Tag Archives: Friedrichshafen

On This Day – Friedrichshafen on Lake Constance

While the current travel restrictions are in place I have no new stories to post so what I thought that I would do is to go through my picture archives and see where I was on this day at any time in the last few travelling years.

On 30th May 2008 I was at Lake Constance in Germany with my daughter…

Friedrichshafen 07

Germany? You’re going on holiday to Germany? But why?”  I am willing to bet that this question/response never arises if you tell people you are travelling to Italy or France.  No, there’s something about travelling to Germany that requires an explanation. Or should that be, there’s something about British people that requires an explanation if you are travelling to Germany and although I encountered this reaction before going to Friedrichshafen I didn’t really feel that I really needed to explain myself.

As Sally had recently broken the news about having a baby which I have to say came as a massive shock, I wasn’t ready at only fifty-two to be ready for that sort of commitment, I thought it would be a good idea to have a last bonding holiday together as father and daughter before the big event as it might to be a long time before we get this opportunity again.  I was straight to the Ryanair website and I quickly located cheap flights to Germany.

I really had no idea where Friedrichshafen was and I really didn’t care, I was determined to have the flights so I booked them without giving the transaction a second thought.  After it had been confirmed I set out to discover where it was exactly and to learn something about our destination.

I was delighted to find that it is in the far southwest of Germany sitting alongside Lake Constance and within easy reach of its neighbours Switzerland and Austria and I quickly realised that here was a trip where I could pull in some extra countries in my quest to visit as much of Europe as possible using the low cost airlines to get me there.  After consulting the guidebooks and planning a suitable itinerary the final plan was to fly to Friedrichshafen then drive to Switzerland and visit Liechtenstein as well.

Lake Constance

We arrived in Germany at three o’clock in the afternoon and picked up the hire car with a minimum of fuss and drove directly to the city to find the hotel Schöllhorn, which wasn’t as straightforward as it should have been but eventually we found it at the third attempt and checked in.

The hotel was a grand building in a good position with front rooms overlooking the lake but as I had booked a budget room ours had an alternative view over the car park at the back but this didn’t matter because as it was mid afternoon already we quickly organised ourselves and made our way out of the hotel and down to the lake to see what the city had to offer.

We walked for a while along the friendly waterfront and before very long selected a table at a bar with an expansive view of the water stretching across to Switzerland.  Not that we could see Switzerland however because there was a strange mist that hung over the curiously dead calm water that rather spoilt the view of the Alps in the distance.  A glance at the menu confirmed my excellent judgement in earlier purchasing a German phrase book at the airport because the menu interpretation looked especially tricky with very few words that meant anything to me.

“My philological studies have satisfied me that a gifted person ought to learn English (barring spelling and pronouncing) in thirty hours, French in thirty days, and German in thirty years.” – Mark Twain, ‘A Tramp Abroad –That Awful German Language’

Friedrichshafen 01

My first attempt at the German language proved a total failure.  I ordered two beers and got three from a slightly confused looking waitress who couldn’t distinguish between my zweis and my dreis – anyway we didn’t complain and drank them all anyway so perhaps it wasn’t such a linguistic catastrophe after all, but mindful of the possible dangers in being too adventurous with food choices from an unfamiliar menu we restricted ourselves to a simple salad for lunch.

This was a perfect spot for an afternoon sojourn and we sat and watched the lake that was busy with ferry boats crossing over to Switzerland or simply stopping off at all the little towns that border the lake and we sat and practised German from the phrasebook and Sally impressed me with her natural grasp of the language.  Later we walked along the promenade to check the schedules for our planned trip to the other side of the water the next day.

Click on an image to scroll through the Gallery…

If you were wondering, the grand looking chap who has his statue it is Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin because this is where his airship was pioneered and developed.

Zeppelin was born in Konstanz, on the other side of the lake and in 1898 he founded the ‘Gesellschaft zur Förderung der Luftschiffahrt’ or the company for the promotion of airship flight, and construction of the first Zeppelin began in Friedrichshafen in 1899 which enjoyed a perfect location for launching the airships presumably because the lake provided a slightly softer landing in the event of mishaps.  The first Zeppelin flight occurred on 2nd July 1900 over Lake Constance and lasted for eighteen minutes.

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Not sure why I was so worried about having a grandchild – now I have four, Molly, Patsy, William and Heidi…

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On This Day – An Overnight Stay in Liechtenstein

While the current travel restrictions are in place I have no new stories to post so what I thought that I would do is to go through my picture archives and see where I was on this day at any time in the last few travelling years.

On 27th April 2007 I was in the sixth smallest country in the World – Liechtenstein.

Click on an image to scroll through the Gallery…

 

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Time – Trouble With a Cuckoo Clock

Black Forest Cuckoo Clock

On a visit to the Black Forest in Germany we stayed at a nice hotel in the town of Offenberg.  One evening when going to the restaurant we were disturbed to find a bus tour from the Netherlands had pitched up and they were all in the dining room right now.

