Monday, 11 October 2010

Germany - Darmstadt

My second-last day on my 2010 Europe trip was a trip with Daniel, my erstwhile travel companion, to Darmstadt. It is the capital of Art Nouveau, apparently. At least the artist colony at the Mathildenhoehe (a hill on the edge of the town) is full of it. This is another lovely place, not too far from Frankfurt, that I’d never been to.
First things first, though. We came here to go to the Art Nouveau Bath. It doesn’t allow photography inside, unfortunately, but I managed to sneak a couple of pictures anyway:
Art Nouveau Swimming Pool, DarmstadtIMG_3444Art Nouveau Swimming Pool, Darmstadt
We spent about three hours in the pool and various thermal baths. It was lovely!
We drove into town to see the castle, which has again been turned into a university. The lucky students. Wish I could’ve studied in a castle… Ah well.
Darmstadt UniversityDarmstadt UniversityDarmstadt UniversityDarmstadt UniversityDarmstadt UniversityDarmstadt UniversityDarmstadt UniversityDarmstadt University
There were also some interesting buildings around the university:
opposite Darmstadt UniversityDarmstadt
And this shop sold some interesting things, including this wall clock. The text reads (translated) “It is six o’clock”.
an interesting shop in Darmstadt
It was getting late and we had seen lots of signs for the Mathildenhoehe, so we thought we’d investigate. It turned out that this is the origin of Art Nouveau – the museum here is where the artist colony worked. The building itself, and some more here on the top of the hill are just beautiful!
Mathildenhoehe, Darmstadt and Bianca
Museum Kuensterkolonie (artists colony museum) Mathildenhoehe, DarmstadtMathildenhoehe, Darmstadt
There’s another gorgeous orthodox church here. The sunset cast the gold on it molten. I couldn’t stop photographing it!
Mathildenhoehe, DarmstadtMathildenhoehe, DarmstadtMathildenhoehe, Darmstadt
Even the bike stands are beautiful!:
Mathildenhoehe, Darmstadt
And the shelter with its ornate ceiling:
Mathildenhoehe, DarmstadtMathildenhoehe, Darmstadt
And then the sunset:
Mathildenhoehe, Darmstadt
It was a beautiful last destination on my trip.
Daniel and his daughter and her boyfriend joined us for a last dinner together and then it was time to say goodbye to Daniel until we meet again – haven’t decided on where the next trip will go but I’m hoping he’ll come down under this time! I haven’t been to Cairns for a long time…

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Germany - Bad Vilbel and Wiesbaden

I got the train from Duesseldorf to Bad Vilbel to stay with my cousin a few days before flying home. I’d been here before for my cousin’s wedding but didn’t have time to walk through the town. I didn’t even know there was a castle:
Bad Vilbel is also known for its springs and roman mosaics:
It’s a pretty little town, and my lucky cousin can walk into town from her house in about 15 minutes:
The next day we decided to go to Wiesbaden. I’d heard of it and seen pictures many times, but had never actually gone there, even though it’s so close to Frankfurt. The day-trip turned into an afternoon out – it’s not easy travelling with a baby! Of course you can’t help but not care about anything as long as baby’s happy!
Wiesbaden has some gorgeous villas and buildings. It was largely untouched in the wars, so there’s still a lot of the beautiful buildings from its heyday as a bath and wellness town. The theatre and the Kurhaus (used as a casino) are just a couple of them:
Apparently it has the world’s largest cuckoo-clock, too:
The old city has an unusual church as well – all red brick and gothic looking where no other buildings use those materials:
There are walking tours of Wiesbaden available only a few times a week, and with the gorgeous day there was high demand. My cousin had to play the ‘cousin from Australia’ card to get a ticket for me and they allowed her and her husband and child to tag along for free (because there were no more tickets and couldn’t sell them one!). It was definitely worth doing the tour though, because we were able to go into a couple of buildings that we normally wouldn’t have entered. One of these was the casino, which is just as beautiful on the inside as the outside:
The Collonades opposite the Theatre and adjacent to the Kurhaus were very nice too. There’s still exclusive boutiques in there to this day:
A lot of the hotels and pensions in the centre of the city have been converted to offices, because the city-centre has been been turned into a pedestrian zone – no cars allowed – so people cannot drive up to the hotels. Very sad. You can always tell a converted hotel/pension by the balconies under each window:
Another building that we went into is the Kaiser Friedrich Thermal Bath. It’s not too imposing on the outside and has in fact been converted into an apartment building, but the bath is still there at the bottom of the building:
We returned to the market-place which was now clear of the market, so a better photo opportunity for me:
It was getting late, and we wanted to go up the Neroberg to see the beautiful russian church and the nice buildings at the top. I’m going to have to come back here one day and walk the stretch from town up to the Neroberg mountain to photograph the villas and old boarding houses and pensions along the way. Just beautiful!
The russian church was very pretty, and the sun on the gold roof was pretty stunning. The structure at the top was being renovated so there’s no photo, but the view over Wiesbaden from up there was pretty good:
Then it was time to get baby home and we were pretty hungry ourselves because we’d not eaten since breakfast with all the rushing and sight-seeing!