Finding paradise – in Baiersbronn…

Guys, I’ve found it! Finally. Heaven on earth – or, to be more precise – heaven in Baiersbronn. “In where??” you might ask now. Well, Baiersbronn is a little village in the Black Forrest (Schwarzwald), about 1.5 hours away from Stuttgart by car. And there lies the most awesome spa and wellness hotel in the whole wide world: Romantik Hotel Sackmann.

Romantik Hotel Sackmann Baiersbronn

I’ve been there lately with my mom. My dad and I invited her to a wellness weekend and I accompanied her – best decision ever! ;-)!

We have booked a “Komfort Room” for two people for the weekend. It came with a very comfy double bed, a sitting area and – of course – a very clean bathroom.

Komfort Room in Hotel Sackmann

The sitting area in our Komfort Room in Hotel Sackmann

The only – and truly the only thing – I didn’t like, was the glass door to the bathroom…

See-through bathroom door in Hotel Sackmann

Seriously – a see-through glass door to the bathroom??? Well, you better like the person you share the room with a lot and are very close to her. Definitely nothing for the first romantic weekend-trip with the new lover. You won’t have any secrets after this stay, that’s for shure. And yes, this is the toilet right behind me – right in front of the door… 😀

We arrived late on friday night so we had no time to check out the spa area but went down to the restaurant for dinner straight away.

The hotel offers three restaurants: The “Silberberg” for hotel guests, the “Anitastube” where they serve traditional meals from the Black Forrest and the gourmet restaurant “Schlossberg” where chef Jörg Sackmann himself creates the menu. It has one Michelin-Star and offers a truly amazing menu. However, my mum and I went for the “Silberberg” and didn’t regret it.

Restaurant Silberberg in Hotel Sackmann

If you want to dine in the Schlossberg, make sure to make a reservation before you arrive, otherwise you might not get a table.

So here comes our dinner: We got a little starter, then had a salad (the dressing was a dream!), then both meat and after this, we were too full for dessert.

Starter

Salad

My main course

My mum's main course

As you can imagine, we slept like babies after this dinner 🙂

We began the next day by participating in the aqua fitness. It takes place between 8 and 8:30 am and is free for all hotel guests. This was also the first time we set eyes on the spa area – and fell in love with it (sorry dad, it’s true, mum’s in love… ;-))

Spa area at Hotel Sackmann

After this little morning sport programme, we were very hungry. We went back to our room got dressed and went down to have breakfast. We got the same table as the night before and were eager to find out what the breakfast buffet has to offer. And we were very happy with what we found: Sackmann offers a huge selection of cheese, sausages, fresh fruit, jam, bread, fish (!) – and you could even have a glass of sparkling wine for breakfast.

Our breakfast table

The breakfast buffet

Round No. 1:

Something salty to begin with...

And round No. 2:

...and somthing fruity to finish with.

For me, it’s always a sign of quality when a hotel offers fresh fruit. And Sackman had a lot of it…! 🙂

Next to the buffet, you could also choose different items from a menu, like eggs, cooked the way you like it, or some sweet dishes.

After breakfast, we had not much time to loose as we both had appointments for massages. I had chosen the Abhyanga Ayurveda Massage and my mum went for the Samvahana Ayurveda Massage. Both took 1.5 hours and it was my turn first. Obviously, I could not take any pictures while enjoying the massage, so you just have to believe me that it was AWESOME!! Soooo relaxing and wonderful! Same was apparently true for my mother’s massage, at least that’s what she told me when she came back 🙂

We spend the rest of the day in the spa, trying the different saunas and relaxation areas.

The Jaccuzi

Relaxing area #1

Relaxing area #2

Relaxing area #3

Man, was I relaxed after this day!! 🙂

You want to know what I liked most? Definitely the salt sauna… and the water beds… and the jacuzzi… and the steam bath… and.. oh well, it was all so great… 😀

Another nice fact about the spa: They offer tea, fresh water, dried fruit, apples and – in the afternoon – little cakes for everybody.

