Monday, October 5, 1987

1987 Low Countries: Wiesbaden (10/5/1987)

Monday, October 5, 1987
The alarm woke us at 6:45. Went down for breakfast, and even though a cost wasn’t posted, we decided to have the buffet breakfast at the hotel Globetrotter Restaurant. Kent got a pot of coffee and I had hot chocolate. Served ourselves from the cheese and cold cuts, (avoided the canned fruit), choice of fruit juice, bread, rolls, pastries, butter and jams, even a do-it-yourself Birchermüsli, yoghurt, and then cooked ham, bacon, scrambled and soft-boiled eggs, home fries, crepes with syrup and marmalades, a variety of teas and an opportunity to squeeze your own orange juice. We regretted not having gorged ourselves when we learned the cost was 32 DM 50/$17.50 each! (We later learned that was the price of a buffet dinner, and we were charged the breakfast price of 18 DM/$9.75) Although it was only 8:00, when the maid came, we took our things and went to wait in the lobby. Kent was to be picked by a Herr Burchardt. The place was swarming with Japanese. A man from SELL tried to pick us up! At 9:15 there was still no Herr Burchardt. We mistakenly took the key to Room 317 to go to the room and make a call, and there was a message from LA. Oops, we were in Room 217! Kent called Dyckerhoff, and Herr Burchardt had not been told Kent was coming! He would be there in 20 minutes. Kent played with a sample IBM computer in the lobby, and I checked out an exhibit of mediocre oil painting of Rhine scenes by Hans Günter Schöpe, who is actually a professor of sports didactics in Mainz. Kent was picked up at 9:45.
Penta Hotel
Wiesbaden train station (1904-1906)
designed by Fritz Klingholz in Neo-Baroque style
I started my tour and went across the street to the Reisinger Brunnen/Fountain, kind of a stagnant pool, but with lots of roses around it.
Reisinger Brunnen/Fountain (1932)
In a park flower garden that was just tilled, I saw a rotting apple, just like the radio gardener suggests. I passed the Rhein-Main Hallen, a convention/exhibition center,
Rhein Main Hallen (1956) with Diana fountain
and the massive City Museum full of German paintings.
Stadtmuseum/City Museum (1913-1915) designed by Theodor Fischer
Through a park with a lake filled with ducks (and a house for them), flowers, a sculpture of Life (1981) by Franz Rotar.
Lake filled with ducks
Duck house
Life (1981) by Franz Rotar
A statue of Schiller in front of the Staatsoper where there is a performance every day!
Friedrich Schiller Monument (1905)
by sculptor Joseph Uphues
Mailed two postcards, saw a man sweeping the sidewalk with a twig broom.
Man with twig broom
Two big fountains in front of the Kurhaus, a major concert hall topped with a cupola that was being renovated.
Kurhaus/spa (1905-1907) designed by Friedrich von Thiersch
in neo-classical style with a  Belle Époque façade
A Latin inscription indicated a Roman influence. The Romans arrived in the year 1 AD to discover the healing powers of the hot springs. Today there are still 26 hot springs in the area producing 2 million liters per day at 67 degrees C (117-120 degrees F). On the right was the Theaterkolonnade,
 full of shops, and on the left was the Brunnenkolonnade,
supposedly housing fountains fed by the two best known springs: Koch- and Faulbrunnen, as well as exhibit and concert halls.
Like pink lavender flowers
Wiesbaden sidewalk
Steam rising from the garden
There was also a casino at the far end. It is said that Fyodor Dostoyevsky tried his luck here. Continued up Wilhelmstrasse, like Via Veneto with cafés and boutiques for the rich.
Steaming fountain
Didn’t see any movie stars. Walked up Taunusstrasse to a war memorial statue and another park, in memory of Bismarck.
Kriegerdenkmal/War Memorial (1909)
Bus stop
Neroberg vineyard
Wiesbaden Spa inn
Nerotal bus station
At its end I found the hydraulically-powered Nerobergbahn, an inclined rack railroad up the 245-foot high mountain. In the off-season it only runs on weekends and Wednesdays 12:00-18:00.
Nerobergerbahn rack railway
So I walked up to the first so-called Greek chapel with gilded cupolas.
Greek Chapel
More German than Russian, it was built in 1844 by Duke Adolph of Nassau as a burial chapel for his 19-year old wife, a niece of Czar Nicholas. Paid 1 DM/55 cents to view the inside.
View of Wiesbaden
