It was the first truly cold morning of the trip. Overnight the temperature had stayed just above freezing and it felt like it didn’t climb much higher all day.
We took a local road for the short drive to Bad Waldsee, swapping one spa town for another, but knowing we could afford to bathe in the increasingly tempting hot waters of its natural springs.
Cycling first around its pretty lake, and setting off like firecrackers the dried shells of seed pods and fallen acorns as the bikes crunched along, it felt that Autumn had now set in to Baden Wurttemberg.
An emergency purchase of woolly gloves was made before we both lost all feeling in our fingers. It was damply and numbingly cold.
The centre was lovely. Painted houses, churches and a town hall wound in narrow streets around themselves so that you always seemed to come back to the main square.
Its frothy pink Schloss and surrounding cobblestoned courtyard is now a home to kliniks, dentists and physiotherapists, but it was lovely to see the original stucco façade, leaded windows and ornate statues still proudly in place.
We did a tour of tiny bakeries in a hunt for some shinken-brot (fresh bread and smoked ham rolls) but gave up as everywhere started to close for lunch. It felt like a memory of childhood seeing the shutters come down and the ‘open’ signs swung around for the next two hours. Thankfully the spa stayed open and we ventured into its three pools, which are heated by Bavaria’s hottest spring at 65 degrees Celsius.
The bathing pools are cooled to make swimming and relaxing enjoyable and we particularly liked the outdoor ‘therapie’ pool that boasted a range of jacuzzi’s and jet treatments.
Our fellow bathers were all older and many seemed unwell or immobile so we felt like a couple of charlatans intruding on their treatment centre simply for our pleasure. But it was a pleasure to be immersed in bubbling hot water whilst keeping your head in the cool afternoon’s breeze.
After a couple of hours bathing and visiting the Turkish style steam room we were warmed up and glowing, and tired legs were revived.
We had a route decision to make. Whether to head north on the fast autobahn network around Ulm and Stuttgart into the north of the Schwarzwald, or to stay south and meander through the Obere Donau Naturpark to the Black Forest…