Naked people and cuckoo clocks
Baden Baden literally translates to Bath Bath and the natural hot springs have been around since at least the Roman Empire. They later became a social center for 19th century European nobility. Now it mostly caters to slightly aging German tourists ... and us.
After perusing the town for a few hours we visited the Friedrichsbad for a ritualistic cleansing known as the Roman-Irish Bath.
The harmonious bathing sequence (a 16-step ritual) is said to regenerate mind, body and soul.
The changing temperatures and varying baths, with their thermally generated, mineral-rich waters, scented saunas and the infamous soap & brush massage on a marble slab table given by a calm German lady with a rough hand (my back looks like I got into a cat fight, but it was totally worth it) adds to the overall experience. Oh and you're buck nekkid the entire time.
This is somewhat new to the prude nature of Americans, but sitting in a whirlpool between an 80-year-old man and prepubescent teenager is anything but strange here.
When your fingers start to prune and you feel squeaky clean, you are led into a quiet room where you lay on a table as attendants wrap you in a cocoon of blankets to slip off into prenatal unconsciousness. After 30 minutes you emerge as a naked human-butterfly person and bask in the glory of your total relaxation metamorphosis.
We did this - twice.
But a trip to the Black Forest is not complete without visiting a cuckoo clock museum, as this is what the region is also famous for, so on day three we pulled ourselves out of unconsciousness and took a scenic drive through the forest.
The clocks were elaborate and amazing and we had a grand time setting them all to midnight and dancing along with the figurines to the music - that was until we spotted the sign that said "Do not touch."
I also managed to snap the photo below before seeing the sign that said "No Photographs."
The trip to Black Forest reset our internal clocks and we bathed in our new "textilfrei" experience.