(Return to Web Text-ures)
Click Here to return to
American Woman Abroad
Click Here to return to
the previous section
FRANKFORT A CENTRE FOR SPAS
FASHIONABLE HOMBURG CURES GOUT
DRINKING WATER ON SCHEDULE
COSMOPOLITAN BADEN BADEN
WIESBADEN FOR RHEUMATISM
POPULAR SPA OF THE GERMANS
NAUHEIM CURES ALL HEART PANGS BUT LOVE
UNIQUE EMS FOR THE THROAT
HISTORY MADE AT EMS
NEUNAHR'S FAMOUS APOLLINARIS SPRING
MUD BATHS OF KREUZNACH
SCHWALBACH, THE WOMAN'S SPA
WILD BAEDER OF THE BLACK FOREST
BADENWEILER OF THE ROMANS
FAMOUS SPAS OF BOHEMIA
MARIENBAD REGULATES AVOIRDUPOIS
A MILK CURE
VOGUE OF CARLSBAD
CARLSBAD FOR HIGH LIVING
SOME GERMAN SPAS
IT is in the Valley of the Rhine and its tributaries that are grouped the world's most famous springs and baths. Supposedly this is a condition born of internal volcanic eruptions, and a spot is said to exist at Homburg, where only fifty metres separate the surface of the earth from the unquenched convulsions which are continually going on within. Nauheim, Wiesbaden and Ems are also sizzling on the same hot-plate.
The beneficient effects of the waters of these springs come from something more than their chemical constituents, else the chemists with a handful of salts could fabricate oceans of it – which they can't. The ingredients are known and their proportions, but they won't mix, at least after they are mixed they will not produce the same results.
Around the financial capital of Frankfort centre the chief of these German spas. A high or low or swollen liver, gout in its most rabid form, and many other fashionable diseases of the wealthy are treated at Homburg; rheumatism at Wiesbaden; palpitations and heart weakenings, from any cause but love, are nowhere so efficaciously cared for as at Nauheim; and a smoker's throat is sure to find relief at Ems. It is thus that diseases and their cures are specialised, though doubtless under a certain régime the same thing might be accomplished at Homburg where, at the Elizabeth Spring, according to Justus yon Liebig, is found a water with many of the attributes of, and superior to, all others, with the newly opened Kaiserin August-Victoria Quelle a close second.
Besides all this, Homburg is a resort, and an expensive one, with super-luxurious hotels, but not gaudy, and abounding in comfort.
One drinks and bathes, commencing with the early hour of seven and continuing to the accompaniment of the orchestra in the park all through the day. Your drinking glass at the spring is numbered, and for the time being is your property, and you sip your quota, walk briskly a bit, then go back to breakfast, when by following a sort of time-table, or schedule, you are kept more or less at it, drinking and bathing all through the day. It should be said that you put yourself in the hands of a doctor immediately on arriving – as you do at other spas – and you drink just what and just the quantity he prescribes, eat accordingly and bathe to the same tune, in hot, cold or tepid water, or in an adhesive mixture of mud, as the case may be. This is Homburg, with tennis, golf, croquet and what not interspersed during the day, and bridge and baccarat all night if you are brave enough to face the doctor the next day and tell him of it.
Baden Baden, too, is fashionable, its waters efficacious and its prices Eiffel Tower high and something more. An overseas clientele in the majority has done this., so if you want to keep up the reputation of your countrymen you must do your part. Hotels at Baden Baden outbloom those of Homburg for luxuriance, and there is no anti-semite feeling against residents of St. Louis, Frankfort, Vienna or the West End of London. It is very cosmopolitan, but the complexion is manifestly American. Beside the luxurious hotels of Baden Baden there are many villas which are rented for short periods, and with the culmination of "high-life" at the International Horse Racing Game in August, one of the most buoyant and rapid scenarios of American life abroad is here annually unrolled. For baths the most famous are the Freiderich's Bad and the Kaiserin Auguste Bad, the former for men, and the latter for women, as their names will indicate to any one who gives them half a thought.
Wiesbaden is the really popular German spa, in the eyes of the German at any rate, and he ought to know. Outsiders though are not noticeable by their absence, quite the contrary. The place has been called the Newport of Germany, but by what reasoning it is difficult to see. It is certainly chic in all its aspects, is modern, well-kept and does actually rank as the most frequented of all German spas, but not as much by Americans and English as it will be some day when it comes to be appreciated. It is a resort and a residence city in one. Its dead season is mid-summer, but spring and autumn sees it as crowded as Baden Baden in August; as a matter of fact, the climate is the finest all-the-year-round climate of any resort of its class in Germany or out of it.
