Luckily enough we were able to stay with Karen’s cousin Gisela and her husband Siegfried who live in Steißlingen not far from the Bodensee (Lake Constance). From there we did a couple of really good excursions. First we went to Birnau to a pilgrimage church on the Bodensee. It was Baroque in style, lots of white and pink marble.
The ceilings were white based with ornate frescoes painted on them. Many of the decorative items were gilded. Just beautiful. The views from in front of the church of the Bodensee were a bit hazy but still good.
From there we drove to the Phalbaumuseum at Unteruhidingen. It was a wooden stilted village over the lake’s edge which has been reconstructed from finds at actual archaeological diggings.
It showed life as it would have been in the Stone Age and Bronze Age. There were several life size scenes and lots of information boards and displays.
It was a World Heritage site. Leaflets were also in English which was handy for us. We spent about two hours there, totally absorbed. Lots of good information and really well presented. This area had several other attractions – reptile park etc. We ate at one of the restaurants, a fish restaurant. We ordered two platters, each having four different fish and kartoffel potatoes. Presentation was good and the food tasted great too!
From there we drove to Meersburg, and parked in a very busy car park. We walked along the lake’s edge to the Altstadt. The town was in two sections, part up the hill above and the remainder below.
We tackled the uphill part first which included the castle and lots of framework buildings, many of which were souvenir shops or cafés now. From there we walked down and through a gateway in the old wall to the lower part of the town. Once again there were lots of cafés.
At the far end of the town a vineyard owned by the government with wineries above them on the hill could be seen. Lakeside there were quite a few ferries coming and going from Meersburg to The Austrian and Swiss towns on the Bodensee. Sadly it was still quite cloudy/hazy so the views to the other side were not that great. However a gap appeared in the clouds and a section of the lake appeared as if floodlit.
Quite an unusual scene! We returned home for afternoon tea of a delicious chocolate nut cake Gisela had made.
The following morning we had a relaxed start with breakfast and spent the morning chatting but before lunch we went with Siegried for drive in the local countryside to take in the views of the Bodensee, the farms, orchards, hills and the volcanoes. As the weather was spectacularly sunny, but mild, we took some lovely photos.
We returned for lunch of salmon, rice and vegetables followed by Black Forest ice cream again. Yum! In the afternoon we drove into Singen to visit the Hohentwiel, the largest fortress ruins in Germany. It sits atop a very high hill. From there we walk up to the entry gate. You use your ticket’s barcode to trigger the turnstile so you can enter the final section. The cobbled path led upwards quite steeply. Along the way there are several good viewpoints of the surrounding countryside but especially the five inactive volcanoes in the area.
Siegfried and I were a bit quicker as Karen walked with Gisela who has a ‘dicky’ knee. At the top the ruins were very extensive. We decided not to climb the tower. The views were really good anyway. Sadly as I was taking photos the camera battery died! Siegfried went back to meet the others and returned with his camera. We swapped my memory card into his camera and I was then able to continue taking a few interesting photos.
The return journey down was slow and hard on Gisela’s knee and my knees so we stopped to sit at one of the viewpoints for some more excellent views before we continued downwards to the car park and back to Steißlingen for an enjoyable evening of eating, drinking and sharing of many travel tales.