Tea and snacks in the spa of hotel Sackmann

What can be the perfect end to such a perfect day if not a perfect dinner? Today, my mum and I went both for fish (were we in the water for too long?? ;-)) So here’s what we got:

My mum's choice

My dinner

Dessert

We started our next day again in the pool, doing aqua fitness, and enjoyed another great breakfast afterwards. We’ve spent a wonderful weekend in Baiersbronn, in an extraordinary hotel. We only hated that we had to leave again… 😉

More information about:

Romantik Hotel Sackmann Baiersbronn

The “Golden City” covered in white – Part II

Little snow man in Prague

Hello everybody and welcome to the second part of my Prague adventure! If you’ve missed part I, you’ll find it here.

The second day of our wonderful weekend in winter wonderland Prague started as the first day had closed: with lots of snow!! We saw little snow men everywhere! Very cute 🙂

We had decided that we want to spend this day just wandering around, sucking in the atmosphere of this beautiful city. After breakfast (which was very nice in our Grandhotel Bohemia!), we headed to the Old Town Square again and walked to Charles Bridge.

When in Prague, make sure to look up from time to time. There are so many beautiful, historical houses. You’ll find a lot of Art Nouveau for example.

Art Nouveau in Prague

Old houses close to Old Town Square

Old house close to Charles Bridge

Statues on a building in Prague

But you don’t have to get a stiff neck, there’s also a lot to explore by looking straight ahead:

Two statues holding a balcony

A crown in the wall

A lovely lady at the wall

And sometimes, it’s also worth looking to the ground…

Four hearts on the ground

Isn’t that cute? Four hearts in a golden circle. I nearly missed it… 🙂

We crossed Charles Bridge and entered the “Kleinseite” (“Malá Strana” in Czech – which translates to “Little Side” and refers to the part of Prague in the west of the Vltava River).

View from Charles Bridge over to Kleinseite in Prague

View from Charles Bridge over to the castle

Towers of Kleinseite in Prague

When you leave Charles Bridge, you’ll find the park Kampa on your left. I’ve never been there in winter so we wanted to find out what it looks like covered with snow. And our undertaking got rewarded: Suddenly the sun came out and the snow was sparkling. We had such a beautiful view from Kampa over to Charles Bridge, with a blue sky over it.

Kampa in winter

View from Kampa over to Charles Bridge

View from Kampa

Magical view from Kampa

It was so magical, time could have stopped moving, I wouldn’t have minded…

But to bring you guys back to reality, too, that’s what we found in front of Kampa Museum:

Babies on Kampa

Yes, it’s a museum for modern art, why are you asking…? 😉

There’s a little canal leading around Kampa and that’s why this part of Prague is sometimes called “Venice of the east.”

Venice of the east

Romantic Malá Strana

A very romantic spot. 🙂

We left magical Kampa and started to walk up the winding streets to the castle.

Winding street in Prague

Old street in Prague

On the way to the castle

Old houses in Prague

Walking up to the Castle in Prague

Steep walk up to the Castle in Prague

The last part of the street is a bit steep but it’s worth the climb because you get rewarded with a stunning view.

Panorama from the Castle in Prague

Even this little snow man liked what he saw… at least I think so, he didn’t talk much… 😉

Snow man looking enjoying his view in Prague

We didn’t visit the castle, we just had a look at St. Vitus’ Cathedral from the outside.

Prague Castle

St. Vitus Cathedral in Prague

OK, I couldn’t resist, I had to get this touristy picture taken:

Soldier Mel in Prague

We also had a look down on the city from the other side of the castle…

View from the back of Prague Castle

… and descended by using the stairs next to this wall:

The stairs down from Prague Castle

On our way back to the city center, we passed Charles Bridge again.

