Destination Germany is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe and is, according to IPK International, the number one cultural travel destination for Europeans. Prominent among Germany’s many cultural treasures are the 37 natural and cultural heritage sites that have been recognised by UNESCO. The internationally recognized spa town of Bad Homburg, Germany, is but a twenty to thirty minute journey by train from Frankfurt. Frankfurt is known for its museums. I was especially enthralled with three floors of literary history. http://www.goethehaus-frankfurt.de/welcome/view?set_language=en
Copyright © By May DeLory
Take a day trip! Frankfurt to Bad Homburg
You may not have heard of Bad Homburg; but, the ardent spa-goer doubtless has ever since remnants of a Roman bathhouse were discovered at Bad Homburg in the late 1800s. Bad Homburg is also famous for the Homburg hat http://www.gentlemansgazette.com/homburg-hat-history-style/ worn by Edward VII after his return from the famous spa city in Germany. Hollywood film star Al Pacino wore a Homburg in the film “The Godfather.” Johann Wolfgang von Goethe sprouted poetic in 1773 on Bad Homburg when he wrote about “morning mists.” Russian novelist Fyodor Dostoyevsky (Crime and Punishment) lost his shirt in 1867 to Bad Homburg’s elegant casino. Czar Nicholas II laid the cornerstone of a gold-domed Russian church he himself had built adjacent his summer home in Bad Homburg.
Famous Hay Steam Bath in the ancient spa town: Homburg, Germany
Ever since the Roman bathhouse was unearthed both royalty and those with deep pockets searched out Bad Homburg’s famous healing mineral waters. Today, the city has over 50,000-inhabitants, is well connected to the highway, has beautiful city streets, fine dining and luxury shopping and is connected by public transport to anywhere on the Rhine-Main area. The Frankfurt airport is easily accessible. I myself stayed at the 5-star Villa Kennedy hotel in Frankfurt. It was approximately a twenty-minute commuter train journey from Frankfurt to Bad Homburg. I took a city tram (public transportation that looks like a cable car) from Villa Kennedy to the Frankfurt train station…about a ten-minute ride. Then it was on to Bad Homburg by commuter train.
In 1907, King Chulalongkorn of Siam, visited Bad Homburg on a personal health mission to seek out a cure from chronic rhinitis, heart and kidney problems. The king’s treatments involved mud packs, bathing in mineral baths, hot showering and massage. So thankful was the king for his dramatic recovery, he gifted the Siamesischer Temple (Thai-Salas)—found in Bad Homburg’s Kurpark—to the city. The temple was built in Bangkok and shipped to Germany where it arrived with several sections broken. Repairs took about one year to complete as Thai craftsmen had to be sent for. On May 22, 1914 the temple was honoured in the presence of Prince Mahidol of Siam as King Chulalongkorn of Siam had since died in 1010. There are two Thai temples in Kur Park. Each summer there is a two-day festival organized by Kur-und Kongress-GmbH.
With 14 natural mineral springs, Bad Homburg has been a wellness travel destination for over 170-years— to drink the special waters, and seek treatment for rheumatism, respiratory, intestinal, and circulatory problems. The area is also famous for the Taunus Mountains. Forests, lakes and pastures of grasses and wildflowers bathe Bad Homburg in what is known as “champagne air”—air that absorbs energy and nutrients as it passes over a vast region of oxygen-giving forest, offering physiological benefits to all who breathe of its miracle-like properties.
Kur-Royal Day Spa is housed in a magnificent neo-Renaissance-style building—the Kaiser-Wilhelms-Bad— that dates from 1887. A Bronze statue honours the Prussian King Wilhelm II. Kurpark is located in 109-acres of parkland where you’ll find formal and informal gardens, towering chestnut trees, Europe’s first tennis courts built in 1876, and first golf course built in 1889 and the famous casino designed by brothers who later designed Monte Carlo’s famous casino.
The 27,000-square-foot Kur-Royal Day Spa offers a complex range of modern therapeutic equipment and medical practices. The spa cafe offers a selection of vegetable and fruit freshly juiced options as well as salads. The spa is especially known for Bad Homburg’s mineral-rich medicinal clay for the body and fine chalk from Rugen for the face and neckline that acts as a detox to promote circulation. Kur-Royal Day Spa also offers a full range of fitness programmes, including yoga, Pilates, bodystyling and outdoor activities.
