my favorite castle we did visit. If I could see only 1 castle, it would have been Neuschwanstein, a fairytale castle built by Crazy King Ludwig II. Unfortunately the day was drizzly, & I was warned that the long walk to reach it from the distant parking lots would be dangerous with a wimpy foot & 1 crutch. Travel books vote it THE castle to see. (self-pitying whine here) But of all the castles we could visit, my favorite was Linderhof, the smallest of Ludwig's castles. Designed to emulate Versailles on a much smaller scale, I found it more beautiful than Versailles, which is way beyond my merely-mortal taste.

Ah, yes... What about "Yodeling" in the title? WE DIDN'T HEAR ANY! I suspect it's all fake.... I resorted to yodeling myself, which wasn't pretty in our little cocoon of a car.

ANKLE UPDATE THROUGH BADEN-BADEN: Really looking good!! Hardly any Egg left! Yes, in Laurie's apt I could put weight on my foot, but I wasn't supposed to. Plus I found that after about 30 minutes I really needed to unweight my foot as it quickly got tired. Plus I'd be NUTS to walk on any cobbles or up/down all the stairs with that foot. So I graduated to ONE crutch:) But there was no pain, just swelling by day's end. I was getting pretty good with my one crutch, thanks to Peter in our Rothenburg hotel. "Let me show you how to use that thing! It's adjusted too high!" Whooohooo:)

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