The ambitious itinerary for the rest of the 4th day was going to take us from A – Gutach via the small and picturesque city of B – Freudenstadt, the famous casinos and spas resort of Baden-Baden (C) and then across the border into France to D – Metz, the capital of Lorraine.

Marktplatz in Freudenstadt

Did I mention that the rain started to pour. Well, it was going to gain in strength for the following hours, which combined with the wind and the drop in temperatures made of the walk in the open arcade Marktplatz in Freudenstadt quite a challenging experience. It is a double squared shaped plazza reminding more the Italian Renaissance style than a German city. The town of Freudenstadt is one of the well-known health resorts in the area, a place visited in the past centuries by Mark Twain, John D. Rockefeller, and King George V.

Freundenstadt - the evangelical church

We bravely faced the rain and the wind and entered the Evangelical Lutheran church which to our bad luck was located on the other corner of the city than the one were we had parked out car. Built at the beginning of the 17th century the church incorporates objects from churches that functioned in the same place since the Middle Ages. As many other such monuments in Germany it was bombed and completely destroyed at the end of the second world war, and then rebuilt and renovated to its original form.

11th century baptismal font

The overall impression is of sobriety and simplicity and this only enhances the effect of the objects inherited by the church from the previous ages. Some of them are from the medieval period …

decoration from the older churches

… and some of the Gothic period.

details on the ceiling - the Tables of the Law

The more recent decorative elements contain elements related to the Ancient Testament (quite frequent in protestant churches) like these Tables of the Law.

turning right to Baden-Baden

Back to the car, we took the road for the continuation of the itinerary. The plan was to drive North to Baden-Baden, using the scenic road passing near Mummelsee which is said to allow beautiful views of the whole area.

the scenic road

As soon as we climbed the road the rain transformed into rain and fog. I had experienced such a thick fog – no more then 10 meters of visibility ahead – only twice in my life before. Once in Cornwall in the South West of England, another time in Australia in the Blue Mountains area. I was not driving that second time, but the feeling was exactly the same – I could not see anything of an area that is famous for its landscapes. We could not even turn back as trying to turn on that road was extremely dangerous and the same was stopping on the side of the road. The only option was to drive ahead and reach Baden-Baden. The fog dissipated as soon as we descended to the city, the rained continued.

Russian church in Baden-Baden

The luck was not with us that day. We were hoping to stop in Baden-Baden and walk the famous riverside promenade walked by Queen Victoria, Bismarck and Napoleon III and see the casino which inspired Dostoyevsky’s Gambler. We did not take into consideration the rain and the fact that the interesting area we wanted to walk was a no-cars area. We would have been obliged to park the car and then walked at least a kilometer, so we decided to leave the experience for the next trip in the area, and to head to France. We just took a few photos in the streets, including the one of the Russian church – a little non-typical for the place, but then Dostoyevsky was here, wasn’t he?

on the motorway in France fighting our way out of the storm

The rain was getting stronger and stronger but at least we were in the car, driving on the highway that passes North of Strasbourg (which we were planning to reach the next day) and heading West to Metz.

light ahead

The clouds were as black as you can get, and the storm allowed us for some spectacular pictures.

here comes the Sun

… and then, a few kilometers from Metz the skies started to clear, and the beautiful weather returned and was with us for almost the whole rest of the trip.

Cotes de Bourg

The hotel for the night was the Novotel Metz Centre – very well located in the center of the city, in a complex that combines new building atop of an older structure. It has a good parking, a good FNAC bookshop in the same complex and a ten minutes walk takes you to the Cathedral and Place d’Armes, the most famous objectives for visitors in Metz. We were quite hungry, as we had intentionally skipped lunch, so we ate at the hotel restaurant which was fair (fair in France being better than in other places). I do not remember anything special about the food, but the ‘Cotes de Bourg’ wine was good.

Metz Cathedrale St Etienne

We took the walk after the dinner in order to catch some of the famous night views of Metz which won the city (known as an important center of the region since the second century AD) the title of Illuminated City. As we expected, although we were for the first time in the city we felt immediately at home on the streets of Metz. Streets, shops, restaurants all seem to us friendly and familiar, and knowing the language helps so much. That’s how we feel each time we get to France, we must have been French in a previous life :-)

Metz - Place d'Armes

One of the advantages of crossing the border is also understanding the TV news. Weather forecast for the next day was good.