Palatial homes, large, roomy and architecturally imposing; innumerable and wonderful hotels, and a Kursaale with what is accounted one of the finest of German orchestras, as well as an opera troupe which ranks almost as high, gives Wiesbaden a cachet and a more distinctive flavour of things and institutions German than many of the more popular resorts. The new Kurhaus cost a million dollars or more, which shows the liberal hand that is planning for Wiesbaden's future.
The waters here present themselves in a couple of score of hot springs bubbling up all over the place as through a sieve. They attack rheumatism and sciatica in all their forms with a vigour known of no other European waters. The Goldenen Ross and the Schfitzenhof springs possess radio-activities. Society at Wiesbaden is as varied as mixed pickles – one should progress slowly.
Nauheim is an overgrown, expanded village with great avenues and tree-bordered public squares. Shops of a certain fascinating aspect line one of these broad thoroughfares of the "new town," interspersed with hotels and villas which contrast in a story-telling manner with the old-time German architectural forms, which, in the "old town," present a calm and tranquil aspect of picturesqueness that modernity knows not of.
Thousands come to Bad Nauheim for heart troubles which nowhere else can be treated so well as here. It is not so much a question of the waters as the installation and conveniences which exist here that makes the Bad the preferred haven for those looking towards a restoration to health. A sort of stimulating prickling or bubbling of the waters encourages the heart to take up its normal functions or continue them with regularity, and once in the able hands of the Herr Doctor and the Herr Professors of Nauheim almost anything but an actually broken heart may be mended. Neurasthenic patients, too, find Bad Nauheim beneficial, and popularity in a mild way and of a most serious kind has descended upon it to a far greater degree than was thought likely when its first salt baths were opened in 1850, though we have to go back to the year 1255 for its first historical mention.
There have been those looking for a gayer life who have reviled Nauheim as desperately monotonous and uninteresting, but it has its virtues as has been shown.
Twenty marks are levied on the visitor, whether for health or for pleasure, for the care of the garden walks and the roads of the park, whatever may be the length of sojourn, and each peach or pear or picture postcard that is purchased pays its quota of tax as well.
The cost of baths varies from a couple of marks to six or eight, which, with extras, such as towels, drinking water, weighing machine privileges, etc., demonstrates that the procedure is not a cheap one.
A dozen of these resorts centre around Frankfort, which is a sort of open door to all the region, and which as a clearing house presents a cosmopolitan animation unknown elsewhere in Europe. The merchants of Frankfort cater to all classes of strangers; you may buy your favourite snap-on buttons and hooks and eyes made in Philadelphia, tooth powder from St. Louis, and the genuine American shoe, be it for men or women, though the German manufacturer does make an imitation of it for his countrymen and any others who will buy. Frankfort is manifestly commercial, financial if you will, but it lends also the aspect of the resort in its leafy avenues, squares and boulevards, and, above all, in its environment, whose landscape is not spoiled by belching factory chimneys as in the Rhenish provinces.
At Ems the local colour changes, things are more workaday in their purport, but its slimy, unpleasant tasting waters work the wonders with diseases of the throat that only the imbibing of alkaline-muriatic water will, and Ems is the only spa of its kind in Germany. You inhale as well as drink at Ems, and whilst the procedure is not wholly agreeable it brings results, and that is what the practical man, or woman, of to-day wants. If it is desired to mingle worldly divertisement with one's cure, Ems falls off sadly, but there is always music, and the theatre after nightfall, which is better than bridge or dancing.
Another treatment at Ems is that of compressed air. You might as well be in the grasp of the "iron maiden" herself so far as the sensation goes after you have been half an hour in an air-tight steel tank with a motive force of some kind, which may be steam, electricity or gasolene, pumping in air until the pressure is so great it would seemingly crush an egg-shell if not indeed your ear-drums; actually they stop short of this, but you experience the same sensations that a mountain climber has at an elevation of ten thousand or more feet, and a pussy cat with her tiny lungs would probably die in half an hour. It must be a curious sensation indeed to be shut up, fully clothed, with books, papers and dominoes and chess at hand, in a steel-bound vault, awaiting an air pressure so great that life may suddenly leave you.
The situation of the spa by the banks of the turbulent little river Ems is not exactly idyllic, but it will do, and for a fact is a happy blend of much that goes to make up a conveniently situated resort, but a very business-like one. It is a sort of concentrated civilisation set down in the midst of a park.