I decided to investigate the Hay Steam Bath treatment used for the lungs at Kur-Royal. Hay therapy is comprised of natural and untreated grasses (hay), herbs and flowers taken from Bad Homburg’s spa gardens at KurPark. Steam passes through a basket of the hay mixture to release into the air beneficial ingredients absorbed by the skin and into the lungs. The main property in hay is cumarin, used to cleanse the respiratory ducts, act as a relaxant, retard edema, serve as an anti-inflammatory and suppress the appetite.
After I relax in Kur-Royal’s Saltwater Relaxation Pool for an hour with a water temperature of approximately 91 degrees I decide to head for the hay treatment room. I slip on my spa slippers and I make my way past several special areas reserved for unique spa treatments such as the Sand and Light Bath designed to take you to the beach with sun, sand and sound included.
As soon as I reach the hay treatment area a female spa attendant appears as if of out of nowhere and escorts me into a high-ceiling and large ceramic chamber with four separate seats built into the wall. I take a seat and begin to relax simply because this area as are all of the treatment areas is so unbelievably private and peaceful.
A special paper sheet is placed over my body. After a few instructions given me in English on what to expect from the hay treatment the attendant leaves the chamber, closes the door behind her to turn on the steam. The treatment is scheduled to last for about twelve minutes. I wait a moment, admiring the design of the ceramic tiles in the chamber. Then, I feel the warm steam first on my back, then pelvic region. The warm, not hot, wild flower-infused steam softly envelopes me. The room becomes filled with steam within minutes. The air temperature is slightly cooler than that of the spa corridors. The steam obscures the chamber. I close my eyes.
I continue to breathe deeply. The aroma is like that of a freshly cut hay field. The aroma is not intrusive, merely coaxing. I continue to rhythmically breathe in and out. With each breath I feel empowered and calmed at the same time. The smell of the heated hay is delightfully sweet. I envision myself dancing softly through summer fields of wild flowers, mountains far off in the distance, the sun warm and lemon-yellow on my skin. Of course the dancing over a meadow is all in my imagination…but the invigorating hay steam bath is real and powerful. I love what the hay steam treatment is doing to me.
Afterwards, I took a long and relaxing walk through Kurpark, stopped to drink from one of the mineral fountains and brought out my camera. I just had to see the Thai-Sala in Kurpark and make some memories. The Thai-Sala is quite something to behold, like finding a secret mountain of gold in some far off fantasy land.
http://www.roemerbrunnen.de/ Roemerbrunner restaurant, Kurpark , Bad Homburg. 5-star seafood and Argentine beef and Italian pasta menu. Fine wine selection.
http://www.bad-homburg-tourismus.de/en/events/index-showid36532.htm Free summer events in Bad Homburg. http://www.bad-homburger-kultursommer.de/
http://www.fresenius.de/ Health Week events.
http://www.bad-homburg.de/sc/Stadtinfo/7879736.asp Bad Homburg Castle. Hours: Schloss (Castle): March – October Tuesday – Sunday 9am – 5pm. November – February Tuesday – Sunday 10am – 4pm. White Tower (possible to climb): March – October Monday 9am – 3:30pm, Tuesday – Sunday from 9am – 4pm. November – February daily 9am – 3pm. Admission: Adults 3.50 €, Family Card 9.50 €. Several tours are available for an additional fee.
Travel in Germany just got easier with http://www.deutschebahn.com Bahncorporate is the free corporate customer program from Deutsche Bahn. Extended time to redeem unused DB-Tickets if a corporate trip should happen to be postponed to another date you can cancel an unused ticket up to 1 day after the first validity date. DB-Tickets bought not online but from a salesperson on-site can be cancelled up to 9 days after the first date of validity – for free! https://www.db-rc.com/
Nice 360-degree panorama of Bad Homburg castle http://www.360cities.net/image/castle-of-bad-homburg
There are approximately 25 theatres and 120 museums in Frankfurt am Main. One I enjoyed very much was Johann Wolfgan von Geoeth’s family home and the adjacent Goethe museum, Frankfurt. http://www.goethehaus-frankfurt.de/opening-hours-and-entry-fees
www.villakennedy.com 5-star hotel in Frankfurt, Germany (20 minutes by commuter train to Bad Homburg).
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rBEj5_h6y7A Hollywood classic film (1946) starring Irene Dunn and Rex Harrison (1964 May Fair Lady starring Audrey Hepburn, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5cmaCOf4LMM .)
Text and Photographs Copyright © by May DeLory