Baden-Baden’s Caracalla Therme

Emperor Caracalla

I think this was the first fully developed hot spring baths I ever went to. If you’re going to start going to baths, where better than in a town named Baths-Baths?  Baden-Baden is one of the most famous spa towns in Germany.  There have been baths here since at least Roman times.  The most modern of these is Caracalla Therme, named for the Emperor Caracalla who visited this town almost 2,000 years ago to treat his arthritis.

Twelve springs supply the 4,000 m² of pools and saunas at Caracalla Therme.  There are many different bathing areas, including a large “no-bathing suits” sauna section.  The overall feel is very clean, white and modern with a passing salute to Rome from the columns and statues by the pools.  There are three outdoor pools and some poolside seating but most of the baths and saunas are indoors.  It can get quite busy and the atmosphere is family friendly, accepting children aged over 7 years, so it can be good to go early in the day when there is less traffic.

In the adult only nude section, there can be older German men who unabashedly ogle women.  I was there with my husband so I don’t know how they behave with single women.  I took it in stride as a cultural thing – when you travel you can’t expect everyone to behave the same way they do in your home country.

hot springs aficionado caracalla bubble jetMy best memory of Caracalla Therme was the bubble jet bath.  I love underwater air jets, especially where these were located in the middle of a larger pool – it gave a real sense of airiness to the experience.  I loved the sensation of so many tiny bubbles massaging my body.  It gave me a tingling sensation running up my back and bubbling to the surface like champagne – it was almost a feeling of being immersed in a giant cup of bubbly Reisling, very light and airy.  Being surrounded by white columns and white statues gave a very classic feel to the experience!

hot springs aficionado caracalla whiteWe spent many hours at Caracalla Therme, wandering from one experience to the other, trying different scented saunas, relaxing in the outdoors area, dining, and always returning to the centerpiece pools with their tall glass solarium walls that marry the feeling of being indoors with the feeling of being open to the air. That was my overall memory of Caracalla: a sense of airiness and openness.

In the lobby is a fountain from which you can drink the waters – at the time I went, little telescoping cups were provided as souvenirs, and I still have mine! The waters are from natrium-chloride springs and are quite strongly flavoured with salts and sulfur, so they taste medicinal and you won’t be drinking very much. The temperature at the main spring is 68C (155 F).

Add Caracalla Therme to your travel plans if you are going to the Black Forest – it’s a wonderful place to spend a day relaxing and recovering from your trip!  Watch the promotional video below to see more of the interior of Baden-Baden’s Caracalla Therme.

 

Malaysia – Deal at Banjaran Hot Springs Retreat

BanjaranEnjoy 3 days at Banjaran Hot Springs Retreat for 855 euros, leaving from Kuala Lumpur. Click here for details.

This looks like a fabulous resort, with excellent Tripadvisor reviews. I haven’t been there, so if any other Hot Springs Aficionados can comment on it, please do!

Tecopa Hot Springs

My first official trip to do research for Hot Springs Aficionado was to Tecopa, California.  I’ve been to the desert before, so as soon I picked up my Jeep (shout out to Sixt car rentals of Las Vegas for giving me a brand new Rubicon!!!) I also picked up a case of water.  35 x 500 ml bottles, about 4 gallons – the kind of detail that makes a real difference in the desert.

The drive to Tecopa reminded me again of just how vast and remote so much of California can be. Tecopa lies about 75 minutes off the interstate that runs from LA to Las Vegas. That 75 minute drive brings you into a whole other world. There are vast big skies and painted deserts populated by tough resilient folk who value their independence. Cell phone service is a luxury. It is majestic, serene, grandiose, daunting.

Big skies on the drive to Tecopa

The drive to Tecopa

The geology around Tecopa is complicated by the Amargosa Chaos and there are at least two aquifer sources for the springs in Tecopa.  The water from one Tecopa aquifer comes to the surface at about 118F. It is fairly high in fluoride and arsenic so it’s not recommended for drinking. But it is perfect for bathing! County law requires that you bathe nude so most of the developed springs are enclosed in private or segregated bath houses. There are a few undeveloped springs in the area too – to find those, you will have to go to Tecopa and search for yourself!

Hot Springs Aficionado: hard at work in Tecopa!

Hot Springs Aficionado: hard at work in Tecopa!

Tourist destinations in Tecopa include the famous China Ranch Date Farm (worth a visit!) and four developed hot springs baths: the County Baths, Delights Resort, Tecopa Hot Springs Resort and Petersen’s Resort. All the “resorts” are primarily RV Parks with a few cabins or motel rooms – this isn’t the Caribbean all-inclusive type! The central core of Tecopa is quite pretty, and I am surprised it hasn’t become more of a “destination” town, like Desert Hot Springs, Palm Springs or Las Vegas. I’m sure that it will happen one of these days. Right now there seem to be quite a few Korean tourists: Delights Resort has a Korean sign and on the day I went to the county baths, all the other guests were speaking Korean. Amy, the owner of Tecopa Hot Springs Resort, told me that all her rooms had recently been booked by a Japanese Hot Springs Association tour.

There is a strange funky vibe to Tecopa.  Sometimes it seems almost otherwordly.  It’s hard to explain, but maybe this video will help.  It’s from the annual Tecopa Take-over, when artists from Las Vegas book all the hotels and perform for fun. There is lots to see and enjoy in Tecopa as long as you are prepared to leave your cellphone and TV lifestyle behind. Bringing an open, silent mind will help you enjoy your discoveries in Tecopa.

I’ll be writing more about the individual resorts in future posts, so stay tuned to learn more about this funky town and its wonderful hot springs!

This post is one of a series of on the Hot Springs of Tecopa; to see others, click on the links below:

Post #1: Tecopa Hot Springs

Post #2: Tecopa Hot Springs Resort

Post #3:Delight’s Hot Springs Resort

Post #4: Tecopa Hot Springs Campground & Pools

Post #5: Signing Off From Tecopa Hot Springs

Escape to One of These Four Affordable Hot Springs Oasis in Southern Colorado

An artesian hot springs corridor follows the Sangre de Cristo mountain range in Southern Colorado. Along this route are four unique mineral springs establishments that offer lodging or camping and are open year round for the tourist passing through or for the locals needing a relaxing soak.Winter in AlamosaIt is winter here in the San Luis Valley and when it looks like this picture on the right, I head out to the Sand Dunes Hot Springs Pool which is only about 20 minutes from my home.  This artesian oasis located…. to read more follow this link :

 Escape to One of These Four Affordable Hot Springs Oasis in Southern Colorado.