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Baden-Baden | Covid-19 Travel Restrictions | Lockdown | Coronavirus Outbreak Black Forest

Wolfgang Holzem




Baden-Baden (meaning “The Baths in Baden”) is a spa town built on thermal springs at the edge of the Black Forest in Baden-Württemberg, south west Germany. Don’t be put off by its reputation as a hang-out for the rich. This picturesque town is beautifully situated in a wooded valley, and you can enjoy yourself here without spending or gambling a fortune.

Coronavirus since Reopening

Germany | Covid-19 Travel Restrictions | Lockdown | Coronavirus Outbreak
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Fly to Baden-Baden

Baden Airpark (Karlsruhe/Baden-Baden Airport;) (located only 10 km (6 mi) from the city). The airport hosts a base of the low-cost carrier Ryanair, which offers cheap direct flights to several European and North African destinations. 

The airport is in the fare area of the Karlsruher Verkehrsverbund (KVV). Line 234 connects the airport with the city of Rastatt and Schwarzach, line 205 with Baden-Baden. Line 140 (Baden-Airpark-Express/Hahn-Express) connects it with Baden-Baden, Heidelberg and Mannheim (where there are connections to the Frankfurt-Hahn airport). Line 921 (Flightliner Eberhardt-Reisen) links the airport with Strasbourg, Kehl, Rust (Europa Park and Freiburg. KVV tickets are not valid on Lines 140 and 921.

Parking is paid on the whole airport area and is maintained by APCOA. Prices are between €0.50 and €1 per hour (the short-stay parking in front of the terminal costs €1 the first hour, then €1.50 per every following 30 minutes), day rate is between €9 and €14 (short-stay parking €41). Parking slots can be reserved in advance for a fee, but a reservation is not necessary outside the main travelling period. APCOA is allowed to issue parking violation tickets if you don’t follow their rules!

Cheap Flights to Karlsruhe/Baden Baden

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Travel by train to Baden-Baden

Baden-Baden is served by Deutsche Bahn running north–south along the Rhine (MannheimBasel) and east–west (MunichStuttgartStrasbourgParis).

Baden-Baden train stationOoser-Bahnhofstr. 4It has luggage storage.

Getting there: the railway station is 15 minutes’ bus ride from the town center. On arrival, catch the frequent bus 201 to the town center (direction Lichtental/Oberbeuern; get off at Leopoldplatz).

Get around

Image of Destination GuideImage of Destination GuideImage of Destination GuideImage of Destination GuideImage of Destination GuideImage of Destination GuideImage of Destination GuideImage of Destination GuideImage of Destination GuideThe town centre is small enough to walk around. Bus routes to surrounding towns and villages radiate from the town centre (Leopoldplatz and Augustaplatz). Buy your ticket at the machine at the bus stop before boarding. You can get also tickets from the bus drivers. It’s recommended to use the express buses. They take just 5 minutes from the main station to the city.

Sightseeing in Baden-Baden

    • Casino Baden-Baden (Spielbank), 1 Kaiserallee.  James Bond-worthy cocktail club complete with gilt ceilings, 11 roulette tables and an outdoor baccarat terrace.
    • Concert hall (Festspielhaus).
    • Trinkhalle (Pump house).
    • Staatliche Kunsthalle Baden-Baden (Art Museum), Lichtentaler Allee 8a.
    • Museum Frieder Burda8b Lichtentaler Allee.  A dazzling collection of German Expressionist and Gerhard Richter masterworks on display attract tourists from around the world.
    • Fabergé Museum30 Sophienstraße.  World’s only museum of the well-known Russian Fabergé eggs with 700 exhibits.
    • Kunstmuseum Gehrke-RemundGüterbahnhofstraße 9.  Works of Mexican painter Frida Kahlo, whose father was raised in Baden-Baden.
    • Brahms HouseMaximilianstraße 85The world famous composer Johannes Brahms lived here from 1865 to 1874, where he wrote many of his most acknowledged pieces.
    • Lichtentaler AlleeWonderful historic park in Baden-Baden.
    • Lichtenthal Abbey (Lichtental Monastery).
    • City Museum of Baden-Baden.
    • Ruins of the Roman Baths (Römische Badruinen).
    • Castle Hohenbaden (Schloss Hohenbaden).