Because they were so busy the service was slow which meant that we drank more wine than is advisable and to pass the time I started to poke around the bric-a-brac and the ornaments and then foolishly started to fiddle with an impressive large cuckoo clock hanging on the wall behind the table.

Immediately I wished I hadn’t touched those cone things that drive the mechanism because it unexpectedly whirred into life and out popped the cuckoo, which had been dormant for a thousand years which unfortunately turned out to be a rather loud cuckoo.

And then as the chain headed non stop towards the floor it popped out several more times, each time announcing itself with its little song that just seemed to get louder and louder each time – the doors were banging, the chains were rattling, the bird was going berserk and I wondered if I might eventually have to throttle it to shut it up.

This impromptu and unscheduled entertainment seemed to amuse the people on the bus tour who were giggling and laughing and I just wanted the thing to get back in its box .  There was no such luck (some people thought it was a fire alarm and made for the exit) and the clock went through twenty-four movements in under two minutes and believe me that is an awful lot of cuckoos.

Then just as I was giving up all hope the thing  thankfully finally exhausted itself and it stopped and with me red faced with embarrassment we slipped out of the restaurant and went back to our room before I could get up to any more mischief.

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Between

Friedrichshafen to Romanshorn Ferry

Ferry Between Germany and Switzerland…

At the ferry booking office  a helpful and patient lady assisted us with our enquiries on how to make the trip across to Switzerland.

She advised us not to book today in advance in case the weather took a turn for the worse and was bad tomorrow and we worried that she knew something that we didn’t, but we took her advice and noted the times of the crossings for later in the day because we had a mind to make a foot crossing later if we ran out of things to do in Friedrichshafen, the prospect of which seemed most likely.

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Liechtenstein, Austria and Germany

Vaduz Liechtenstein

We stopped the car in Vaduz and walked aimlessly along the main road, looked at a church and tried to convince ourselves it was interesting, and then the new Parliament building that was being constructed and then we left.   We crossed back into Switzerland and progressed towards Austria, which we entered through a busy border control crossing but were not asked to produce our passports this time.

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Liechtenstein, Malbun and Vaduz

Liechtenstein The Alps

There was a fine start for our final day and we took an early breakfast at a table with a grandstand view of the valley and the river with the mountains as a dramatic operatic backdrop.  The breakfast was as enjoyable as the previous night’s evening meal and it would have been nice to stay a while longer and enjoy this magnificent view but the car was due back in Friedrichshafen by ten-thirty and we wanted to make the most of the drive.

Click on an image to scroll through the Gallery…

 

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Switzerland, Car Hire, Ferries and Self Cleaning Toilets

Switzerland Alpine Meadow

“Switzerland is a small, steep country, much more up and down than sideways, and is all stuck over with large brown hotels built on the cuckoo clock style of architecture.”  – Ernest Hemingway

After a second generous Teutonic breakfast we booked out of the hotel and took a taxi to a car rental office a couple of kilometres out of town.  Our plan was to take the ferry across to Romanshorn again and then drive through Switzerland to Liechtenstein.   At this stage we didn’t have a road map because I tend to consider these to be an unnecessary expense and I was fairly confident that the place would be signposted and not too difficult to find, as it is, after all, an independent European sovereign state.

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Germany, Friedrichshafen from a Swiss Perspective

Romanshorn Switzerland

“The Swiss have an interesting army.  Five hundred years without a war. Pretty impressive.  Also pretty lucky for them.  Ever see that little Swiss Army knife they have to fight with?  Not much of a weapon there. Corkscrews. Bottle openers.  ‘Come on, buddy, let’s go.  You get past me, the guy in back of me, he’s got a spoon.  Back off.  I’ve got the toe clippers right here.’”                                    Jerry Seinfeld

Switzerland is an fascinating country, which due to its geographical location, the ethnic composition of its population, part German, part French and part Italian, and its relatively small territory, has had to obtain neutral status in order to maintain internal cohesion.

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Germany, Friedrichshafen to Romanshorn by Ferry

Friedrichshafen to Romanshorn Ferry

At the ferry booking office  a helpful and patient lady assisted us with our enquiries on how to make the trip across to Switzerland.  She advised us not to book today in advance in case the weather took a turn for the worse and was bad tomorrow and we worried that she knew something that we didn’t, but we took her advice and noted the times of the crossings for later in the day because we had a mind to make a foot crossing later if we ran out of things to do in Friedrichshafen, the prospect of which seemed most likely.

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Germany, Friedrichshafen and the Zeppelin

Friedrichshafen Zeppelin

The hotel served a substantial breakfast and after making sure that we had filled ourselves sufficiently to last the whole day we set off to explore the town.  It was surprisingly warm and I had failed to pack appropriately and lacking a short sleeved shirt had to purchase one from the cheap shop next to the hotel, only 4€ so a real bargain, but I was too mean to buy more than one so this would have to last for three days, so what I’d saved on clothing I would probably need to spend on deodorant.

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