Bodensee

Bodensee or Lake Constance is the largest lake in Germany - however it shares it shoreline with Austria and Switzerland.  In actual fact, it is also not so far away from Liechtenstein, a little known country squeezed in between Austria and Switzerland. 

We took the 183km drive, west southwards towards Lindau, a drive which took just under 2 hours to do and we weren't disappointed with what we saw at Lindau Island and what this little island has to offer.  The little Tourist Information Centre happened to be closed during the weekend (which really, doesn't make sense as most tourists would travel on the weekend).  In any case, there was a vending machine just outside of the centre which eats €1 coins which it spits out a large volume of hotel accommodation in Lindau Island.  Apart from the adventure of discovery, the purpose of our visit was to determine if this is a place worth visiting and touring around in greater detail.... it certainly was.

Lindau Island (LIndauinsel) is perhaps best characterised by its harbour.  Not exactly a big harbour, it does have a very nice promenade with nice cafés which have very pleasant views of the lake and into neighbouring Bregenz, capital of Voralberg, Austria, as well as of the hills of Bregenz Forest and of course, dramatic views of the Alps.  The atmosphere at the promenade is enhanced at the time of our visit with a guitarist trio playing to the small crowd and passers by.  Occasionally, this music is interrupted by announcements of the impending departure of the next ferry to other towns on the lake - notably the town of Constance on the Swiss side of the lake. 

An old medieval lighthouse still remains while the New Lighthouse and Bavarian Lion statue watch the entrance to the harbour, we understood since about 130 years.  What we were looking for, and hopefully will discover in the next trip are ferries that would also transport vehicles as it seems logical that a ferry trip across Lake Constance would shorten a 310km journey between Munich and Switzerland's capital, Zurich.  The 310km journey traverses Lake Constance, which no doubt can be shortened by the scenic ferry ride.


Maximillianstrasse, the main shopping street
on Lindau Island

 

There are several sights within Lindau Island which was of interest.  The first was Maximillianstrasse, the main shopping street which is also where the "Altes Rathaus" (old town hall) was.  The building was nicely decorated but had a sign saying something like "No tourism" on it.  In any case, we had a very pleasant walk through Maximillianstrasse enjoying browsing through the small quaint stores.  Oh yes, there was an elderly gentleman busking right in front of the Rathaus with his rather large street accordian.

We ventured northwest of Lindau's Old Town Hall, in Schrannenplatz and found Peterskirche (St Peter's Church) which had a small plaque indicating that it was founded about 1000.  Interestig, this is a 1,000 year old church!  Quite a nice little deserting building, we also found Thief's Tower nearby.  As we couldn't get in, there's nothing here to say about it but the Rumpelstiltskin's style pleated blonde hair hanging from a little window at the top of the tower puts an interesting twist to this visit - Did the Rumpelstiltskin fairy tale, created by the Grimm Brothers originate from here?


Meersburg, a picturesque quaint town on Bodensee
 

We continued our journey westwards to a second town called Meersburg, 45km away.  Meersburg stands for "Sea Castle" in German..  Again, we did not spend very much time here, enough time to decide if Bodensee is a location worth visiting.  On the way, we discovered signage to two castles "Burg MeersBurg" and "Neues Schloss" or New Castle.  We would guess that this two would be worth checking out.

On the way, we also passed a Zepplin Museum as well as a Zepplin University - we guess the university was not about learning how to fly the airship which was made famous by the Hindenburg incident.  This was the story where a Zepplin, called the LZ 129 Hindenburg burst into flames in controversial circumstances killing 36 people.  Most died because they panicked and jumped.

The town of Meersburg itself paints a picture postcard and would be worth a second visit, this time perhaps to invest a few days checking out the rest of the place around the lake.  We could see a few galleries, some museums, a very nice town hall within its town square and enjoyed a scrumptious mushroom soup lunch there.  Again Meersburg and the Bodensee region wiill be well worth a second look but perhaps more than just for a fleeting visit.

 

Jeanette and Raymond
May 13th, 2007
 

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