What to do in Baden-Baden


Walk along the river Oos or in the hills and forests around the town. The tourist office at the Trinkhalle can sell you a booklet of walks based on bus routes. The walking is generally easy, but for maximum reward for minimum effort, take bus 204/205 to the Merkur Bergbahn funicular railway, ride up to the cafe at the top, and walk back via the old castle (Altes Schloss).

  • Merkur Bergbahn10.00 – 22.001,192 m long funicular railway, which lifts people up to 370 m above sea level. €4.
  • Merkurturm (Merkur Tower). An observation tower at the Merkur (Großer Staufenberg) mountain, 668.3 m above sea level. There is a restaurant at the top station.  

Thermal baths

Römerplatz, the heart of the bath quarter (Badeviertel), is five minutes’ walk from Leopoldplatz through the pedestrian zone. In Römerplatz you can see the ruins of the Roman baths and take to the thermal waters yourself at Caracalla Therme and Friedrichsbad. More details:

  • Roman bath ruins (Römische Badruinen), Römerplatz 1 (adjacent to the underground car park below Römerplatz).  Daily 11:00-12:00 and 15:00-16:00; nov 26 – mar 15 offSmall area of excavations with good audioguide in English. €2.5.
  • Caracalla ThermeRömerplatz 1 (Follow the steam rising off the outdoor pools to find this modern bathing complex) ,  fax+49 7221 275980 Daily 08:00-22:00Your ticket gets you into the pool area (where you’ll find a cafe, several indoor and outdoor pools, whirlpools, waterfalls, water jets and so on) and the upstairs Roman Sauna Scape. Caracalla Therme spa is unlike its sister Friedrichsbad Spa next door in that swimming costumes are required to be worn at all times in the pools. The upstairs sauna area is nude only, however, and you should be warned, is mixed sexed for those with a prudish nature. Once you have removed your swimwear however you are free to enjoy a wonderful series of indoor and outdoor saunas, steam rooms, plunge pools, hot tubs and relaxation areas at your leisure. This is a unique and highly invigorating experience to be tried at least once in your lifetime. €15/16/19 for 1½/2/3 hours (excluding sauna). €23 for a day pass. No children under 3.
  • FriedrichsbadRömerplatz 1 (in the city centre) ,  fax+49 7221 275980 Daily 09:00-22:00Friedrichsbad is a beautiful temple to traditional bathing culture, built in 1877, complete with statues and decorative tiling and culminating in a circular central pool in an ornate domed hall. In these elegant surroundings, the Roman-Irish bath (Römisch-Irisches Bad) is a programme of heat, massage, steam and water that will rejuvenate a weary traveller. It’s a wonderful, deeply relaxing experience. No children under 14. The procedure at Friedrichsbad is unique, so read these instructions carefully before you go in, especially if you don’t speak German. Buy your ticket at the entrance, plus a token for the soap-and-brush massage (Seifenbürstenmassage) if you want. At the top of the stairs, men and women go into separate changing rooms and follow the programme separately for the first hour or so (this traditional procedure is now only followed on three days of the week; see the website). Take off all your clothes and put them in a locker, inserting your ticket into the slot inside the door before locking it. Naked, follow the sign to the baths, where an attendant will greet you. Follow the numbered sequence of rooms. Each room has a sign in English on the wall telling you how long you should spend there. You’ll be given a towel and bath shoes at the first shower. You need these for the hot rooms (you must lie or sit on your towel). After the hot rooms, you reach the massage station, where you must hand back your towel, shoes and token. After the massage, proceed to the steam rooms and shower again before going through to the pool area, where men and women bathe naked together in pools at three different temperatures. When you’ve had enough, head back via the cold plunge pool and the sleeping room, to be wrapped in blankets for half an hour. €25 for 3 hours, massage €12 extra.

