“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.
Probably not Japan or Russia for that matter. 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.
The time was right to visit Germany at last or maybe it was just simple opportunism.
The Ryanair website is like quicksand; once you are in there it sucks you in deeper and deeper looking for bargain flight offers and it is difficult to get out. It is cleverly designed to work that way so that you visit more and more pages in a frenzied search for the best deals. I really didn’t think that it would be possible to beat the £16 return flights to Pula so I was understandably ecstatic to find flights to Friedrichshafen for £15 return. I really had no idea where Friedrichshafen was, except that I knew that it is in Germany, 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 was in the far south of Germany sitting alongside Lake Constance and within easy reach of Switzerland and Austria. I quickly realised that here was a trip where I could include some extra countries in the quest to visit as much of Europe as possible using the low cost airlines to get there.
As it took shape the final plan was to fly to Friedrichshafen (in Germany) then drive to Switzerland, stay in Liechtenstein and drive back to Germany through Austria; four countries in as many days and three new ones to add to my journals.
When we arrived in Friedrichshafen the weather was perfect and the sun was shining and we quickly took a taxi to the city that drove us through some, quite frankly, uninteresting suburbs, and it was a lady taxi driver to take us there so there was nothing very exciting about the drive either as she took us to our hotel with a sedate efficiency.
We were staying at the Hotel City Krone, which was a modern refurbished hotel quite close to the city centre and a short walk to the lakeside restaurants and bars. One thing bothered us however because there was a church tower worryingly close and with bells every quarter hour we feared a little in case of a disturbed night’s sleep. We have been wary of church towers and chiming clocks ever since our visit to Salzburg, which we christened the chiming capital of Europe!
As it was about lunchtime 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 and we were absolutely delighted as the place immediately exceeded our modest expectations. We had had no idea of what we might find so we were surprised to discover a broad sunny promenade with bars and restaurants overlooking the lake and a genuine holiday resort atmosphere.
Lake Constance is a vast freshwater lake on the upper River Rhine situated between Germany, Switzerland, and Austria and is the third largest in central Europe after Lake Balaton which is in Hungary and the second largest, Lake Geneva which lies between France and Switzerland. It is sixty-three kilometers long and one-hundred and eighty-six kilometers around, at its widest point it is nearly fourteen kilometers across and it covers approximately five-hundred and thirty-nine square kilometers of total area. Ninety per cent of the water is melted floodwater from the Alps and this supplies three-hundred and twenty cities and towns and four million people with drinking water, so this is a very big lake indeed and it is fairly important to an awful lot of people.
It is an interesting fact that there is no legally binding agreement as to where the boundaries lie between the three countries that border the shores of Lake Constance. Switzerland holds the view that the border runs through the middle of the lake, whilst Austria is of the opinion that the lake stands in condominium of all the states on its banks. Germany agrees with neither of these points of view and doesn’t care too much anyway. I expect they would get their own way if they really had a mind to.
Germany is surely on my to-do list. Maybe I live too close (Sweden) and it feels too much like home, so my vacations are usually more tropical, but I have to visit Germany soon, as well.
I have no idea why Germany isn’t much of a tourist destination with us. We’ve had some great holidays there, and you seem to be intent on backing up this point of view!
My mum who is 88 won’t even consider going to Germany because of the war.
Gosh. I’m quite shocked, mainly because you are such a fan of Europe. When we were campaigning against Brexit, we met lots of people, and by no means all the generation of your mum, who still see Germany as The Enemy. So sad.
I used to live on Lake Constance. It’s a truly delightful area.
I liked it. Lucky you!
I know, we’re still very fond of the place.
A bit of a lucky dip, then
Yes, we used to do that a lot, get a cheap flight and just go.
Good for you