Lake Constance: A Tale of 3 Countries

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Life has been so busy over the last month, just learning how to navigate public transportation and live without a Trader Joes.  I’ve been behind on posting a few of our day trips, but the newly rainy and cold German Winter has us in for the day, and it seems like the perfect time to share some sunshine.

The very first day trip we went on was to Lake Constance, or as the locals call it, Bodensee.  It’s an absolutely stunning lake located in the foothills of the Alps, and is bordered by Germany, Switzerland, and Austria.

To get there, we took a bus to Meersburg, and then took a ferry to Konstanz, which is a lovely town, bustling with locals out and about, enjoying the sunshine, ice cream cones, and waterfront views.

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The weather is known for being fairly gusty, which along with the beauty of the water and surroundings, attracts quite a few watersports fanatics.  The view of the flocks of sailboats and windsurfers was incredible on the ferry ride over to Konstanz.

We learned a bit about the past of Konstanz, which has a really interesting past.  With the lake being surrounded by Germany, Switzerland, and Austria, naturally it begs the question – who owns what parts of the lake?  Although there’s no legally binding agreement, the Swiss hold the view that the border runs through the middle of the lake, Germany has no official legal opinion, and the Austrians believes the territory belongs to all three countries jointly.  How civil, right?

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Imperia, a statue modeled after a fictional, umm…prostitute, greets you at the entrance of the harbor and has caused quite a stir over the years.  Because well, what you see pictured is her back which is fully clothed, but her front is not quite as modest.  And being the lady of controversy, Imperia holds in her hands two men.  Two men look oddly like Pope Martin V and emperor at that time (Gasp!).  Despite the many requests to remove the statue, it is on property that the railroad owns, and they could give a hoot, so hundreds of years later, the statue remains a unique landmark of Konstanz.

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This is the perfect place to stroll, shop, and of course, eat!  We started by stopping by a local Italian restaurant and had the most delicious pizza and beer to hold us over for the rest of our day trip.  The town was filled with locals shopping and enjoying ice cream cones.  If you weren’t aware, the ice cream obsession here is REAL.

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Konstanz also is home to the Zeppelin Museum, which is dedicated to airships, and has a replica of the Hindenburg, the largest airship ever built, which crashed in the 1930’s and put an end to the airship era.  To be honest, I could have lived without this part of our trip, but it was interesting.  It’s hard to be inside a museum when there’s clear blue water and sunshine waiting just outside the doors.

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And as with any day trip in Europe, it wouldn’t be complete without visiting a historic cathedral and doing some more shopping before heading home.

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I already cannot wait to schedule another trip to Konstanz.  But next time, a full weekend in the summer.  This is the perfect place for an easy day outdoors, finished with a cool dip in the lake, and a walk into town for dinner.

If you’re in Germany…or Austria…or Switzerland during the warmer months, Lake Constance is a must-see.  You won’t regret it!

 

Lake Constance

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