Where to eat in Baden-Baden

There are plenty of cheap places to eat in the pedestrian zone in the town centre. Vegetarians need not despair. Noodle dishes (Spätzle) are ubiquitous, and look out for dishes based on chanterelle mushrooms (Pfifferlinge)

  • Imperial (Schlosshotel Bühlerhöhe), Schwarzwaldhochstraße 1 (17 km south of town centre, east of Bühl).


Delicious beverages such as Mïshnet (pear juice with ground potato) are available in multiple restaurants.

Where to stay in Baden-Baden

There is a city tax of €3.50 per night (Sept 2017) that is rarely included in price information or bookings via booking portals.


  • Werner-Dietz JugendherbergeHardbergstraße 34 ,  fax+49 7221 60012 Check-in: 15:00–22:30Large, comfortable, youth hostel (part of HI), though with a slightly aged standard in the rooms. About a mile from the town centre. Up a steep hill! Note late check-in time. Breakfast included. Like many Jugendherbergen, school classes commonly stay here for field trips. € 22–27.


  • Hotel am MarktMarktplatz 18 (up the hill behind Friedrichsbad) ,  fax+49 7221 270444 In the heart of the old town, quiet, family-run, excellent value. Loud church bells! Doubles €60–80.
  • Historic Hotel RathausglöckelSteinstr.7 ,   .
  • Holiday Inn ExpressLange Straße 93.  Good quality rooms and better than typical breakfast buffet for a HI Express. A little out of the center of the town but convenient for getting to/from other locations in the area.
  • Haus ReblandUmweger Straße 133 ,   .


  • Brenner’s Park Hotel and SpaSchillerstraße 4-6 ,  fax+49 72 2138772 An establishment with over 130 years of history situated within a legendary park, a grand hotel of international reputation.
  • Dorint Maison MessmerWerderstraße 1 (right next to the casino) ,   Five-star hotel. From €219 per room/night.
  • Hotel am SophienparkSophienstraße 14 ,  fax+49 7221 356 121 Historical hotel in downtown Baden-Baden with its own private park.

Hotels Baden-Baden: Popularity

Hotel Stars Discount Price before and discount Select dates
HELIOPARK Bad Hotel Zum Hirsch ★★★★ View Isaan Hotel Deals
Leonardo Royal Hotel Baden- Baden ★★★★ View Isaan Hotel Deals
Roomers Baden-Baden, Autograph Collection ★★★★★ View Isaan Hotel Deals
Hotel Rebenhof ★★★★ View Isaan Hotel Deals
Holiday Inn Express Baden-Baden ★★★ View Isaan Hotel Deals
Aqua Aurelia Suitenhotel an den Thermen ★★★★ View Isaan Hotel Deals
Hotel Athos ★★★ View Isaan Hotel Deals
Hotel Deutscher Kaiser ★★ View Isaan Hotel Deals
Maison Messmer - ein Mitglied der Hommage Luxury Hotels Collection ★★★★★ View Isaan Hotel Deals
Waldhotel Forellenhof ★★★ View Isaan Hotel Deals

Telecommunications in Baden-Baden

Free WiFi is available in the town centre and the train station under the name “BAD-WLAN”.

Go next

  • Baden-Baden is well placed for day trips into the Black Forest. Other cities within easy reach include FreiburgStrasbourg and Stuttgart. Avis and Sixt both have car hire depots in the town.
  • Bertha Benz Memorial Route – follow the tracks of the world’s first automobile journey (Mannheim – Pforzheim/Black Forest – Mannheim) in 1888.

Former founder of and now reporting mainly on the Asia Pacific region and the global Coronavirus crises in countries such as Thailand, Germany & Switzerland. Born near Cologne but lived in Berlin during my early teenage years. A longterm resident of Bangkok, Udon Thani, Sakon Nakhon and Phuket. A great fan of Bali, Rhodes & Corfu. Now based on Mallorca, Spain.