When you’re on Charles Bridge, you might observe many people touching pictures of a saint. Let’s talk about this cult for a moment: John of Nepomuk was drowned in the Vltava River at the behest of King Wenceslaus in 1393. As the confessor of the queen he refused to divulge the secrets of the confessional – and thus got in trouble with the king. Today, he is considered the first martyr of the Seal of the Confessional and a protector from floods. And many people touch his picture for good luck. But some people get confused by who exactly they have to touch…

This is one of the pictures of Nepomuk. So, if you have to, touch it…

Picture of John of Nepomuk on Charles Bridge in Prague

Here’s another picture of Nepomuk – but there are other individuals on it, as well. Question: If you want to touch this picture for good luck, what figure would you go for?

a) the random dog

b) the rubberneck, watching poor Nepomuk getting killed without doing anything

c) Nepomuk, falling down the bridge

d) none of the above because by touching this picture, I’ll get in contact with billions of bacteria, the hundreds of tourists, who touched it before me, left.

It seems to be tricky to find the saint

Well, this woman is not on the right track, she’s touching the rubberneck. Don’t know what luck will come from that… 😉

On our way back to the city center, we passed two more points of interest, I would like to share with you:

1.) My favourite shop in Prague: Manufaktura!

Manufaktura in Prague

Here you find cute Czech folk craft and traditional wooden toys and (even more interesting! ;-)) cosmetics inspired by balneology and Czech natural ingredients. I LOVE their soaps, shampoos, body lotions, creams… 😀

I got two body lotions and a shampoo for kids…

2) Marionette shops: You’ll find a lot of marionette theaters in Prague. Many of them are performing Don Giovanni (and they are doing it quite well, I can tell you ;-)).

Marionette theater in Prague

But even better: You can buy a marionette as a souvenir, too. You’ll find a lot of cheap puppets in many of the souvenir shops, but there are also a few professional marionette makers, too. They sell high quality puppets and they are absolutely worth their price.

Marionettes in Prague

When I left Prague after living there for 7 months, I wanted to buy myself a souvenir that’s worth my good memories of this city. So I went to some of the marionette shops and chose a little wooden replica of Mozart. I still love it.

Mozart marionette

We had again an awesome time in Prague. This city is simply something very, very special. It was great being in Prague in winter when there is heaps of snow. But I am also looking forward to coming back one day soon in summer, when you can sit in the parks, climb one of the hills and enjoy the view from there. Good bye Prague, see you soon again!

More information about:

Museum Kampa

Manufaktura

My first dinner outside in 2013!

I’ve spent my first evening sitting outside in 2013 – in March! And I have chosen just the perfect spot for it: One of the tables in front of the bar “Galao”, close to the Marienplatz.

The Galao close to the Marienplatz in Stuttgart

The Galao is a lovely little pub which organises cultural events quiet frequently. Yesterday, the Singer-Songwriter Synje Norland was present, supported by a wonderful cello player. I fell in love with their music! Beautiful, relaxing tunes, strong voice, awesome artists. Everybody who has no plans for tonight: They will participate at the “Silent Friday” in the “Kulturwerk”!! Worth going!!

Singer-Sonwriter Synje Norland at the Galao in Stuttgart

My friend Katja and I arrived around 18:30 – which we thought is early – and had to face the fact that the pub was already full inside. But as it was a very warm day in Stuttgart yesterday, it was still very mild in the evening. And as the Galao has set up some tables outside, next to the windows, we decided to have our first dinner in fresh air in 2013. And believe me, it was not that cold! OK, around 8 pm we asked for some blankets, which we got straight away. And like this we stood our ground until 10 pm, when the concert was finished.

Sitting outside the Galao in Stuttgart

We were both very hungry and thus eager to see what Galao has to offer. The selection is actually not too big, but everything sounded very nice and we both went for “Thali”, which consists of different curries and comes with chapati bread and basmati rice. Very yummy! I’ll definitely have that again the next time!

Yummy Thali

The Galao is really a special place, not mainstream, nice people and an interesting cultural programme. Maybe I’ve found a new favourite location in  Stuttgart… 🙂

More information about:

Galao (only in German)

Synje Norland

Silent Friday (only in German)

The “Golden City” covered in white – Part I

Thank god, this grey February is finally over! As I told you, I just don’t like this horrible month. So Moritz had the great idea to invite me to one of my most favourite cities in the world for the last weekend in February: to Prague! I’ve lived in Prague for 6 months in 2005 and again for 4 months in 2008, to do an internship and to write my thesis. And somehow, this magical city became very important to me and I HAVE TO come back again and again and again.

