Around the Friesenberg in Baden-Baden

Thursday 19 December 2019. The Handels had come to Baden-Baden on a day trip from Gengenbach principally to walk along the city’s famous Lichtentaler Allee, a beautiful riverine path that winds through established gardens from the Lichtenthal Abbey (where we began) to the Kurhaus. In the area around the Kurhaus we found a Christmas market. We sampled local fare and admired a display of hand-carved nativity scenes at the adjacent Trinkhalle. We then ventured further into the attractive city centre in search of Kaffeehaus in Baden-Baden, where the atmosphere, service and coffee were reputed to be first class – as indeed they proved to be. En route we passed an extraordinarily kitsch Christmas display – think mechanical dancing Santas – at the Gasthaus Löwenbräu, which we explored further after our coffee and cake. Following this enjoyable and amusing diversion we set out to take a walk in the hills immediately behind the Christmas market. From the Trinkhalle we entered the Kurpark, a beautiful park of extensive manicured lawns and magnificent trees established across a number of small hills. Following one of the winding paths uphill, we arrived at the Romanian Orthodox Stourdza Chapel on Michaelsberg, impressive even under scaffolding. From here we left the Kurpark and entered the forest, and upon finding a stone waymarker decided to take a turn Rund um den Friesenberg. We noted with interest the presence on the waymarker of the sign of the Way of St. James, which we had seen elsewhere in Austria and the Black Forest; the paths to Santiago de Compostela are many. And so we set out on our walk around the Friesenberg in the beautiful half-light of a near-midwinter day, a pale light further filtered by trees that had only recently lost their leaves. It was lovely to walk through the thick drifts of orange, russet and brown. We made our way for some time through the woods before coming to a road; it may have been Friesenbergstrasse. From this road we gained a path that led us back to the Kurpark, somewhere in the vicinity of the Romanian Chapel. We thus completed our circuit. We walked back to Langestrasse, from where we would take the bus back to the station, via streets lined with grand villas to the north of the Kurpark. We arrived back in Gengenbach in time for the opening of another Advent window.

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