Wirecard : How Jan Marsalek Friend Henry O’Sullivan became “Corinna Müller”




Henry OSullivan

The Briton Henry O’Sullivan is regarded as the dazzling puller of many Wirecard deals and friend of Jan Marsalek and internal emails show how big his influence was in the company.

Henry O’Sullivan celebrated his 40th birthday in paradise. He invited lawyers, managers and high-ranking executives from Wirecard to the lonely dream island of Benguerra off the coast of the East African state of Mozambique. Board member Jan Marsalek and his girlfriend should also come.

As a souvenir, the host wanted: pens for the school children in town and champagne for the party weekend.

The luxury resort Azura Retreats, which O’Sullivan rented in November 2014, had cabins right on the beach, palm trees, and a beach. On arrival, the guests would have to wade through knee-deep water as the British businessman’s assistant warned a month before the celebration. That wasn’t a problem for Jan Marsalek. He preferred to travel by helicopter anyway, according to an email from his secretary.

The extravagant birthday plans reveal a lot about two of the central key figures in the Wirecard scandal. Jan Marsalek (40) and Henry O’Sullivan (46) are close confidants who worked together on big deals far away from the headquarters in Aschheim. Now the judiciary is asking whether millions have been diverted. Wirecard is insolvent and Marsalek is on the run.

O’Sullivan does not answer inquiries. At the beginning of 2020, he only wanted to talk to the examiners from KMPG and EY under certain conditions but then he was no longer available to them.

The beefy Brit was known for his dissolute lifestyle. In Singapore he often dined in a top restaurant on the roof of the Marina Bay Sands hotel, with a view over the harbor. To save time on business trips, he preferred to travel short distances by helicopter instead of taxi and in the meantime he lived on a yacht in Monaco.

Marsalek had O’Sullivan flown in in 2014 to celebrate with him at the Munich Oktoberfest. A year later they flew through South Africa in the Learjet 45XR. And when the Briton wanted to meet the Wirecard executive board in Jakarta in 2014, he asked an Indonesian employee by email about a hotel that would tolerate the “type of spring break business trips”.

Beyond its luxury life, only fragments of O’Sullivan’s businesses are known. The Briton did not hold an official position at Wirecard. Many consider him a “phantom” in the background, a member of the mysterious clique around Marsalek.

It was stored in the Wirecard address book with an external e-mail address for freelancers – his profile photo showed Pablo Escobar, the Colombian drug lord: another bad joke by Jan Marsalek, as insiders suspect.

As much as O’Sullivan was on business trips, he was always careful to be discreet. This is also shown by an episode from spring 2020, when the Wirecard world was already falling apart and auditors examined the opaque third-party business for which Marsalek was responsible.

O’Sullivan was very knowledgeable about third party business and a strange company purchase in India in 2015. He was therefore a sought-after discussion partner for the annual auditors from EY and the special auditors from KPMG. O’Sullivan apparently managed to convince the supervisory board of a special protective measure.

A sought-after discussion partner for EY and KPMG

O’Sullivan demanded at the end of April or beginning of March 2016 that his name should not be recorded in the “final report” or in any other correspondence with Wirecard. “These papers have a habit of appearing in public,” he wrote to an assistant at Marsalek. He assumes that “everything that is written will ultimately be read by others” and he therefore insists on being given a pseudonym.

This is how Mr. O’Sullivan became Mrs. Müller. On March 4, a legal advisor to the Supervisory Board wrote to Wirecard management: “As discussed yesterday, a code name should be used for all further e-mails and other references. Proposal: ‘Ms. Corinna Müller’. ”On the same day, EY agreed not to use the name in communication with Wirecard international.

According to supervisory board circles, however, it was clear: There should be no special treatment in the confidential internal audit report, and O’Sullivan’s real name would have been mentioned here.

How those involved initially adhered to the language regulation became apparent on March 4, 2020. When O’Sullivan allegedly canceled an appointment in Monaco due to Corona entry regulations from Singapore, Marsalek’s assistant wrote to the auditors at KPMG: “Ms. Müller is herself aware of the time pressure and has agreed to contact us tomorrow with a short-term alternative. “

But it did not get to that. According to the “Wall Street Journal”, the special auditor KPMG was cross: O’Sullivan had also made the condition of their auditors anonymous. When they refused, he refused to speak.

