Table of contents
On the tour in Appenzellerland, it is not uncommon to cross small, tranquil mountain villages.
One of the reasons for the presence of artists: the lighting moods.
Dynamic touring around Lake Constance brings joy. Here in the Appenzell region.
Ancient peasant women sell fruit on the quayside.
The harbor promenade in Lindau also invites you to take a break. In the background, the Meersburg watches over everything.
You can enjoy the Mediterranean climate, which is unusual for Germany, right on Lake Constance.
Atmospheric: City festival with laser show in Stein am Rhein.
Definitely worth seeing: the picturesque old town passages in many cities along Lake Constance.
Where Lake Constance becomes the Rhine: Old houses on Stein’s market square tell the history of the city on their facades.
A break with entertainment value: the port entrance of Lindau.
When traveling around Lake Constance, you can experience a wide variety of views. On the Pfander, for example, motorcycle hikers can enjoy an almost unique panorama of Lake Constance.
Lake terrace of the “Wilder Mann” hotel in Meersburg.
Agatino Caruso, 74, a cobbler in stone, came to the lake from Sicily.
Take the ferry from Konstanz to Meersburg.
Touring with a view of the Hegau.
Not only the apple trees enjoy warmth and light. This is also a delight for motorcyclists.
On the way: once around Lake Constance
On the way: Lake Constance
Once around Lake Constance
It is magical “Swabian Sea” Writers and painters. But motorcyclists can also be inspired: by roads that suspect sloping roads, Italian moments, uplifting views and friendly locals.
A new day is peeling out of the mist above the water level. The engine cools down with a crackle, and the leather-clad heroine walks to the bank. Is this supposed to be Germany? So mild, so Italian? There are probably only a few motorcyclists who are not happy about such first signs of a Mediterranean climate. In any case, our protagonist Anna holds her cold, wet limbs in the rising sun. The light here is brighter than anywhere else in our republic and has long attracted artists to Lake Constance. Just like Anna now with her Buell.
The area around Lake Constance is greenest on the Hori peninsula. Apple trees flank the small streets, farmers have set up stalls. Plums, pears, apples, especially huge pumpkins. Pirmin Bruttel has the most beautiful booth in Gaienhofen. A cheerful farmer who works around the clock, supported by his ancient mother. This person seems satisfied, he generously lets everyone around to try his fruit. Yes, he says, he loves his homeland. The lake, the climate, the people. He proudly reports on celebrities who have ended up here. The painter Otto Dix, for example, lived a village further south, in Hemmenhofen. Annette von Droste-Hulshoff worked at the Meersburg. The writer Hermann Hesse lived here in Gaienhofen at the beginning of the 20th century. The story “Beneath the wheel” was created on the Hori.
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Once around Lake Constance
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On this peninsula you can cruise with trekkers, what with the low-frequency pulsating Buell doesn’t seem so strange at all. But it is even more fun to dig into the numerous corners with good taste. The streets wind through clusters of gnarled apple trees in the meadows. Peacefully grazing horses and cows complete the country idyll, hardly looking up when the Buell roars past. Behind Radolfzell, a dam connects the mainland with the island of Reichenau. Here, too, everything grows splendidly. Nutritious fruit and vegetables, some in large greenhouses, which slightly detracts from the island’s charm.
Nevertheless, the island has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2000. Thanks to their medieval churches from the 9th to 11th centuries. For those who are interested: The minster Sankt Maria und Markus in Mittelzell is worth a visit. Not only because of its treasure trove, also because of its herb garden, which strictly follows the textbook “Liber de cultura hortorum” by Abbot Walahfrid Strabo. In 827 this cleric made a list of 23 medicinal plants. Why, why, why exactly this compilation? You can read all of that. In any case, all 23 herbs can be found in this idyllic garden to this day.
On the way to the beach he suddenly stands there. A tiny sales stand, a structure made of two wooden boxes with a couple of light yellow pumpkins in them. Next to it is a white plastic bag from which dark green Swiss chard laughs. Another box with maybe twelve pumpkins on the floor. “Every piece”, If a weathered price tag promises, it costs 20 cents. The whole ensemble lies on an old, rusted wheelbarrow. The culmination of this total work of art is the seller herself. An old mother. Felt slippers, floral apron, light blouse, brown cardigan, headscarf, snow-white hair. She is 82 years old and speaks like a waterfall. Last week she had to carry her aunt to her grave. It was only 101 years old. Then the mother passes carrots and peaches on to Anna. Doesn’t want to know about payment. The Buell has been driving on for a long time and the old woman’s lips are still moving.