And now for a bit of history. A stone slab flush with the
in the public square at Ems reads as follows:
How precise these Germans are! Freely translated it means that a certain, now historic, personage turned his back on another, now historic, personage, over the discussion of a subject which should have meant nothing to either of them. One was German, the other French, and the Franco-Prussian war resulted. This is how Germany makes a note which all who run may read. The Emperor William-the Great William – was fond of Ems, and it was here that was unrolled the first act of the drama which the plotter Bismarck so deftly engineered. There is also a monument to the Emperor at Ems – of course; another to the slain in battle, and yet another to Bismarck. Lest you forget!
The municipality of Ems is highly organised, the spa, commerce in general, the hotel industry in particular, all benefit from a sane, astute oversight by the city fathers. Thirty thousand or more visitors come to Ems each year and together they must spend a couple of million dollars all told. It pays a municipality to cultivate a wave of prosperity like this, which otherwise might flow by its doors. But after all Ems is not very worldly.
Neunahr and Carlsbad treat diabetes, but if with heart complications, Neunahr, with the only alkaline hot spring in Germany, comes first, whose waters are sovereign also for cirrhosis, which, if vulgarly translated from the German manner of naming it, is rather inelegantly to be called also "drunkard's liver." Neunahr is not greatly the vogue, but it is exclusive and has most luxurious appointments in all things that relate to the amusement and comfort of invalids who have not as yet approached the stage of incapacity of enjoyment or indifference to surroundings.
To Americans and English, Neunahr ought to mean much, or suggest much, for it is here that is located the famous Apollinaris Spring which made a publisher an artist and an author famous and wealthy. As a money-making enterprise of the first rank a popular bottled water is undoubtedly ahead of the writing or publishing of books, or the painting of pictures. Bubbling naturally from the ground, water, whatever its chemical constituents may be, costs but little in the first instance, and relatively but little more to put in bottle – the buyer pays the freight. Seven hundred employees do the work, and in a twelvemonth 32,000,000 bottles of "polly" are shipped to all the ports of the seven seas; several bottles are drunk every minute, in one place or another, from January 1st to December 31st. Its a good deal better than a coal or a gold mine, for it comes to the surface through the impulse of nature's own forces. You don't have to hire Italians or Slovaks to mine it.
Kreuznach possesses wonderful waters, and is quaint and picturesque on its own account. The waters, or the mud, here cures rheumatism and possesses a radio-activity strong enough to be impressed upon sensitive photographic plates and paper. It is small wonder that such slime should have some effect on the epidermis. This spring and another in Bohemia are almost the only commercially exploited sources for the supply of radium.
At Munster-am-Stein, a few miles from Kreuznach, is another spring of a similar nature. Near Frankfort, too, is Soden, with warm springs whose waters are impregnated with salt, iron and carbonic acid gas, which are beneficial in bronchial affections and pulmonary diseases.
For the automobilist this comparatively restricted area, where are located the most famous of the German spas, is a paradise. Seldom is there to be found a continuity of such park-like roads as those following the sinuosities of the Rhine, the Ems and the Lahn.
Schwalbach or Langenschwalbach, to give it its full name, is celebrated afar as a resort, but its chief value to the economic universe lies in its value as a bathing place for the ills that women's flesh is heir to. Charged to profusion with free carbonic a plunge in these waters is like the famous bath in champagne of which the yellow journals told a few years since, but one is less sticky on coming out. It's an experience, if you happen to need that sort of treatment, and if ever such was efficacious, it must be so here. The place is gay, cosmopolitan and crowded. The springs, the Weinbrunnen and the Stahlbrunnen, are half a mile or more apart in the Kurhaus gardens. These are the springs whose waters are used internally; the others are for bathing only. Males are notable by their absence; a few may be seen at the Herzog von Nassau, the Allesaal or the Villa Gartenlaube, but smoking is verboten at the springs and in the gardens where the band plays, so poor man is perforce obliged to give this delightful Bad of the Taunus the go-by. It is an Adamless Eden, if indeed there can be such a thing. What few men are to be seen, usually hie themselves off to the trout fishing at sunrise to return only to the hotels for supper.
Schlangenbad, which is ugly enough in name and meaning (Snake Bath), has a water which in consistency is midway between aqua pura and a good stiff pea soup. There are from seventy to eighty per cent of non-mixing elements therein, and it is good for countless complaints, of which the doctors will tell you when you ask them, but which will burn your hair to the colour of reddish tow in a very short space of time. The town is delightfully sylvan on the banks of the little river Waldaffa, a tributary of the Rhine.
