After lingering over breakfast for so long we almost had to stay another day, we finally dragged ourselves into the car having just then decided in which direction we would head (Holland). We'd chosen some accomodation for the night entirely at random as is our custom, and therefore we set off for Bad Rothenfelde in Germany, neatly bisecting what would have been an unpleasantly lengthy drive by stopping somewhere we had never been before, nor even heard of for that matter.
When we arrived we thought there was some sort of geriatric medical supply convention happening. Every kind of wheelchair, walker, crutch, cane, brace medical appliance that has ever existed was being demonstrated by someone in town. For a time the only able bodied people we saw apart from ourselves were pushing those who weren’t. We felt as though we’d arrived in Pleasantville. Then we discovered that “Bad” in German does not mean “wicked” or “really cool”. It actually translates to “bath” or “spa”, and it would quite accurate to say that the place is crawling with those who would, post treatment, hope to over-run it!
There’s an extraordinarily curious and ancient salt evaporator wall contraption running through the town, nine metres high of timber and thatch. Although apparently no longer used for commercial salt production the spa industry apparently relies on the saline pools it generates, explaining it's impeccable maintenance and continued prominence in the town.
Even in a spa town one has to eat. With our mono-lingual skills tested to the extreme, faced with a strange menu and a busy waitress assisting by badly feigning patience while simultaneously watching something on the ceiling and tapping her pencil on her pad, we ordered the schnitzel not quite prepared for the sheer volume of food which would arrive. They’d obviously heard we were coming, killed the fatted calf and put the whole thing on our plates. We did eat all of it, but could have done with a set of wheels of our own to get us back to our hotel.