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. 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. The 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.
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!
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.
What a great account of this locale! Until you finished describing the Gradierwerke, I thought for sure it was a more scholarly place and the Sprudelhof sounds edible. There is a new type of spa chain cropping up in Florida, maybe other places, called The Salt Room which touts similar benefits (and more) to what you describe. Nice info – thanks!