Today’s task was to visit Mount Merkur, German for Mercury, also a Roman god, the 2,191ft summit and a grand view over Baden-Baden. Achieved via a funicular railway, reputedly the most technically advanced, certainly the steepest in Europe, reaching inclines between 23-54%.
We took our usual walk into Baden-Baden down the tree lined footpath / cycle path , wanting to stretch our legs rather than the easy bus route all the way there. We wandered through town on a slightly different route. There was only one slight incident heading through town, when our youngest dog Lola released one of her finest screeches in response to a pigeon which did not escape quickly enough. Only those that know her will understand the volume and pitch, which I can only liken to a slipping fan belt. Which simultaneously caused 6 people in the street to grab their hearts in unison and one elder lady to wag her finger most severely! So, time to walk on swiftly and as it was a nice day and the next bus was not for another 20mins, we thought we would do the 30 minute walk to the funicular station. Obviously, now we realise that the funicular only takes you the last 1,214ft. The rest of the altitude we gained, walking up Hardstrasse (no joke) to the station. We had to squeeze by a large crane, which seemed enormous and I am sure you would not normally be allowed to walk within touching distance. However, that then worked as quite a good waypoint as we rose above it heading up Mt. Merkur and it became a small speck as we reached the top.
The funicular was every bit as impressive as the stats suggested, appearing to glide up what looked like a near vertical rail, neatly passing the opposing carriage half way.
As with all of these things though, when you get there, you realise the Roman’s were there first….
Although, that we can understand, as the views from the top were spectacular. Also, fortuitously, there was also a rather excellent restaurant for lunch to reward us for our efforts to get there, though perhaps that was not there when the Roman’s visited.
After a rather leisurely lunch, then the equally and as impressive journey downhill. It seemed churlish to take the bus down to town when it was all a downhill walk. So off we walked again, luckily this time we happened upon the Water Garden Paradise, a collection of fountains and pools in lovely gardens cascading down the hill back into town.
Once we were back down into Baden-Baden town we passed Gasthaus Löwenbrau. It seemed a good opportunity to grab some refreshment and re-live a favourite of my student days.
Finally the 45 minute walk back to Clouline and finally after 8 miles we were back home for a cuppa.