You cannot pass the old town of Meersburg without looking at Meersburg Castle or eating whitefish. The whitefish is a fish from Lake Constance, a specialty of the region. Before she leaves Meersburg, Anna swaps the Buell for her photographer’s Honda CBR 600.
Compared to the American iron, the Japanese four-cylinder purrs quietly and smoothly. It goes up the mountain quickly. Past Salem Castle, on whose parking lot there are bodies that come exclusively from the world of great prosperity. Don’t be jealous, who wants to sit in the car in weather like this? Anna meets Mrs. Kaup at Markdorf. Also she is 82 years old, she too is extremely communicative. But first she wants to know everything. Where from, where, why? Then comes her life story. Unsolicited, apparently still traumatized. Of poverty and war. Of the refugees who migrated across the frozen Lake Constance to Switzerland, she also did it herself to visit her sister. This is followed by an invitation to have a coffee in the house of Ms. Kaup’s large family. Cake is brought up, grandchildren come to visit, more “human touch” hardly works. It is difficult for Anna to say goodbye, but she still wants to go to the Pfander, from which one has a good view of the entire 63 kilometers of the lake.
Quickly via Markdorf to Friedrichshafen, unfortunately no time for the Zeppelin Museum, which is absolutely worth seeing, whose management has inimitably linked technology with art. Then Lindau with its picturesque Lowentor harbor, the great promenade, then the border to Austria, Lochau, Bregenz. Now the Pfanderstrasse. Buell and Honda can let off steam in many corners.
Overview: European trips by the MOTORRAD action team
Sharp curves lead to the Pfander, and at the top, motorcycle hikers can enjoy the panorama of Lake Constance.
At the top there is a fantastic view. And again that light that attracted all the writers and painters. Ernst Junger, Sigmund Freud, Thomas Mann, John dos Passos, James Joyce, Ernest Hemingway. You were all here. Some fled quickly because the danger of idleness and thus vice was high. Some poets got into a kind of dream state because of this lovely landscape and gave posterity sentences like these: “Beware of the laziness at Lake Constance”, or: “The state of Lake Constance is one of blissfully stupid.”
The bustling Luxembourger Norbert Jacques drove across the lake on a ferry, saw a squat passenger leaning against the railing and at that moment had his idea for “Doctor Mabuse”. Anna can understand that people here inspire you to write novels. Again and again the Honda whispers past people who have long since passed the zenith of life. But she does not accept that Lake Constance is exclusively a paradise for retirees. But one of the great old people has always stayed: Martin Walser, the German star writer. All his life, all his work, he endured it on Lake Constance, idleness was just as little an issue for him as it was for Anna, who now impresses the unearthly image in front of her inch by inch. The lake stretches over the front wheels of Honda and Buell in a Mediterranean way, and it seems almost infinite. 240 alpine peaks surround it. Everyone poses majestically on the horizon, gray or white.
The Swiss bank also wants to be navigated and experienced. Walzenhausen in the canton of Appenzell has the reputation of being one “Balconies over the lake” in advance. Anna enjoys the view again after the journey was anything but boring. Not because Anna’s photographer made the acquaintance of a Swiss traffic policeman who had measured the speed of the Buell shortly after a place-name sign. Three kilometers an hour too fast then cost 40 francs. Bad luck for artists. Anna feels lucky with the spectacular view from the 2590 meter high Santis. A hike to the summit is worthwhile in summer, but not easy for poorly trained lowland Tyroleans. Fortunately, there is still the cable car to let yourself be overwhelmed by the rest of the world at high altitude and the rapid flight of the jackdaws.
The next highlights are Arbon, Romanshorn and later Konstanz or Stein am Rhein. Anna and her photographer would like to stay longer in all of these places, but the time slips away between the tires. Especially since they meet three other motorcyclists on heavy tourers and make friends with them to the extent that a machine exchange and thus new driving experiences are possible. When they finally had to leave the shores of Lake Constance, they didn’t see a lot. Which is why they swear to be attracted by the special light and the asphalt strips that meander through the hinterland as soon as possible.
Travel time: 4 days – Distance covered: 400 kilometers
Lake Constance? You shouldn’t wait long, spring comes here earlier than anywhere else in Germany. In addition, curves and sights beckon.
