Monday, September 3, 2018

Gesundheit (Or, Without the Exclamation Point It Doesn't Mean What You Think It Does)

MONDAY, 9/3:

When we woke up this morning we weren't sure if it was an illusion, a cruel joke, or if we had simply gone off the deep end. But for almost an hour this morning we saw this--

That's right. The sun actually came out before we left Garmisch this morning, allowing us to see the peak of the highest mountain in Germany, the Zugspitze. Of course, right after we left Garmisch, and for almost the entire trip here to Bad Reichenhall the fog and the clouds decided they wanted to tag along with us. But for an hour, we had sun today!!!!!

Today was mostly a travel day, including the longest drive of the whole trip, a relatively short two and a half hour jaunt here to Bad Reichenhall. This was to have been one of the few days where we didn't have any plans to deal with King Ludwig II at all, but as we were passing through the small town of Grassau Loraine's eagle eyes spotted something and she shouted out, “Is that King Ludwig?” As soon as I could find a parking spot we jaunted back, and sure enough--

As it turns out, Ludwig employed a bunch of builders from Grassau when he was building the one castle of his we haven't yet visited (that comes Thursday) and they were so grateful that 30 years after his death they erected the memorial to him.

When it comes to King Ludwig, nothing escapes Loraine's attention. Nothing.

Bad Reichenhall's an interesting place. It's a spa town (“Bad” meaning “bath” or “spa” in German), and it's where people go for their health, whether they're retirees just trying to get around a little better or workers on their health vacation, which is an interesting concept. Every few years, Germans get paid to go on a health vacation. You can go hiking or biking, or just visit a spa town, but every few years you basically get paid to relax and to look after your health. It makes German workers among the most productive (and certainly among the healthiest) on the planet.

That, I think, is a German concept that would work wonders for the rest of the world, as well.

That's why people come to Bad Reichenhall, so they can walk or hike or even sit around the fountain and relax--

Or sit on one of the big chairs and just take a nap--

But the big draw at Bad Reichenhall is the Wandelhalle. It's a huge double-sided wall filled with water running down over eucalyptus and cedar branches, and you're just supposed to walk around it, breathing in the air--

Just because I was curious, because I'm in Bad Reichenhall, and because I actually do care about my health, I spent a little time strolling the Wandelhalle. While the air did smell nice, I found the sound of the water a bigger benefit. Just listening to it I found myself zoning out and relaxing, which was something I didn't expect. It was kind of like meditating, while getting splashed with drops of water here and there. I actually had a weird sense of calm after the walk.

Hmm. Maybe there is something to this place after all.

There is one ironic twist to the fact that Bad Reichenhall is a health town. Despite all the emphasis on health here, I don't think I've ever been in a place in Germany where so many people smoke. On the grounds of the Wandelhalle and the gardens? The air is fresh & clean & healthy. Once you get to the pedestrian area or anywhere else in town? There are times when it can smell like I imagine a bar would have smelled like in the 1950s.

For a so-called “health town”, it is ironic, indeed.

There are, however, two other things to recommend about Bad Reichenhall, the first being the flowers that are everywhere--

The second being this place--

What is this place? Well, it is the Reber store and cafe, Reber being a company that makes all kinds of chocolate goodies--

I think I had mentioned yesterday that there was a place where Loraine and I would be like kids in a literal candy store. So lest you think I was joking, be aware that I was not. Not only that, but Reber also has an outlet store we'll be passing as we're leaving town.

Now you know the first thing on our schedule for tomorrow.

Because a chunk of the day was spent driving, I didn't take as many pictures as usual. However, I am happy to report that we did see a poster for what I believe might be the most popular movie in Germany right now--

If you're curious,"Sauerkraut Koma" is the fifth film in a series about a wacky detective and the wacky adventures that seem to along his way. I guess that in Germany, even like in Hollywood, the best idea is a rehashed idea.

If today was the longest drive of the trip, tomorrow is the shortest, a whole 28 kilometers to a place with which we're quite familiar, Berchtesgaden. One of the reasons why is the yummiest schnitzel--with apple strudel for dessert--in the world.

Pictures then!

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