Throughout the Black Forest are innumerable of these Wild Baeder. Not far from Baden Baden is one which bears the name of Wildbad itself. Its springs bubble forth a hot alkaline water, and the tiny town is a forest village in fact as well as name. Herrenalb nearby is called the paradise of the Schwartzwald, and is chiefly famous as an "after cure." Towards the Alps, along the southern border of the forest range, off toward Switzerland, is Badenweiler, whose popularity and efficacy in pulmonary and nervous diseases was known to the Romans, who established the first baths here a dozen centuries ago. To-day the bathing establishment is built upon Roman lines.
Marienbad is a kingly resort; it was popular with the late King Edward, and the Emperor knows the Hotel Weimar here as well as the Kaiser does Herr Krupp's little chalet at Kiel. King's weather is usually the rule at Marienbad, and its summer climate and temperature is certainly all that could be desired.
Folk do all the things that they are supposed to do at a spa; Bohemia is not different from Germany in this respect. The manifest complexion of all things is Austrian, but the Bohemians would have you know that it is Bohemian and nothing else. Lunch at the Rubezahl restaurant is quite the thing, as also is an afternoon assistance at the concert on the terrace, seated in a stuffy wicker mushroom chair lined with Turkey red calico, which is all right for the beach at Scheveningen, but manifestly quite inappropriate here. Some unthinking person started the custom and it grew. There's another establishment called the Café Nimrod, which is a favourite resort of the Tzar of the Bulgares, and you are quite as likely to dine at the table opposite, as you are to meet Alphonse of Spain on the terrace at tea time at San Sebastian.
Marienbad is two thousand feet above sea level, amid a forest framing which makes its worldliness delightful, for it is worldly, as worldly as any of the real European resorts, and has many big hotels with their satellite attractions, restaurants, casinos, music, theatre, opera and what not. Marienbad claims for its waters that they will make fat people thin and thin folk fat. Marienbad is a place of miracles apparently, though that claim has not yet been put forth.
The place has a milk cure too, and is the home of a local sweetmeat which if partaken ad lib will annul any beneficial effects which may have been derived from the cure. The latter are cakes, or tartines, or gaufrettes, or something of the sort, heaped up with whipped cream, which half bury a half-dozen round, luscious cherries, the whole drowned in what tastes, and looks, like thinned-out honey, but which may be mere treacle. The diet will probably not make one thin, but it's pretty sure to put on fat.
Carlsbad and Marienbad are the vogue; not that they compel one to stay on and on as do many other Continental spas, but that they are included in everybody's little tour of watering-places, or should be. The season at Carlsbad spins out to a greater length than formerly and now its visitors, augmenting in numbers by thousands each year, can scarcely find a room in any of the big hotels from June to September, unless booked in advance. Stomachic and intestinal diseases account for the coming thither of some of the seventy odd thousand visitors each year, but the far larger numbers are here because it is the vogue; it sounds well when you get home to say that Carlsbad was included in your itinerary, and unless your stomach is actually a superior organ to that of most mortals, Carlsbad's sodium-sulphate, alkaline and carbonic waters will do you good if you don't object to the taste.
Pupp's Hotel is world famous and its clientele cosmopolitan. Ferdinand of Bulgaria, two brothers of the Shah of Persia, the Persian ambassador at Vienna, Prince Orlaff, Prince Victor Dhulep Singh and the Duke of Teck all paraded before our eyes on one occasion on the terrace of this celebrated hotel,
The cure, sylvan walks abroad, golf and the usual social functions of hotel drawing-rooms and casinos put Carlsbad in the very front rank of resorts of its class.
Every visitor pays eight crowns as a kur-tax, but it is paid willingly for the advantages given and the privilege of tarrying a while in such a well-ordered resort. This pays for the public amusements, bands, illuminations, etc. Why not? Who should object?
Bad Gastein, like the Bohemia spas, is fashionable, popular and costly. As late as October the Hotel Straubinger may be crowded, and the day may yet come when the place will bloom forth as a winter resort. It is a tiny village perched at an elevation of three thousand five hundred feet above the sea, admirably sheltered from the north and not subject to winds in winter, and furthermore its January and February climate is proclaimed as something astoundingly mild.
Bad Gastein's springs are hot, bubbling cauldrons, and are supposed to quiet the nerves, and do.
Everywhere are signs of expansion and progress, and the labour is seemingly all Italian. There is no class of house-builder living to-day that is better at stucco than the Italians; they alone seem to know how to build such houses so as to stand the ravages of time and rigorous winters, and actually at this moment Bad Gastein is being enlarged, rebuilt and remodelled by trans-Alpins.
One objection there is to a stay at Bad Gastein, and that is the noise interminable made by the rushing waters of many waterfalls. Usually such phenomena of nature fall silently, many even fade away in a mist, but here they are seemingly more turbulent than Niagara.