It takes six hours to travel from Stuttgart to Prague. You can take the train to Nürnberg and switch into a bus there. Very convenient! We arrived last Saturday in the early afternoon and found the “Golden City”… all white! Covered all in snow! Very beautiful, I have never seen the city like this.

We walked from the train station to our hotel, the “Grandhotel Bohemia”, close to the Municipal House (Obecní dům) and the Powder Tower.

Grandhotel Bohemia

Our room in the Grandhotel Bohemia in Prague

Grandhotel Bohemia in Prague - the lobby

A fantastic hotel. Don’t miss the huge breakfast buffet!!

We quickly put our luggage into our room and off we were, enjoying this beautiful city. We went to the Old Town Square  (Staroměstské náměstí) first. Here you find the Old Town City Hall with its famous Astronomical Clock,…

Prague Old Town City Hall with Astronomical Clock

… the Church of Our Lady before Týn (in the background)…

Church of Our Lady before Týn in Prague

…and the Jan Hus Memorial:

Jan Hus Memorial in Prague

We left the historic Old Town Square and went to the modern Wenceslas Square (Václavské námestí).

Wenceslas Square

Here you find a lot of shops and restaurants, but also the old Museum.

Prague Museum

We went into some shops and soon it got dark and were hungry. So it was time for some typical Czech cuisine, so we went to the “Novomestsky Pivovar Restaurant & Brewery”, close to Wenceslas Square.

It’s easy to miss the entrance to the restaurant as it doesn’t look like much from the outside.

Novomestsky_Pivovar_Brewery in Prague

But the interior is really something special:

Inside Novomesky Pivovar in Prague

Inside Novomesky Pivovar in Prague

In the main room you find big brew kettles, when you follow the labyrinth of corridors and stairways to the other rooms, you can admire all the wall paintings along the way…

Wall painting in Novomesky Pivovar in Prague

Wall painting in Novomesky Pivovar in Prague

Wall painting of Karl's Bridge in Wall painting in Novomestsky Pivovar in Prague

As all the tables in the main room were already full, we followed our waiter to one of the rooms downstairs.

Novomestsky Pivovar downstairs

What I like a lot about this place is a) the waiters are very friendly and b) they have menus in many different languages. Moritz and I ordered a Czech beer first. Even though I am not at all a beer drinker, I don’t mind the Czech beer very much. It tastes lighter than German beer and I managed to finish half of my glass (Moritz volunteered to drink the rest, he’s such a gentleman :-))

Enjoying Czech beer in Prague

We shared a garlic soup which came with breadcrumbs and a piece of Camembert cheese…?! Very tasty though!

prague_garlic-soup

As the main course, Moritz chose the Bohemian Platter…

Bohemian Platter

…which consists of roast pork, pork neck, sausage, two kinds of dumplings and sauerkraut.

I went for one of my most favourite Czech dishes: Svíčková!

Svíčková

Marinated sirloin with dumplings, cranberries, cream, brown sauce and – very important – a piece of lemon – what a dream!

After this rich dinner, we had to have a Becherovka of course, a cordial from Karlsbad.

Becherovka

We definitely needed an after-dinner walk! As it was already dark when we left the restaurant, we decided to go to Charles Bridge and take some night pictures.

Prague Charles Bridge

Prague Charles Bridge

Prague castle by night

Statue on Charles Bridge

Prague Kleinseite

Prague Kleinseite

On the way back to our hotel, we passed the Old Town Square again and found some stands where they sold mulled wine and Trdelnik, which consists of grilled dough, wrapped around a stick and topped with walnuts and sugar. “That makes a perfect dessert for our traditional Czech dinner” we thought and had some. Mmmmmhhhh! 🙂

Trdelnik stand in Prague

PerparingTrdelnik in Prague

Moritz eating Trdelnik

That was our first day in Prague. “Czech” out my next post about what we did on our second day! 🙂

More information about:

Prague

Grandhotel Bohemia

Novomestsky Pivovar Restaurant & Brewery