Thursday, 24 July 2014

Taking the waters in Bad Neuenahr

The torrential water flows in the below picture are the 'river' Ahr.  Hint:  The town I'm staying in consists of two villages that grew together, Bad Neuenahr, Ahrweiler.  See how both place names incorporate the name of this tiny river?  There are mineral springs to be found here, and the town is called Bad Something (Bad translate to Bath, think England) because some crafty devil had the lucrative idea of capturing the spring water in a big swimming pool of brownish smelly water and convincing people that swimming in this brew would remedy some of their health problems.  I still remember that at the age of ~5, my grandparents took me to the very nearby village of Bad (!) Bodendorf and made me swim in one of those murky reeking swimming pools.

Anyway, 'taking the waters' is translated to German as "in Kur gehen" (literally: to walk to cure) and a colloquial meaning of that is 'taking it easy' or 'getting away from stress'.  This is not why I am here, but it is a pleasant side effect !
My Kurkarte

If you're staying in a hotel in one of these Bad Something towns, you get a Kurkarte to prove that you are a Kurgast, which allows you access to the Kurpark and various other things.

But one does not need a Kurkarte to go for a 6:30 am walk through the city in the morning drizzle.  One doesn't need it either to take pictures of the church a few blocks from my hotel.

a touch of Neuschwanstein?

I don't think one needs a Kurkarte to visit the Casino (a sign on the other side advertises Automaten).

The 'river' side the Casino

There are no obvious boundaries between the former Kurhaus and the new Casino. 
I do like the old lead (?) water shelter above the entrance!

The giant cathedral (church?), the casino, and also this building below, the Hotel Steigenberger, seem to indicate that this little town had quite an affluent past.

I don't eat at the Hotel Steigenberger, but at a small Italian place right in the middle of town. The food is great but there is just sooo much of it and I finish it all.  I can't help taking a picture of the cutlery. I even ask the waiter whether it comes with operating instructions ;-)

Who is in the city?

early morning reflections

pretty Duck 

These days it's not affluent gamblers that leave their money here or people who think that bathing in murky water will cure their gout or overeating habit. 

It's the hip-replacement crowd that keeps this town alive! Bad Neuenahr is home to several rehabilitation centres for hip-replacement patients.  Seems that once you have a new hip joint put in, someone has to teach you how to walk properly again.  There is a high-rise medical building here that all the hip replacements from the greater area of Cologne are sent to. 

Thou shall recognize them by their sticks !  But people on crutches are a sensitive bunch, and they don't like being photographed.  There also seems to be a magic boundary and while within that limit people on crutches are abundant, almost none can be observed outside that circle.

As an insider I already know that the lady in the right picture has completed most of her 3 week rehabilitation program and gets to go home soon.  It's all in the way they hold their crutches!

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