Monday, 18 July 2011

Lake Constance: Switzerland, Germany and Austria all in one day!!!

Karen B. is on the razzle again .. here's another little trip she has just done!!

Yet one more hen's party (Swiss German style) that I attended with a difference!  Location - Lake Constance which is situated in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.   The German city of Constance (and the lake) is off the beaten track but well worth a visit during summer.  My day started in the Swiss city of Kreuzlingen, just a walk across the border into the City of Constance where I and my eleven companions took an excursion boat (not the standard ferry) to the small German town of Meersburg.  We meandered through the cobbled streets of this medieval town up to the Hotel Weisshaar.  What awaited us there was a magnificent view of the lake from the terrace and fabulous freshly made cakes.  (You may just have to have another cheeky little slice of the plum crumble!)  

From there it was a short walk down to the thermal baths where you pay by the amount of time you wish to spend there but we decided our fingers would look like prunes if we stayed longer than 3 hours!  There is a lovely warm indoor pool which leads to an outside pool where you can relax while your body is massaged by jets along the wall .... all of this and a view of the lake as well!!  Blissful!!!  An important point to remember though - in Germany saunas are usually mixed sex and bathing suits are not worn ..... keep this in mind when in Europe.
Throughout the day we saw a zeppelin flying back and forth over the lake.  Flights are available and prices for 30 minutes start at Euros 200 but unfortunately we didn't have time ..... oh well .. maybe next time!
After our pampering it was back to Constance by boat for an aperitif and a bite to eat.  There are plenty of restaurants to choose from.  To end the day we had a tour of Constance by the Night Watchman.  (At one time the town of Constance had a bigger population than Berlin and Cologne.)  This walking tour takes  hrs and is Euros 6.50 per person and it is taken by a local historian.  The night watchman was responsible for telling the time (before clocks) and getting people up in the morning (6am), putting out fires and was also the local policeman.  As this role was a lowly role he was not allowed to live in the city.  If he fell asleep during his watch the local towns people took a dim view of this and would kill him (as they did to a night watchman in Bern, Switzerland).  He was not allowed to do his rounds with people (unless he was collecting the dead) so took animals for company.  The most popular animal (or bird) was a goose as it appears to sense danger ahead of time.  There were lots of other little interesting stories and some explained how certain German phrases originated.  Unfortuantely this particular historian only spoke German but it gives you a taste of what is available on a cultural note in some European cities/towns for a very reasonable price .. and usually the guides are multilingual.

Train to Constance:
Zeppelin tours over Lake Constance

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