Vienna, Austria and Baden- spa town

Vienna, Austria- and the village of Baden I thought I was taking my family to a place of my youth when I traveled after college through Europe as a single woman. My destination at that time, after hoping a barge down the Seine with some kids I met at the Heineken Brewery in Amsterdam (remember those free loving days), was Austria. The home of The Sound of Music. I love that movie and had always dreamed of climbing the Austrian Alps singing with joy �.�the hills are alive with the sound of music�.� My memories of 25 years ago however slipped and instead of taking Jean and Zo�-Pascale to Salzburg, the village of Mozart�s birthplace. I booked us tickets to Vienna, the town where Mozart lived for many years.After a good laugh, we recalled the saying �there are no accidents and you are where you are supposed to be.� With that in mind we had a great adventure in the Vienna area.Vienna itself is a beautiful and cosmopolitan city, but we were anxious for the outdoors and wanted to see the fall foliage in the countryside.After a 29 minute train ride through some glorious countryside splattered with vineyards glowing in red, burgundy, yellow and orange we arrived in Baden, a town built around thermal springs once visited by royalty.We entered the town through a small park with golden trees shining in the autumn sun leading into the main square of the village. In the center of the square stood a baroque monument with 5 streets spiraling out from the center. The old centre was now a pedestrian street with shops, cafes, and a maze of 16th and 17th century mansions. At the end of the village was a grand casino and park lined with large poplar trees shimmering with their gold leaves. White benches and statues of Mozart and Beethoven lay beneath the trees just waiting for the people to come and the concert to begin. A water wagon driven by a horse stopped by and unrolled its� hose and watered the burgundy and yellow chrysanthamums growing in the large pots outside the entrance.Our main purpose of going to Baden was to find the Sulfur Springs and spend sometime soaking in the warm thermal springs and seeing what it was like to take the waters where it started hundreds of years ago. At last we found it. The baths of Baden. An indoor/ outdoor Hot springs/ swimming pool with sauna, massage, and fitness services for the young and old alike.The main indoor pool is divided into a warm pool (the size of a 100 meter swimming pool) with 8 sections in which Jacuzzi jets bubble, blow, and shoot up into the air. Each had their own name, but my favorite was the Buttock Bubble (translated from German). Each section would sprout for 5 minutes and then stop and move to another section. Separated by a bridge was the cold pool used for exercise and cooling off on a hot day. A hot Jacuzzi sat tucked away in the corner and two large outdoor warm pools of varying degrees were entered through a water walkway from the inside pools. Along the edges of the pools were three rows of rocking lounge chairs where you could take a nap, lounge in the sun or read a book.The saunas were built after the true nature of enhancing your health. Starting with the wet saunas, you moved �au natural� from one sauna to the next getting hotter and hotter and choosing between the different scents of lemon, eucalyptus and peppermint. On the left side were the dry saunas with a cold pool and directions on how to take the saunas for maximum benefit; 15 minutes in Sauna 1, 10 minutes in sauna 2, dunk in the cold pool, lounge for 15 minutes, drink water, back to sauna 1, repeat steps, move on to the wet saunas, lounge, massage, lounge. The saunas were seen as a place to cleanse, get healthy and relax. Any interference (like a bathing suit) was looked upon as odd and inhibiting you from gaining the full benefit of the saunas.It was wonderful to see such freedom from people of all ages 30-90. Zo�-Pascale (who was too young to go in the sauna area) swam and played for three hours and said at the end of the day, �it was the best. �
Suzanne Saxe-Roux