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.
We walked along the promenade again and headed north out of town along the shoreline of the lake. Although the sun was shining and it was very warm there was a slight mist over the lake today that meant that it was not possible to see across to the other side or beyond that to the Alps and that was rather disappointing but the intense blue of the sky and the lake was still there despite the haze. We passed the small harbour that was full of impressive looking yachts and some interesting displays of public art and then past the statue of the famous man himself – Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin of course.
Later we visited the unexceptional Castle Church of Friedrichshafen, which was unremarkable except for some photographs of the city following allied bombing raids in 1944. They showed starkly that there was not a great deal left after the bombers had done their damage trying to destroy what was an important manufacturing German city on the Rhine.
This was a very leisurely walk and we had to concede that this was a lovely place, a laid back city with a pleasantly casual ambience so we had to make the conscious decision not to walk too quickly in case we ran out of things to do. Which we did of course and by lunchtime we found ourselves back on the lakeside promenade where we selected a different bar to sit in the sunshine and enjoy a couple of drinks while we enjoyed the slowly improving view over the lake as the sun burnt off the haze.
Next we took the trip across the lake to Romanshorn in Switzerland and it was exciting to pass the border control and show our passports for a short ferry journey of only forty minutes or so. We were unsure of the procedure but having passed the officials on duty we walked on board and took some seats that we calculated would be in the best position to enjoy the afternoon sun. The on-board clerk sold us our tickets, a reasonable 4€ return and I had a glass of beer and Kim had a German wine, which was predictably a little too sweet, to help us pass the time on the journey.
To be absolutely honest Romanshorn was a bit of a let-down. It wasn’t ready for tourists this early in the season and it didn’t seem as though it was expecting very many anyway. I got the impression that this was the gateway to Switzerland from Germany and not many travellers would take the trouble to stop off for a while to explore the town.
It seemed as well as though this is the way the people of Romanshorn like it. It was quiet and relaxed in the warm afternoon sun and we climbed to the highest point where the only excitement on route was a local man trying to herd up some disobedient pigs, and on to the Katholische Kirche St. Johannes, which was another unremarkable church that we visited nevertheless. Before returning to the ferry terminal we walked through some well maintained gardens and some delightful flower bed displays and sat for a while looking out over the clear blue waters of the lake back towards Friedrichshafen.