Lake Constance is framed by Germany (Baden-Wurttemberg, Bavaria), Austria (Vorarlberg) and Switzerland (Thurgau, St. Gallen, Schaffhausen), the national borders partly run through the water. The Anglophile world calls the lake “Lake of Constance”, the French join in “Lac de Constance”, the Italians with “Lake Constanca” on. The Romans, on the other hand, called the three bodies of water in the northern foothills of the Alps (Obersee, Untersee and Seerhein) “Lacus Brigantinus” (after the city of Bregenz, which was a Roman base). The German name “Lake Constance” is probably due to the imperial palace Bodman in the west. In Scandinavian and Slavic languages, the name is taken from the German language. Form and shape of the “Swabian Sea” Formed in the Wurm Ice Age, a good 25,000 years ago, when a glacier emerging from the Alpine Rhine Valley laid the foundation for the lake, which stretches from Hegau to Upper Swabia and now to Lake Balaton (594 m2) and Lake Geneva (582 m2 ) is the third largest lake in Central Europe (and the largest in Germany) with 536 m2. The main inflow of the Obersee is the Alpine Rhine, the outflow of the Obersee is the Seerhein, which in turn is the main inflow of the Untersee. The Alpine Rhine and Seerhein only mix a little with the lake waters and flow through them in mostly constant channels. Numerous other rivers flow into the lake. The water quality is now very good again, after the lake was already heavily polluted after the Second World War. There are a total of eleven islands of various sizes in Lake Constance. The largest in the Obersee are Mainau and Lindau Island. The largest peninsulas are Bodanruck, Mettnau and Hori. There are wooden boat yards around the lake.
The Lake Constance climate is mild. However, due to the year-round influence of the foehn, frequent fog in the winter half-year and humidity in summer, it is considered a stressful climate. For water sports enthusiasts, the lake is considered a not harmless and demanding inland area due to the risk of strong gusts of wind when the weather changes suddenly. The most dangerous wind is the foehn, a warm fall wind from the Alps that shoots through the Rhine Valley onto the water and can generate waves up to 4.50 meters high.
Archaeological open-air museum Pfahlbaudorf near Unteruhldingen (www.pfahlbauten.de), nature reserve Wollmatinger Ried for rare birds and plants (nabu-wollmatingerried.de), nature reserve Altenrhein (www.bodensee-ufer.de). Zeppelin Museum Friedrichshafen: Museum of the history and technology of airship travel. At the same time collection of works of art from the Lake Constance region from the Middle Ages to the modern age. Must see (www.zeppelin-museum.de). For fans: Flying with the world’s largest and most modern airship, the Zeppelin NT, over the lake and the Alps. Unique experience, ideal gift (www.zeppelinflug.de). Old towns and / or promenades of Constance, Meersburg, Lindau, Bregenz, Arbon, Rohrschach, Stein am Rhein. Mainau Island, Reichenau Island. Hohentwiel castle ruins (www.singen.de), Affenberg Salem (www.affenberg-salem.de) Salem Castle (www.salem.de), Kartause Ittingen (www.kartause.ch) and definitely the Santis (www.santisbahn.ch ) as well as the motorcycle routes in its vicinity, for example the Schwagalp.
Whitefish belong to the salmon fish family, which also includes the similar-looking trout. From the Old High German word “forhana” (for trout) derive the names of the two fish. Originally, whitefish were found in the Siberian rivers and in alpine lakes, but now they are almost exclusively native to Lake Constance. Their firm and white meat is predestined for fine cuisine, simply fried in butter an unexpected culinary pleasure.
From Stuttgart on the A 81 to the Singen exit. Then continue towards Konstanz, Singen or Schaffhausen.
Tried: Hotel zum Schiff, Meersburg, directly on the lake, sun terrace, double room from 76 euros. Telephone: 07532/45000, www.hotelzumschiff.de, Berggasthof Fritsch in Lochau am Pfander, fantastic view of the lake, double room 43 euros, telephone: 0043-5574 / 43029, www.fritsch.co.at. Hotel Linde in Heiden (Switzerland), double room from 160 francs, (www.lindeheiden.ch).
Maps / literature
ADAC map Bodensee-Allgau-Oberschwaben, scale 1: 100,000, 6.50 euros, GeoMap map Bodensee, 1: 75,000, 6.60 euros. Lake Constance travel guide, Hans-Peter Siebenhaar, Michael Muller-Verlag, 15.90 euros. Bohème am Bodensee, Literarisches Leben am See, Manfred Bosch, 69.90 euros.
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