Wiesbaden, Day One: The Nero and Back

Today started rather early. I woke up with the distinct impression that I wasn’t in my apartment, namely because I awoke on a bed. It took me a few seconds to realize that I was, indeed, in Germany on a Sunday. It took altogether five minutes for me to find my cellphone and realize that it was still 6:00 am and the sun was out early like the bastard it was.

I got up, took my shower, headed downstairs to get the breakfast buffet included in my hotel package, and came back up to my room all before 9 am. To my surprise and chagrin, there was no comb or brush for my hair. It wasn’t until 11 am that I met with a colleague who informed me that everything closed on Sundays with the exception of bars, restaurants and cafes. And she was right, nothing was open so I wasn’t going to be fixing my hair any time soon.

We talked as she showed me downtown Wiesbaden (which looked considerably different from last night) and suggested that I take a bus tour that would take me up to somewhere called Nero-something. She walked me to the stop, helped me on board and I was off. The tour started off at a casino where Dostoevsky had hid in to skip out on paying his hotel fees and leapt to other sites like a house that Johann Brahms had lived in.

Haven't I seen this church on the cover of Tetris?

After touring the hills and slowly making our way upwards I found myself at one of the most amazing churches I’ve seen. Originally built in 1847, the Russian Orthodox Church in Wiesbaden was built by the Duke Adolf of Nassau on the occasion of the death of his 19 year old Russian wife the princess Elizabeth Mikhailovna. The church was built around her grave and in 1855 the church was dedicated to the honor of St. Elizabeth the mother of John the Baptist and patron saint of the princess.

The bus let people off to look around and it was their choice to get back on, the pass is a day pass so I could get off and link back up with the bus on one of its later rounds. Behind the church was a path leading up a green hill. A little ways up the path is the Neroberg Opelbad (public pool) which has a view overlooking Wiesbaden, and further up still I found some more interesting sights.

Training for Swiss Family Robinson

After paying 3.90 Euros (~$5 !!) for a large Sprite I made my way to the Nerobergbahn, a small tram which travels up and down the hill giving travelers a nice break from the walk, to the foot of the Nerogbahn where lay the Nerotal, a stream.

I loved the colors on these buildings, they look like crayons in a box.
I love the architectural style here. But I had to crop out the fat people walking down the street, even though they had a cute dog their shirts were awkward colors.

I followed the stream, crisscrossing it, as I made my way around admiring the architecture of the houses built next to the park (known as the Nerotal Anlagen). The park itself was dotted with people walking their dogs, sunbathing or just walking around enjoying the day.

I almost expect to see seven dwarves, six with mental disabilities and one their doctor, carrying pickaxes crossing the stream.

Eventually I made my way to the end of the park and traveled down a long stretch of street lined with continuing marvels. It was a quicker trip than I had expected back to my hotel where I was met with one last treat.

It's called Cook's Fountain, no one drinks from it.

Across the street from my hotel is a small domed… I don’t know, bungalow? It is know as the Kochbrunnen. It houses a small set of four fountains which constantly stream natural water from the hot springs found under the city. These hot springs are what power the numerous bath houses that spot the city. Here at the Kochbrunnen, visitors are allowed the opportunity to drink some of the water. The water is said to have mystical healing and restorative properties, but is limited to 1 L per person by recommendation.

I stared deep into the pool of fresh spring water, looked off at the sign on the wall listing the minerals and makeup of the water, glanced down once more at the corrosion and buildup on the fountain… and walked away.

I don’t care how healthy everyone says it is, it has ARSENIC in it. This water looks like if I fell in I’d come out wearing a purple suit and trying to kill Batman. But tomorrow’s another day, and then there are five more after. With all the beer here I’m sure I’ll find myself drunk scooping handfuls of water out of the fountain.

I made it back to the hotel by 3 pm ending a four hour adventure up and down a hill and through a good portion of the city. I took a shower, cleaned up, and now all I have to do is figure out what the heck I am going to eat for dinner.

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