June 7 – Bodensee
With our efforts to ride beside Lake Constance proving unsuccessful in recent days, we decided to get up close and personal with that particular body of water and see it from a different perspective. The water itself.
With a final day to explore Bodensee, we decided to catch a ferry from Konstanz, over the lake to Meersburg. News flash…we saw the lake! We were beside the lake, on the lake and scooting across the lake. We have had our Lake Constance experience!
A short trip across the water and we disembarked in Meersburg. This is a small, medieval town, with the Old Castle towering over the shore of the lake from the hilltop above. The town was once a residence for the Prince Bishops of Konstanz and the town became their property in the 13th century. The foundation of the town is still somewhat unknown, but it’s thought there may have once been a fortification there. The Prince Bishops were a medieval combination of religious and governing power and they had a special place in the hierarchy of the Holy Roman Empire. It was these fellas who controlled towns and the surrounding regions in the Middle Ages. In Meersburg, they lived in the Old Castle.
Meersburg still has a lot of its history visible today in the Old Town. From the ferry, we avoided the crowded, tourist strip of ice cream vendors and souvenir shops and headed up towards the cobbled streets of the historic town.
If you look past the touristy parts of the town, it’s really quite beautiful. The streets are narrow and the town rises up in tiers, with bakeries and cafes lining the steep path to the top.
Sitting high above the lake, is an open square and a stunning view over the water. After having its rest day yesterday, the sun was back in action today and fairly sparkled on the water and gave us a splendid show of all we could see. On the side of the hill, we could see the green of the vineyards. Meersburg has been a winemaking town since the 13th century, with the state owned winery sitting above the vineyards.
After roaming the laneways and narrow streets, we found a bench in the shade, around the corner from the Rathaus square and enjoyed our DIY late elevenses / early lunch.
The town was teeming with tourists like us, but high above the lake, in the back streets, we could find some peace and enjoy the views and the buildings that still amaze in their attention to detail and beauty. The colours and the determination to maintain their historic features, just makes these small towns really something special.
After a few hours of roaming, we took ourselves back down to the lake, boarded a ferry and choofed back across the water to Konstanz. That was out lake day. Lovely. A glorious, hot, sunny day, a ride across the lake to take in the scenes of Bodensee from a new perspective and a visit to a quaint and picturesque, historic town. Simply splendid.
Our accommodation is our “treat stay”. We are staying in a vegan hotel. Fancy that! It just happened that this, the only vegan hotel in Switzerland, was on our route, in Kreuzlingen. They do a special package on Fridays that includes a room, a five course vegan dinner and a full buffet vegan breakfast the next morning. Now, we have obviously never stayed in a vegan hotel, we have never eaten a five course meal, vegan or otherwise, and this is something we would definitely never have the opportunity to do back home, as such things do not exist in our little part of the world! So, in the spirit of experiencing new things when we travel, we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to stay somewhere like this and eat a five course meal that we don’t have to think about or try to navigate to make sure it’s plant based. The entire hotel is vegan, including everything they use, right down to the soaps and toiletries in the rooms. The restaurant is totally vegan and the chef has written a vegan cookbook. Apparently, he used to be very much a meat loving chef and then switched a few years ago and is now fully plant based. So, it was just a lucky find, that it popped up when I was reading about places in the area, and it was where we were heading anyway, so here we are! A definite treat to be staying here and some novelty factor thrown in too!
It was another top day, on this, an adventure that is overflowing with top days. It was an easy day, a relaxed day, a roaming day, a day to explore and enjoy some sights and treats along the way! Tomorrow we begin our ride down the Rhine River, taking ourselves north and skipping between Switzerland and Germany, from one side of the river to the other, to see what awaits us. Our gratitude cup runneth over, our memory bank is swelling with riches and we are two happy pedallers, far from little Tasmania, but embracing all the amazing experiences of the world beyond our small island. It’s grand I tell you, simply grand!
We have just returned from our five course vegan dinner at Hotel Swiss. It was sublime. Delicious. Sensational. Superb. The young woman waiting was also really good value, asking us to guess what certain flavours were, telling us about the dish, then chatting to us generally. She is training to be a teacher of students with a disability, so we told her we were teachers and I asked her what it was like for her learning English because her English was so good. It was really nice chatting to her and added an extra bonus to the special treat that was the dinner.
So…if anyone is interested, here is what we had for our five courses.
And that was the day!
Distance ridden: 0 km
Distance roamed: 9 km
Weather: sunny, hot, 27C – I mean really, if you could see us smile!