He could tell so much in the process. In the ten years before the bankruptcy alone, Wirecard acquired companies for 1.2 billion euros, according to insolvency administrator Michael Jaffé. In his report, Jaffé writes that the deals were one reason for the “enormous consumption of liquidity in recent years”. The public prosecutor is investigating former executives on suspicion of fraud and breach of trust.

O’Sullivan was involved in numerous Wirecard deals. His name is linked to one of the largest and most dubious deals the payment service provider has done in recent years: the takeover of the Indian Hermes group in 2015. Wirecard bought the companies from the Mauritius-registered fund Emerging Markets Investment Fund 1A (EMIF 1A) for 326 million euros. The amazing thing: the fund had only acquired the same company and assets a few months earlier for around 35 million euros and it is still not clear who was behind that deal

Marsalek stated in an interview with Handelsblatt at the beginning of 2020 that he had not checked the background. But insiders report that O’Sullivan and Marsalek were the ones who planned the deal and who ultimately benefited from it. In any case, the original Hermes sellers now feel cheated. They filed a lawsuit that revealed that it was O’Sullivan who negotiated the sale to the EMIF 1A fund for € 35 million.

O’Sullivan also appears at another important point in the Wirecard network, the so-called third-party business. Wirecard achieved a large part of its sales with it, at least according to the balance sheet. Essentially, three companies provided the supposed income: Pay Easy from the Philippines, Al Alam from Dubai and Senjo from Singapore.

The central figure in Senjo was also O’Sullivan, even if he did not hold an official position. A PR consultant for the British company stated in 2019 that her client worked for Senjo. That’s only half the story. In practice, O’Sullivan is said to have been the one in charge of Senjo. In Singapore, the authorities are now investigating for falsification of accounts in the vicinity of the group of companies.

How hard Marsalek worked internally at Wirecard for his party friend O’Sullivan is shown by a short-term lending business from 2016, which several Wirecard board members dealt with. Ascheimer Wirecard Bank AG granted Cottisford Holdings Ltd, a generous credit line of ten million euros from O’Sullivan, for which Wirecard AG guaranteed as internal emails and documents prove this.

“Today the supervisory board formally approved the loan retrospectively, but was not ‘amused’ about it,” wrote the then board member Rainer Wexeler of Wirecard Bank AG on March 2, 2016 to Marsalek. He complained that the panel had been poorly informed. Wexeler asked: “Can you please give me the private address of O’Sullivan and some key business data about his business, his connection to Wirecard AG, etc.?”

Wirecard credit for companies in a tax haven

Marsalek did not reply in writing, but less than a month later he informed him why O’Sullivan’s company had not paid the money back on the agreed date. “The delay resulted from an unexpected complication in the distribution of dividends from one of its holdings.” O’Sullivan believes that the problem “will be resolved in the next few days,” wrote Marsalek.

Wexeler was evidently unsure of the loan. He asked: “It would still be important to know how the money that we made available to him was invested.” There is no answer to this, but that Marsalek suddenly advocated the loan “just days later” long-term “.

The borrower, Cottisford Holdings Ltd., also comes from an island that is likely to be O’Sullivan’s favorite vacation destination, as the British Virgin Islands are a paradise not only for tourists, but also for lovers of lax tax rules.

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Wirecard Scandal claims another Victim – Heike Pauls from Commerzbank




heike paul

It’s not even eight months since Germany’s number one payment service provider imploded: Wirecard had to admit in June 2020 that billions of euros never existed on the balance sheet. As a result, board members had to go to jail or disappeared without a trace. Since then, auditors have been distrusted, and the head of the BaFin supervisory authority has to look for a new job. The youngest victim is Heike Pauls of the German Commerzbank.

