Monthly Archives: March 2013

Seeking Good Health in Bad Nauheim

Wappen von Bad-Nauheim

Wappen von Bad-Nauheim (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

G and I just spent a day in Bad Nauheim, a town  20 minutes north of Frankfurt. The town is known as a ‘wellness destination’ because of its specialty clinics and mineral springs. People come from all over the world to visit the cardiovascular and lung clinics, the sports clinics, the heart and nerve centers, and the thermal baths. Michael Schumacher, the famous Formula One racer, is known to have received sports therapy treatments here.
Oddly enough, Bad Nauheim is also known for one of its famous American residents – Elvis Presley. He was stationed here during the war, and there is a monument next to the house he lived in. Elvis Presley monument in Bad Nauheim  There is even an ‘Elvis Presley Club’ in town!

After paying tribute to The King, we took a walk through the park to visit the Sprudelhof (fountain court), the largest Art Nouveau center in Germany, and the largest Art Nouveau resort in the world.  It was erected in the early 1900’s, with 265 bathing cubicles for enjoying the natural warmth and freely dissolved carbon dioxide of the thermal brine.  Sprudelhof in Bad NauheimThe ornamental courtyards and waiting rooms are all designed in different Art Nouveau styles. But all the ornamentation pays tribute to the beauty of water. The spa facilities have been modernized and now in the different wings you can enjoy the mineral baths as well as  book  private parties, get married and attend classes of various sorts.

Apparently, there is an ornate chandelier in one of the rooms that is one of only two created – the other one was on the Titanic.
The last thing we did was to take a walk alongside one of several Gradierwerke (graduation houses) in town. These are enormous structures covered by bundles of blackthorn twigs. Windmills and water wheels pump salt water onto them, and as the salty water runs down the sides, fine droplets are freed gradually  through evaporation (thus the name ‘graduation towers’).  As you stroll along, you inhale the salty air, which has a positive effect on the mucous membranes of your air passages and is generally  considered good for the health.

Graduation House Bad Nauheim

Graduation House

Water Mill Bad Nauheim

Water mill that pumps water – clean energy!

You can also drink the water from little spigots. It is loaded with minerals, but I can tell you, it tastes pretty bad! Think copper + sulphur + salt!

Bad Nauheim Mineral Water

Spigots at the bottom of the water tower

Mineral Water content

Mineral water content

It was a very educational trip. I definitely felt better when I left than when I arrived. But maybe that was just the jet lag.

Categories: Travel | Tags: , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Wine Tasting in Napa Valley

Last Spring G and I took a little trip to Napa. It was the first time there for both of us.

In a word, it was awesome!

We stayed in a charming little place called The Old World Inn. We were old world inn napain one of the Acqua Rooms in the main house. The room was as comfortable as it was beautiful. (We were in the one featured in the slideshow on the hotel website.) The Old World Inn is a B & B with quaint touches like plates of homemade cookies in the downstairs hall and wine tastings in the basement every evening. And the breakfasts? Amazing! None of that ‘continental breakfast’ crap here.

The inn was close enough to town for us to walk, so as soon as we were settled in we did just that. Napa is a quirky little town indeed, with interesting shops and cool restaurants among the wine stores and tasting rooms. Of course, we went right into a tasting room, but neither of us was impressed by the wines we sampled there, none of which we recognized. Not all wine is good wine.

So … we checked out a few shops before stumbling upon a fabulous wine bar called Carpe Diem. We sat at the bar and asked the young man behind it (who was also one of the owners) to pour us something along the lines of a robust cabernet sauvignon. Et voilà – he introduced us to an excellent wine called Cedar Knoll!

Cedar Knoll wine

Several glasses in…

We enjoyed a couple of glasses (wink) while we chatted with some of the other patrons and nibbled on Truffled Popcorn and a scrumptious Brick Oven Flatbread. The food was outstanding and we walked back to the inn satiated and a little tipsy and completely smitten by the town.

The next day we were scheduled to meet an old friend of mine from Saudi Arabia and his wife for some serious wine tasting. They were members of several wine clubs and let me tell you, we did some serious tasting!

Whitehall Lane WineryWe met at Whitehall Lane Winery. G and I got there early so we tried a couple of wines while we waited. They were excellent, and the young woman pouring for us was funny and very knowledgable as she told us about the different wines of the region. When our friends arrived, we went up to the Club Room, where we were served several glasses of outstanding wine along with nibbles like dark chocolate-covered coffee beans and a charcuterie plate. Even the owner stopped in to say hello.

Whitehall Lane Club Room

Whitehall Lane Club Room

We were so impressed with the whole experience that we joined the club and ordered a case of wine (on top of the case we were going to get for joining). Sure, we live in Savannah, so it was unlikely we would be attending any of their events, but hey, who cares!

Our next tasting was at Shafer Vineyards. G and I organized that one because Shafer is one of our favorite wines. We were not disappointed! The tasting room was beautiful and the view out the big window was spectacular. We sat with a small group – four other couples – and sipped several wines, each one better than the last.

Several hundred dollars later, (and the proud soon-to-be owners of some Hillside Select) we went to another of our friends’ picks: Regusci Winery. We were all feeling good by then, and somehow G and I managed to get ourselves behind the counter for some photos!

We visited several other wineries the next day. I think you need to spend at least a week in Napa to really do it justice. And you have to know what you like. We went to Caymus

Caymus

Caymus

and Frank Family Vineyards and a couple that were suggested to us – but we didn’t like the wines so I won’t mention their names.

Napa Valley is beautiful, and everyone we met was incredibly nice. It was hard to say goodbye – as we drove by the last vineyards on our way out of town, G and I talked about moving to California…..

spring flowers in napa

We made one last stop, at Palmaz Vineyards, to get a few bottles of Cedar Knoll. The gate at the bottom of the long driveway was closed. (Palmaz tastings are by appointment only.) But we buzzed the office and told them what we wanted, and they were nice enough to let us in. Palmaz is an incredible winery – the production facilities are all underground and driven by gravity. We got a quick look, but next time we go to Napa we will definitely schedule a tour and tasting there. In addition to the Cedar Knoll we managed to order a case of different wines to try.

We probably won’t be moving anytime soon, but I know we will be going back to Napa for another visit!

Anybody out there have favorite wineries in the Napa Valley?

Categories: Travel, Wine, Thou Art My Red Muse | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

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