A friend sent a text asking if I would be up for a girls’ weekend away. Not even knowing where or when we were going I responded back with an almost immediate “absolutely”. Luckily Scott is super chill about me leaving for the weekend and the boys all love their “dude weekend” time together. They get a break, I get a break and everyone is happy. Within a few hours a WhatsApp group was formed and the date and place were decided. There are so many really cool places to go for a quick weekend away in Germany so it can be hard to choose. Baden-Baden was suggested as a beautiful spa town close to the French border and only a little over three hour drive. That pretty much checks all of the boxes for a perfect girls’ trip. We packed our weekender bags, way too many pairs of shoes, piled in the car and were on our way.
Baden-Baden is lovely little town located at the north-western border of the black forest and only about fifteen minutes from the Rhine River which is the border of France. Our drive there was pretty smooth other than some construction here and there. We rolled into town with time to drop our bags at our hotel, find parking and head to dinner. The Hotel Schweizer Hof is a cute little boutique hotel located within walking distance to the city center and all sites in Baden-Baden. I was able to park my big car in the garage next to the Festspielhaus where I locked the doors and left it for the weekend. Baden-Baden is very walkable and you really don’t need a car to get around.
We did a quick freshen up and then grabbed a taxi to head out for the evening. Yes, before I did say everything is walkable in Baden-Baden, however, girls’ weekends do call for fashionable shoes and those are not always walking on cobble stone streets appropriate. My friend Jen is amazing and organized our dinner reservations for the weekend which was such a treat. Our first stop was the tapas restaurant Monte Christo a quick five minute taxi ride from the hotel. It was outstanding. Tapas are always a fun social meal and our server Sergio really took care of us making us feel right at home and was our best friend by the end of the dinner. We weren’t ready to call it a night so he sent us over to the rooftop bar at Roomers Hotel for a nightcap that turned into two or maybe three. The bar was super cool and for a minute I felt like I was back at the Gansevoort in NYC not a posh little hotel in the middle of the Black Forest in Germany. It was time to call it a night so we stumbled the five minute walk back to our hotel where we stayed up chatting into the wee hours of the morning like college roommates with nowhere to be.
Saturday morning was a bit of a shock to the body since my normal bedtime is a boring 10:30. I somehow missed the hotel breakfast so I was on a mission to find some strong coffee and a bite to eat to get my day started. That was not hard to do as the streets are lined with cafes and bakeries. I met up with the girls and we strolled through the town taking in the beautiful buildings and pristine gardens crossing over the Oos River to see the stunning Theater and Kurhaus that hosts the Casino. We worked up an appetite walking and shopping and decided to eat at Leo’s for a nice long late lunch. We had a prime table on the patio where we ate, drank and talked under the cloudless blue sky. Leo’s is delicious and a perfect place to spend an afternoon enjoying the charm of Baden-Baden.
We spent the rest of our day soaking in the sun, shopping a bit and enjoying a no schedule kinda day. Jen had a whim while we were at lunch and called the restaurant at the Casino called The Grill to see if there were any cancellations. Lucky for us a table was available at 9:30 and we grabbed it. I was excited about going to the Casino after seeing it from the outside but in my mind I was envisioning the inside to look and feel like Vegas or maybe even the funny little boats in Kansas City. Boy was I wrong. You can immediately feel the glam as soon as you step inside and understand why it is considered one of the most beautiful casinos in the world. I thought for sure we would be dining next to James Bond or Jay Gatsby. I was also wrong to think that it would be a casual affair dining at a place called The Grill. It was hands down one of the best meals I have had since moving to Germany that was served on a gorgeous candle lit patio with a super cool DJ. After dinner we wandered through the opulent rooms of the casino watching the roulette and blackjack tables admiring the beautifully dressed pretty people who made it seem like this was just a normal Saturday night. Our whole night at the casino felt like we were in a fairytale.
Our plan for Sunday was pretty simple…find a great spot for brunch and then spend the day enjoying the famous Thermal Baths of Baden-Baden. Our tour guide Jen once again delivered picking out Einhorn Cafe for our brunch spot. We were able to get one of the last tables on the patio and glad we did because it filled up super quick. One thing I have come to love about brunch in Europe or actually just about all meals out is that it is a long leisurely experience. Not great if you are in a hurry because that just isn’t possible, but super great if you are sitting on a patio enjoying a perfect end of summer day with your girlfriends. There is never a rush to turn the tables and you almost always have to beg to get the check at the end of the meal.
The last adventure of the weekend was heading to Caracalla Spa which is one of the two main Thermal Baths in Baden-Baden. The other one is the Friedrischsbad Spa which is a historical Roman-Irish bath but unfortunately closed right now (I guess that means we need to go back!). The twelve thermal springs in Baden-Baden were discovered 2,000 years ago and these baths were built up around them and provide an amazing relaxing and healing experience. We bought a three hour session and honestly could have used longer. It was warm enough to sit in lounge chairs around the outdoor pool and that is where we spent our day dipping in the pools, reading and napping. Absolute heaven.
It was time for us to hit the road and head back home but first a quick pit stop was necessary for a bite to eat at the little pizza cafe Rivazza around the corner from the Caracalla. We weren’t expecting much but were so pleasantly surprised by our energetic server Eric and his “best in the world pizzas”. Everyone we met in Baden-Baden was super friendly and had a very loving life way about them. The proximity to France gives the town and its people a very interesting and more carefree vibe than other parts of Germany. It is an absolutely perfect town for a getaway weekend.
As we drove out of town my heart was full, my belly hurt from laughing and I was ready to hug my boys. I am so grateful for these experiences and feel blessed that I got to spend time with three amazing women. We are all from different backgrounds but sharing the same journey of this crazy expat life and that is a bond that is quick and lasting. A bond that doesn’t even matter if you prefer to wear a swim suit or swim costume, pants or trousers. Just please whatever you do, don’t wear teabags for earrings. Girlfriends are so good for the soul.