Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Lake Constance

Our summer vacation this year took us to Lake Constance, the largest body of water in Germany, which borders on Austria and Switzerland as well. Ferries shuttle guests from one shore to the next and bicycles are omnipresent on the many bike paths surrounding the sea.
Landlocked as we are in Stuttgart (aside from the barely noticeable Neckar River running through the city), it was refreshing to breath the fresh air down at the lake. The area is steeped in history - from Unteruhldingen's 6000-year-old archeological finds to Constance's wonderful cathedral and constant reminders of the role it played in Germanic history. The region is also well know for its agricultural products, especially its apples. Our holiday apartment bordered a pear plantation.
But the real thrill for the kids and adults alike was the allure of the water.

Whether we were on the fast Katamaran ferry or watching the bathers and boaters from the shoreline, the water fascinated us all.

 Every time of day had its charm and different quality of light.

When we walked over to Lindau Island, we usually had to wait for the trains to come and go before we could cross the tracks and continue on our journey. The man in the Bahnwärter house near the tracks didn't seem to be distracted by the 100 or so bike riders waiting to cross. We guessed that he was in cahoots with the man selling coffee at the crossing! I took the following picture through a drainage pipe there that emptied out into the lake.

Another major attraction at the lake is the city of Meersburg. Because the part of Germany near the lake is so close to Switzerland, the Allies did not dare bomb it during WWII for fear of missing their target. Thus, there is a lot of well-preserved history to be seen, such as the old and new castles in Meersburg.
The new palace in Meersburg with a flock of starlings swarming about 
There is also the unfriendliest ice cream parlor employee I've ever met. I stopped to take a picture of  their marzipan offerings and the woman yelled at me to not take pictures and delete the one I'd taken or she'd have me arrested. The gentleman who had just ordered three scoops of ice cream from her told her that he didn't want it any more because she was so rude. She just dumped the ice cream back and went about her witchy ways. Nearly ruined my day.

We also had some nice encounters with animals while we were on vacation. At the lake we enjoyed watching the hungry seagulls dive for whatever crumbs were offered them.

 And we visited the farm owned by our neighbor's parents in Friedrichshafen. I got the full tour with quite an interesting history lesson about how the city had tried to take their land away in the 1970s. They fought the city in court for 22 years, finally proving that they were serious about keeping what was rightfully theirs. We saw their very happy cows - all descendants from their own herd. We helped with the onion harvest. The store was open, so we bought fresh salami, cheese, milk and fruits and vegetables. They invited us for a wonderful supper, which we ate out in their garden. It was the first time I had had really fresh milk in over 40 years!

During our second day trip to Bregenz (Austria), we took the cable car up the Pfänder Mountain and saw animals in their natural Alpen habitats. We also saw the stage set up on the lake for the opera André Chénier. I had seen Fidelio there back in 1995, which was a fascinating experience.


  1. Beautiful photos, Jim! I especially love the green of the water with the pylons, the frozen action of feeding the seagulls, and the symmetry of the elk on the hillside. Glorious!

  2. drei Hirsche - das muss ein Zeichen sein ;o)


  3. These were some of the more generic pictures, though ones I liked a lot. I'm beginning to do more interesting things in the post-processing stage, so keep your eyes glued to this spot. More to come!

  4. Very nice! Not sure I could pick a favorite, but the regal and impressive elk definitely caught my attention. Looks like a peaceful and colorful vacation.

  5. When I saw the three stags sitting there, I knew that was my picture of the day/week/month.