Sunday, July 18, 2010

What's the story with German spa towns?

Buy a map of Germany and check out the index listing cities/towns. You'll find almost 100 cities/towns with the prefix "Bad" in their name. Bad Berka, Bad Hersfeld, Bad Neustadt and so on. This prefix indicates there's a therapeutic bath house present (hot springs). Only with the approval of the federal government can a town use the prefix "Bad". Why are towns eager to have this thermal bath designation from the government? Big, big bucks as I reckon we're talking about a billion dollar industry. Some of these bath towns are full-on major resorts with massive pool complexes, golf courses, gambling casinos, high-end private medical facilities and miles of hiking, biking and cross-country skiing trails. If you have say, a sore back, your doctor will write up a note prescribing physical therapy. Take that note to one of these spa towns and guess what? The government foots half the bill for your stay. Anyway, during the course of earlier travels through Germany I've passed through several of these spa towns and found them quite nice. So, in addition to visiting ski resorts and medieval fortifications I've added spa towns.

The first four photos show Bad Waldsee (population 20,,000).

Nice little lake right behind the city center in Bad Waldsee
The medieval tower gate guarding the entrance to Bad Waldsee's scenic old town.

There's a castle in the middle of Bad Waldsee but it seems to be in disrepair.

Biberach (population 30,000) is named after a river that flows through the town.
It's Saturday and market day (farmers market) with the city center swamped with shoppers. There's good and there's bad about showing up on market day. The good being the sights and smells of goodies on display. The bad being the market usually takes place in the scenic main city square ----where the best photo opportunities are now void due to too many tents, vehicles, people etc. in the way.
This photo shows the sole remaining medieval entrance gate/tower to the old town.
Fountain (great for filling my water bottle with ice cold water!)

This is a medieval lookout tower in Biberach.

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