Up until a few weeks before the Wirecard scandal burst, several analysts in various banks believed in Wirecard. They unshakably believed that the annual financial statements for 2019, which had been postponed several times, would end well, some experts continued to insist on Wirecard price targets of 180 to 240 euros.

One of the bravest supporters of the scandal group was Heike Pauls from Commerzbank. The analyst was always loyal to Wirecard: She dismissed critical reports about the payment processor as false reports and even a few weeks before the collapse she issued a buy recommendation with a price target of 230 euros for the Wirecard share.

As the Spiegel reported, Pauls had in the meantime also provided the management of the payment processor with sensitive information that it had collected specifically on the capital market. In January Commerzbank had already restructured the research department and relieved the analyst of her duties, now the announcement was made:

“Commerzbank has terminated the employment relationship.”

The Wirecard scandal is far from being dealt with. Further personnel consequences in various economic areas could follow. Extensive claims for damages by investors against the insolvent payment service provider are also examined and the the Wirecard share remains taboo for any investors.


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Wirecard Committee – Doubts about Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg’s Credibility




Wirecard Committee Doubts about Guttenberg's credibility

Didn’t Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg tell the whole truth when he appeared as a witness on the Wirecard investigative committee? Internal documents that are available to the ARD studio fuel the suspicion. The SPD accuses him of having lied to the committee and in the opposition too, doubts about its credibility are growing.

In December Guttenberg was asked about his role in the Wirecard scandal in the Bundestag. It was also about an article that the former CSU minister published in the “Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung” at the end of March 2020. The topic: The role of short sales in the Corona crisis. At the time, Wirecard was targeted by shortsellers, i.e. stock exchange traders who bet on falling prices for a company and Guttenberg had argued against such short sales in the article.

Mail to ex-Wirecard boss Markus Braun

Guttenberg apparently did not want to draw a direct connection to his work for Wirecard, but there are doubts about this representation.

An email to the then Wirecard boss Markus Braun, however, indicates that Guttenberg could very well have had the now insolvent DAX group in mind when he wrote the text for the FAZ. 

In this email of March 20, 2020, the Managing Director of the communications company Edelman, Rüdiger Assion, proposed a “Short Selling Action Plan” to the Wirecard boss. Among other things, this contained the suggestion that Guttenberg could write a guest commentary on the subject of short sales in the newspapers FAZ or “Die Welt”. An argumentation paper with key messages is also attached to the mail. Just six days later, exactly such a guest comment appears in the FAZ. Guttenberg’s argumentation shows clear similarities with the line proposed in the argumentation paper.

SPD speaks of a lie

The SPD chairman in the Wirecard committee, Zimmermann, therefore accuses Guttenberg of not telling the truth on the witness stand. Zimmermann told the ARD city studio: “He (Guttenberg’s note by the editor) lied to the investigative committee and tried to set the wrong track when he denied arguing for a ban on short sales in the interests of Wirecard. A real surprise is this lack of honesty not with him. ” Now it must be clarified whether Guttenberg deliberately wanted to mislead the investigative committee.

CDU defends Guttenberg

Guttenberg is defended by the CDU. The MP Matthias Hauer said that the SPD should primarily devote itself to the question of why the BaFin, supervised by Finance Minister Olaf Scholz, imposed the short sale ban on Wirecard. “This should certainly contribute more to the explanation of Wirecard than an article in the name of an ex-politician on the subject in the FAZ.”

But doubts about Guttenberg’s credibility are also growing among the opposition. The chairman of the Greens, Danyal Bayaz, said that Guttenberg’s remarks on his opinion contribution had already been implausible in the committee of inquiry. “Apparently it was part of the advisory service to specifically win over public opinion for a renewed ban on short selling.” That does not cast a good light on Guttenberg’s honesty.

The Linke chairman in the committee, Fabio de Masi, can imagine summoning the former Federal Minister again: “If Mr. Guttenberg was Baron Münchhausen and had said the untruth in front of the committee of inquiry, this would also be criminally relevant, (…) the question is then whether his other statements that he had met the Chancellor privately are also untrue. “


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