Sunday, 14 August 2011

Postcards from Germany: The Bodensee & Zurich

Allensbach on the Bodensee.

Zurich - pretty buildings, pretty toy shops, pretty flag. What more could you want? I hear the Swiss also make great chocolate. I'm sold.

Meersburg - quite possibly my favourite place on the Bodensee.

After all our Legoland, Playmobil fun we headed down to the Bodensee for our 'proper' holiday. The Bodensee is right at the bottom of Germany, and everyone raves about it as a great holiday destination. I was in charge of all the holiday arrangements, though frankly, if I didn't think Stevie would be worse at it, and we'd end up staying in a brothel, then I would gladly hand over this responsibility to someone else. But Stevie's view seems to be "You spend all day on the internet, you must be an expert."..."Yes, yes, I am, but mostly at sourcing pointless fripperey at fantastic prices". Hotels, sadly, no. So while we were in Nurnburg, I may have managed to avoid booking us into a brothel, we may well have been booked into a hotel next to a brothel as we were surrounded on 3 sides by lap dancing clubs and sex shops , though there was a really nice looking gallery and design shop too so you know, it was worth it, and even though Stevie couldn't sleep from the music banging through the walls from the nightclub, I had no problem at all.

But I digress, the place I booked on the Bodensee was an apartment within a hotel which I thought would work really well for us as it came with a 'fully equipped kitchenette'. For some reason I packed as though we were flying with Ryanair (i.e. as little as possible) and not taking the car, and assumed that a 'fully equipped kitchenette' would include a washing machine. Alas, apparently it means one of those compact kitchen unit things from IKEA. You get a sink, 2 rings, and a fridge. No washing machine. Now if I was feeling really sorry for myself, I'd tell you I can barely type my hands are so cracked from all the hand-washing I did every evening. (But I'd be lying, really, because I'm quite lazy and just waited until we were desperate and then washed and washed and washed away in my little IKEA sink). Aside from that it was lovely, and the kids discovered they did actually like Nutella, and it was close to the beach.

We stayed in a place called Allensbach and visited a few places around the Bodensee. We went to Konstanz which is lovely though chock-full of tourists (and wasps - though they may have followed us from Legoland) and my lasting memory of it will be Orla going absolutely berserk over a pretzel that I wouldn't buy her and screaming wildly so that everyone in Edeka stared at me with funny looks on their faces.

We also visited Friedrichshafen because I really wanted to visit the Zepplin Museum. Friedrichshafen is not the sort of place you visit for the architecture - it's a bit horrid really. Well, not horrid, but not exactly lovely. We got near the Zepplin Museum, but wouldn't you know it, I didn't get to go in it. Both kids were too hot and fed up and moany, which in turn made Stevie rather moany too. There are times when I just give up for the sake of my own sanity. So I abandoned my secret plan and drove them back to the hotel where they all had a wee sleep and then tottered down to the beach. Pah.

We also took a feery ride from Konstanz to Meersburg. Now if you get the chance, go to Meersburg. It's lovely. Really pretty. Lovely painted buildings along the shorefront, a great big castle on the hill, vineyards rolling down the hill towards the harbour, beautiful quaint streets, vines growing up buildings laden with grapes, shop windows full of cuckoo clocks, and just a general loveliness about the whole place. And if you get bored of all that you can play crazy golf. I think Meersburg was my favourite place around the Bodensee. The kids enjoyed the ferry ride there and back and quite liked the hilliness of the place (makes a change from flat as a pancake Berlin) and so we were all happy.

Oh, and we went to Switzerland. Stevie has raved about Zurich ever since he got stuck there between flights for a day by accident with work. He spent a day in the city with a work colleague and was totally wowed by it's beauty. He says it's the most attractive city he's ever been to, and frankly he's gone on about how I would love it so much that I had to go while I had the opportunity. And it is lovely. It has a gorgeous altstadt and really was worth the trip. I took probably a million photos and decided that the Swiss flag is possibly my favourite. The kids are sticking with the German flag as their favourite. The Swiss is now their second favourite. That's as far as the list extends. I'm a lazy mummy and haven't even bothered mentioning the Union Jack to them. As far as they're concerned when we arrived in Germany it was right in the middle of the World Cup and we were surrounded by German flags and they took it into their hearts as their flag. My little patriots.

Anyway, I also discovered about 3 really lovely little toy shops in Zurich. It was very lucky for me that it was Sunday when we went or I could have easily spent an awful lot of money, and not just on the kids. The windows were full of things that I know could have made my sister very happy this Christmas: lovely little notebooks decorated with anteaters following a little trail of ants in lovely Scandinavian colours, giant wall hanging owls made of paper in beautiful colours, wooden St Bernhards holding little Swiss barrels, beautifully drawn dressing up dolls just asking to be framed and hung on a bedroom wall, boxes containing stacking cardboard cats wearing little jumpers and carrying presents tied with ribbons. Oh, just thinking about it makes me want to go back. (But being the resourceful creature I am I took photos instead so I could Google the brands when I got back)


  1. Glad you had a lovely time, shame about the Zeppelin Museum, it is really interesting. Zurich is another on my list and you've bumped it up a couple of places... gosh that list is long now! Luxenbourg seems to be topping it and I have no idea why lol I think I fancy going to a country that is so tiny =P

  2. Yes, I too quite fancy Luxumbourg and also Belgium (probably for chocolate reasons, though my sub-concious is denying it, and I want to visit Denmark while we're relatively close, though the prospect of driving there isn't too appealing after the drive back from Frankfurt to Berlin. That was far enough really.


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