Banked by Swabian state forests with beautiful hiking trails and picnic areas is the picturesque city of Karlsrue in Southern Germany. A visitor will find that a good starting place would be to go for an excellent lunch or dinner and a wonderful view of the city by driving up or ascending by funicular the small mountain overlooking the city to Klenerts Restaurant where you can dine inside or on the terrace overlooking the long 800 year old Darlach Road, marking the old part of the city, which is laid out like a fan from the Palace. A newer area of Karlsrue is the bustling modern city, which extends into the Black Forest and to the Rhine and is home of many industries.
You’ll find wonderful hotels and good public transportation in Karlsrue, a city of education with the technical college, a teacher’s college, an academy of art school, and music academy, and Fridericiana University, adding more than 30,000 students to the population of about 270,000. The city houses the Federal Court and the Supreme Court of Germany, so it is an interesting city of many lawyers, judges, and official business.
Many museums are among the city’s points of interest: several grand art museums and a huge Natural History Museum, which includes animals, plants, and minerals. But the most important and newest museum is in the former ammunitions manufacturing buildings of World War II, which were amazingly not destroyed by the bombing. The technological museum is enormous and shows all about media and computers, the best such museum in the world. Allow a minimum of half-day and much walking, but you’ll really learn a lot and find it fascinating.
One of our favorite places was the magnificent park and gardens around the palace of the Dukes from Charles and Frederik Wilhelm and the Karls in the period from 16th century. Unfortunately, this palace was destroyed in World War II but was rebuilt in all its grandeur and is now a Regional Museum for the Boden Region, open for tours. The gardens cover many acres and are beautifully landscaped, free and open to families to enjoy. Huge grassy areas and miles of walking or running, bicycling, skating pathways exist through manicured grassy lawns, exquisite flower gardens, and wooded pathways. One blue tile pathway leads to the 100-year-old ceramic factory on the Rhine for a tour and souvenir shop. Frequently, various amusements are featured in the grand park, and each July a giant Ferris wheel behind the palace centers the anniversary festivities. The lovely palace and other important buildings are lighted at night for romantic walks also, but visitors are advised to stay in open areas at night.
Two excellent buildings, perfect examples of Neo-Classical Italianate architecture, built in the 1800’s and still maintained as a bank and the Federal Court building, face each other. The cobbled pedestrian way has the symbolic pyramid beneath which the Karls are buried. And the marvelous colored cobble stones recreate the rose windows of three cathedrals on the Rhine River:
You have many choices of places to stay, but we chose the whimsicaly unique Kubler Hotel, a short walk from the Palace Gardens and across the street from the Teacher’s College, well located for shopping or entertainment and the museums. Our quaint hotel was immaculate and had so many fascinating things to see in the décor, especially in the dining and reception areas. The breakfast area is composed of many small rooms, each decorated as a German home might be. The reception area feels like a home’s living room. Our room was spacious and modern and thoroughly unique in its charming décor, with a marble and glass bathroom. Looking across the parking lot we viewed the irresistible restaurant and bar area, a four story building in modern art, with one tower forming a jack-in-the-box’s funny face as a tower. The bar and café have a large glassed ceiling which opens for outdoor eating in good weather. The design and architecture of the whimsical building is the most unusually fascinating we had ever seen. And the food is excellent, as well as the beer, which is brewed right where you can see it. A fun experience day or night… and a play area is incorporated for kids to have fun while parents watch and enjoy their beer. Although this is not a city on many German tour routes, we think Karlsrue should be and we hope to return again to this lovely city which has so much to offer.
Just a twenty kilometer drive away is the famous playground of kings for centuries: BadenBaden, where natural hot mineral water springs were discovered in ancient times, and Romans built baths here. Ever since that time the privileged of Europe and later of the world have come here for cures and for pampering and restful holidays. Untouched by the war, the city is exquisite in a way they only built cities in the peak of wealth in the romantic 1800’s.
Buildings of classical beauty in architecture are magnificently decorated with colorful mosaics and gold leaf. One of the most beautiful of all is now the tourism department where you can make your plan for your visit. The grand casino and amazing thermal baths are in Baden Baden and many exclusive shops, hotels, and restaurants. We walked around the town and climbed the hill to the cathedrals just below the castle. While we were eating a 6 PM snack on Sunday evening, the church bells all over the town started outringing each other and for fifteen minutes they resounded everywhere. It was beautiful.
We kept trying to find a glockenspiel but the only one listed in the tour guide was a broken clock. We drove on little roads to the top of the hill behind and far above the castle and churches where we could get a good view of the countryside and also see the place in the forest where the mineral water comes out in an ancient fountain. An absolutely lovely place to visit. We’d like more time here but also lots of money because it is planned for a wealthy clientele.