There is the birthplace and there is the deathplace. We are in the deathplace. The deathplace is Bad Aibling, in southern Germany, just north of the Austrian border. To get here, we have driven through the Tyrol, the Italian-Austrian-German alpine region in which gingerbread houses stack up on the green slopes of valleys.
Bad Aibling sounds fitting for a deathplace, a bad place, though in fact “bad” means “bath.” As we drive on a two-lane road, we see cars parked in bunches on the grassy shoulder, and it seems people might be bathing, dipping their feet in the country creeks the way it’s done in Tuscany, where each creek is known for its particular qualities of minerals and temperature. I might bother to find out about creek-bathing if I were a tourist, but I am not. We simply glide in suspension, the place of death acquiring properties as we approach. Bad Aibling is a spa town and, seemingly as an extension of the warm baths, clinics have arisen here. We are looking for the Schloss-Prantseck Klinik, at which patients receive hyperthermia, a superheating of the waters. [excerpt]
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Rhett, Kathryn. "In Transit," Harvard Review 30 (Spring 2006), 82-100.
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