This morning, ms Grace is docked in Rastatt, Germany, for our morning excursion to Baden-Baden.
ms Grace in Rastatt
In typical fashion, we exit the boat by 8:45 and climb aboard one of the shiny new Tauck motorcoaches for the 45-minute drive to Baden-Baden. When we arrive, the rain is starting to fall, so we pop open our umbrellas and join our local guide near the center of town.
Local guide gathers guests in Baden-Baden
Our walk into town took us through a beautiful park with lots of foliage and some very interesting trees. Bridges cross a rushing stream, making this spot very picturesque. It is a shame it is cold and rainy today. We can just imagine what this park is like on a sunny day.
Pedestrian bridges cross a stream in the park
We walk past the impressive theater and into some of the smaller streets of the city until we come to Friedrichsbad. When opened in 1877, this ‘temple of wellbeing’ was considered to be the most modern bathing establishment in Europe. The relaxing and enjoyable experience that is unique to the Friedrichsbad is a result of the changing sequence of warm and hot dry air baths, a soap and brush massage, steam baths of varying intensity and a selection of thermal pools along with thermal water showers.
The complete 'treatment' takes about three hours and involves 17 different stages. But, be prepared to join in this healthy endeavor without any bathing suit. You will be "naked as the day you were born" when you bathe with others here, and it is coed! Caracalla, another large spa in Baden-Baden, does allow you to wear a bathing suit and has a nice selection of them for purchase in their spa shop. Tauck offered guests the opportunity to enjoy a "spa day" by providing shuttle service from Baden-Baden back to the ship at 2:00pm and 4:00pm.
We continue our walk through the pelting rain down some more narrow cobblestone streets. We can see there are a lot of upscale clothing and jewelry stores and nice restaurants here. This is a place we would love to come back and visit in better weather conditions. Our final stop on the tour is the Kurhaus, the famous casino in Baden-Baden. The Kurhaus has been an architectural landmark of this Black Forest town for almost two centuries. Baden-Baden is noted for its spas, horseracing and casino.
Roulette table in Baden-Baden Casino
There are slot machines on a separate floor below the main gambling floor. The table games consist of roulette, blackjack and poker. The casino is divided into several smaller gaming rooms and the vibe here is very elegant and sophisticated. We are reminded of the casino in Monte Carlo. There is an admission fee to enter the casino and a dress code is enforced. Men are asked to wear a jacket and tie, and the casino will provide one, for a fee, that you can wear while there. You also must show your passport and be at least 21 years of age to gamble. The casino did not open until 2pm, which probably saved us a few Euros!
Black Jack Table
After a brief tour of the gaming rooms, it was time for Tauck to treat us to one of their famous lagniappes (a surprise given as a bonus or extra gift.) We ended our casino tour at The Grill restaurant where we were greeted with glasses of sparkling wine, red or white wine, or any coffee drink you wanted. There was also a buffet filled with delicious appetizers. We ate so many of the chicken and shrimp skewers that we knew we would skip lunch back on the boat! It was a delicious and completely unexpected treat in a wonderful setting. Good job, Tauck!
The Grill at Baden-Baden Casino
After we enjoyed our lagniappe, we opened our umbrellas once again for the short walk back to the motorcoaches. When we returned to ms Grace, we spent the rest of the day just relaxing. A rainy day is a good day for a nap! At Cocktail Hour this evening, Chef Fenna is treating everyone to a oyster-on-the-halfshell feast. Guests line up time and time again for refills, and she is also doling out ladels of escargots. It looks delicious, but neither Rickee nor I are fans of oysters or escargot. We stick to the delicious hummus being offered by the waiters circulating through the lounge.
Plates are filled with oysters and escargot
This evening, we attended the Scylla Crew Talent Show in the Panorama Lounge. The venue was packed with guests and everyone had a great time as the Scylla crew showed off their talents. It was great fun!
Farhan Hamdi, Bar Manager, shows off his flair skills at the Crew Show
It was another wonderful day aboard Tauck ms Grace. Tomorrow, we visit Strasbourg, France. Ooh la la!