Saw a red squirrel, and on Nerotalstrasse I saw a glass recycling container,
Glass recycling 
and men making tar in a big black oven on wheels!
Making tar
Went back down into the city and stopped again at Kochbrunnen, a square with a steaming fountain and vents, and another fountain where you could get a drink of the mineral spring water. I didn’t have a cup, but stuck my finger under the water. Hot! Passed the Kaiser Friedrich Bad, the baths and rheumatism clinic. Beyond was a section of the old Roman wall.
Roman wall
Went down to the pedestrian street to photograph the Dortmunder Restaurant.
Dortmunder Restaurant
Over to Schlossplatz with a 1534 fountain and a view of the old city hall erected in 1609, the oldest preserved building in Wiesbaden.
Altes Rathaus/Old City Hall
Near it was the City Palace, built in 1840 in Neo-classical style for the Dukes of Nassau, it is now the Hessian Parliament.
Hessischer Landtag/Hessian Parliament
Across from these buildings was the scaffolded new city hall (1887).
Rathaus/City Hall
Next at Marktplatz was the huge red brick Market Church with a tall spire and towers almost as tall at each corner.
Market Church
A small fruit and flower market in the square. Lots of leather pants and jackets. Both Kent and I have had problems with our shoelaces coming untied as we walk!
Got a snack at Burger King, and passed through streets with old buildings with gables and balconies
Busy street
Wiesbaden apartments
to get to Kurhaus Park, a quiet place with huge trees including large chestnuts with nuts nearly the size of my fist. A lake with a fountain and more ducks.
Kurhaus Park lake with fountain
Roman ruins
I was back at the hotel by 14:00 to use the bathroom and catch up on the journal. The radio had a speaker in the bathroom!
Penta Hotel room
It had started out overcast, but the sun came out and it became warm. Spring comes earlier and autumn later in Wiesbaden because it sits in a valley, and probably because it sits on hot springs!
I went out again at 15:00, heading towards the train station. Saw a 3-wheeled Vespacar.
Vespacar or "trucklet"
(We have seen many unusual vehicles, like the tiny 3- and 4-wheeled vehicles in Amsterdam, as well as bikes pushing or pulling carts. Saw a sporty “Bitter,” and a variety of non-American unknown cars. Usually we do see familiar American brands.) Saw a US Army VW bus and a soldier in fatigues. Passed the train station and a huge post office to what I thought was the Briebricher Castle, but it was a government building. Apparently the castle is in a suburb closer to the Rhine River. Bought postcards and a small notebook, since I am running out of space in this travel journal. Returned to the hotel at 16:00, and Kent arrived at 16:30. We went out in the drizzle and window-shopped along Wilhelmstrasse. Showed Kent the Kochbrunnen, and then we shopped along the pedestrian street until stores closed at 18:30. Toy stores contained Star Wars, Masters of the Universe, Legos, Magic Pony, Smurfs, Garfield, and Ziggy paraphernalia. Nothing unique for us! Clothing is expensive, and the “in” sweatshirts had quirky slogans in English, like “San Francisco Bears,” “Cincinnati Reds Official World Championship Scorecard,” “Atlanta ABS College,” “The Bear State, Minnesota, America’s Winterland,” “Dallas Youngboys,” etc. Or else they had Mickey Mouse or Donald Duck!
We headed to the Wienerwald Restaurant, and were one of the first customers there. We got our draught beer and mineral water, and ordered Turkey Hunter’s Style and Farmer’s Pot. We also ordered a liver dumpling soup, which threw things out of sync for the waitress, since our meals were ready. It was okay with us to get them together with the soup. The soup was great, a fresh liverwurst ball in broth. My pot/pan was full of onion, bacon, potato, chicken pieces, and topped with a fried egg. Kent’s turkey schnitzel had a mushroom cream sauce with Spätzle. Stuffed ourselves again. The bill was 36 DM or so, and we left 40 DM/$21.60. Window-shopped back to the hotel, and looking into an oriental carpet showroom window, we bumped our heads against the glass because it was so clean we didn’t properly judge the distance! Finished off our chocolate bar, and watched AFRTS-TV.

Next: Rhine River and Liège.

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