Readers of my blog will know by now that history provides me with inspiration. There are some towns in Europe in which the touch of history is everywhere. Baden-Baden, a spa town in southwestern Germany’s Black Forest, is one of these places. Its thermal baths helped it become a fashionable 19th-century resort. It is not difficult to imagine Dostoyevsky strolling home along the Lichtentaler Allee (pic 1 left) after a night gambling in the casino. The Alle itself will take you to the house where Brahms lived and composed. Nor would it need too much imagination to see Mahler on an afternoon walk up to the terrace (picture 2) after taking the healing waters in the Trinkhalle (pic 3). And all of this, mercifully untouched, by allied bombing in WW2.
The cemetery will also give the visitor an idea of what WW2 did to the German military elite. There are rows and more rows of young men, the sons and heirs of Von This and Von That who left their bones in Russia and their short lives to be remembered in this place. Among them is the older Field Marshal Friedrich Von Paulus, commander of 6th army in Stalingrad. He survived his stay in Russia only to die in Dresden in 1957. He is buried in the cemetery in Baden Baden next to his wife.
Even today, on warm sunny days, you can dance around the bandstand outside the casino - perhaps a waltz in memory of that last summer - the summer of 1914 - before WW1 broke out and changed everything for the next 75 years.