Bad Colberg-Heldburg — Invigoration And Exploration

On a sleepy Saturday morning, with barely enough coffee in me to open one eye (let alone two), I tried to figure out where I was. It took a few minutes to shake off the grogginess to realize it was the Thuringian town of Bad Colberg-Helburg — not the Bavarian town of Coburg. Which, by the way, is only about 18 kilometers off into the distance.

What I look forward to the most are the dips in the Terrassentherme, the town’s signature spa. Am I foolish to think dips in its eleven different pools (various temperatures from its salty thermal springs/bubbles or non/inside and outside) might invigorate me enough to head out exploring?

Ahh, no need to go too far — because from what I understand the spa complex is designed to bring the outdoors inside. Tired as I am, I should save the massage and the six different saunas until later.

If you don’t know me by now, there are only a few things that could drag me away from a pampered day at a spa — and no, it would not be something like hopping on a bicycle for a day of riding. Although, my friends, there are some fantastic trails (like the 60km Werra Obermain Route) around these parts. And Bad Colberg-Heldberg does lie along the Vulkanstra├če, a scenic route that’s best seen by bike.

What will drag me along without too much kicking and screaming from the massage table is a castle — the more medieval the better, mind you. That’s exactly what you’ll find at the Veste Heldburg, despite its Renaissance appearance.

The Veste Heldburg is the reason Bad Colberg-Heldburg has earned a spot along the Thuringian Castle Road, and it’s open to visitors six days a week (Tues-Sun). While this is one daunting looking castle, it is remarkably stunning in its design. Maybe it’s the tower, or the minute details? No idea, but I do know the fortress has been around since the 13th century, and houses the Burgenmuseum.

Castles are great, but so are a lot of German festivals — and luckily enough there is a combination of the two at the Mittelalterburgfest every September. A taste of the Middle Ages with modern day plumbing? Oh. I. Am. So. Coming. Back.

Not everyone gets all tingly with that kind of stuff, so it’s a good thing Bad Colberg-Heldburg hosts quite an assortment of other culture events. For instance, there are the Chamber Music concerts; the Brauhausfest (May); Schlossgartenfest (May); two Kirmes events in August; Fish Festival in July; and both an Advent Bazaar and Christmas Market in December.

Well, the coffee has awakened me enough to venture out to see some half-timbered houses in the village of Heldburg, and the 18th century Church of Saints Wolfgand & Jacobus in Holzhausen, and/or the Church of St. Cyriakus in Gellershausen. Then go reward myself with a dip in those pools… ;-)

 

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