Saturday, June 24, 2006

Karlsruhe

Went to the Fatherland in the middle of last week to watch a football match (I have more or less recovered from Arsenal's crushing defeat) and see a bit of Germany. Due to my tardiness in booking flights and accomodation, I ended up flying from Stansted to Baden-Karlsruhe and spending the night in Karlsruhe. My original plan had been to fly to Frankfurt and stay in Kaiserslautern. As things turned out it was lucky that I was staying in Karlsruhe as it was quite a nice city.

Thank God for Ryan Air's 'web check-in' as Stansted was heaving. It was packed with people and I'm sure sardines have more room in their tins than there was at Stansted. In any case if I would have needed to queue to check-in I would have missed the flight.

Arrived at Baden-Karlsruhe on time at 09:30 local time and after a lengthly wait (in the comfort of the cafe), cought the bus to Karlsruhe. The bus journey was a tad uncomfortable as thh aircon wasn't working and the temperature was already creeping up to 30°C We passed through a few villages on the way and the architecture was destinctively Scandinavian in appearance. Baden seems to be a farming region and I guess the fact that the Rhine flows through it means that it is a flood plain and has good soil and easy irrigation.

The city of Karlsruhe is quite picturesque and I took a fair few photos. It is only a short journey from the airport and as the airport was quite small it was piss easy to get out of and to check in on the return journey. Although it is a small airport with very few flights it is nonetheless brand spanking new and very comfortable.

Arrived at the Am Tiergarten Hotel (Tiergarten = Animal Garden) at around 11:00 and was pleasantly suprised, the building had a lot of character and my room was large with very high ceilings and was full of Wassily Kandinsky prints hanging on the walls. The hotel is also located right at the edge of Karlsruhe zoo, which means that you can sit outside and watch the flamingos while you sip your latte! Very cool.

After a few minutes of faffing around changing clothes and grabbing my camera it was time to explore Karlsruhe. Headed for the castle where there was a museum with an exhibit on the history of the region. Found out that Karlruhe was founded in 1715 and it is the birthplace of Karl Benz inventor of the automobile. The castle was a bit dissapointing, not as grand as I had expected and the museum wasn't very good. I did however make my way up the seemingly never ending sequence of stairs to the top of the tower to take in the view. On arrival at the tower I discovered that it was pissing with rain! Took a few photos anyway.

Ambled back to the hotel for a late lunch, passing through the market and stopping to admire the unusual pyramid shaped tomb of Margrave Karl Wilhelm (who gave the city its name). The food at the hotel was nothing short of excellent and the staff were really nice as well. Although I had been swatting up on my german it was still more than abysmal and the staff decided that it was better to try to communicate in English. I have to say that their English was a lot better than my German.

After a very pleasant meal and a shower it was 17:30 and time to head to Kaiserslautern for the football, which I'll tell you about later.

1 Comments:

Blogger Sam said...

Karlsruhe is where all my German family come from, it's a wonderful city.

The name comes from "Karls ruhe", Karl's dream - this young prince had a dream about a city shaped like a fan with all the roads coming inwards to the palace in the centre - it's very impressive.

28/6/06 18:37  

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