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Mow and Go, To the Lake
May 22 & 23
Finished May 30
Friends and Families ,
In America, the end of May is marked by Memorial Day and tradition has it that everyone leaves home to start the summer activities at seashores, lakes, and mountains. Here in Germany, it's not too much different, just a bit earlier. On Pfingsten weekend, (Whitsunday weekend if you are British and I-don't-know-what for Americans), a ndgenerally a week earlier than Memorial Day, we have a three-day weekend to start the summer.
This year, we had nothing planned, other than the required work in the garden. It has taken us several hard days to get things reasonably under control ,but at breakfast we decided that, after the required field mowing, we could be free. Marianne suggested we go to "the lake", and so we did.
The nearest lake of decent size is the Bodensee, called Lake Constance in other languages, down on the Swiss border. Our navigator said it was three to four hours away, but that was via the autobahns and autobahn driving is not what I wanted to do so we headed off cross-country. The plan was to get as close to the Bodensee as we could but be willing to settle for a village gasthaus wherever we were by late afternoon.
As it turned out, the drive down, even on country roads, was plain but quick. We managed one stop, in Bierbach an der Reiß, but it was anything but quaint and we slurped our coffee, munched our afternoon cake (tradition, you know) and headed south.
The Bodensee is ringed by towns and villages and we had no reservations, only the vaguest idea about which place to choose. Our road went to Frederickshafen, but that seemed too big, so we headed east. The first place we stopped at looked perfect, a country inn, on the lake. It was so good that it was already full, so we were forced to head east some more to the town of Langenargen, where my iPhone assured me there were several hotels. What it didn't say was that this was a holiday weekend and there was a big boat race in town.
I feared the worst: it was already after 6 and we were hungry and homeless. Then, we saw the Seeperle (Sea Pearl), another small hotel. Marianne jumped out and signed us up for the last room available (actually "rooms" , since all that was left was a vacation apartment, complete with bedroom, kitchen, and living room.) This was the first of several pleasant surprises for the weekend.
We checked in and walked across the street to the beach. This was no Hawaii sandy strand, but a pleasant lake beach, complete with kids getting wet and muddy. This being Germany, our beach did end in a palace - Schloss Monfort. The Schloss was built in the mid-1800's by King Whilhem and his son Karl. For much of the 19th Century, it was THE place for royalty to party. Now, it's a nice-looking restaurant and a wonderful addition to Langenargen's waterfront.
We chose a more humble terrace to have a glass of wine and a small meal. I don't much remember the food, or the wine for that matter, but the view of the surrounding park, and the sunset over Lake Constance was worth whatever we paid. (In our pictures, you will see several of the dozen's of pictures I took of the sunset.)
After dinner, we took a quick walk through "downtown" and the boat race grounds. It was a great place to wander because everyone was partying, especially our local Bavarians who were watching their team, Bayern Munich, place in the European (World?) Club Finals. They lost, but partying was well underway before that so I am not sure who noticed.
Good end of the day.
The next morning, after an extended breakfast at the Seeperle, we continued to explore Langenargen. We looked at perfect backyard gardens. We looked at a lake filled with boats: big, little, and littler. We made the required church tour. Late in the morning, we felt we should see more of the Bodensee villages so we turned west, past Frederickshafen, to the beach town of Immenstaad.
Here, too, we just wandered around looking at people. No boat race groupies, just mostly families enjoying what families at the lake are supposed to do: eat ice cream, splash in water, maneuver boats in and out of the harbor. And we just people-watched and took pictures. We considered more touring, but decided that beach towns probably blend, so we headed back to "ours".
By now it was getting late in Langenargen and we headed to the boat race area. I bought a cap in one of the kiosks so I could prove I'd been there. We ate another pleasant meal on a hotel porch, looking out at the race crowd. The best part, however, was the evening singer. After dinner, we went back toward the boat race area and heard familiar songs coming from the big tent: Elvis lives! Well, not Elvis the original, but a very good Elvis impersonator. We spent the time sipping wine (bad, but what can you expect from Elvis) and watching the locals really get into old American music. Ever since Elvis spent his Army time in Germany, I think they have had a soft spot for him.
After that, it was a short night in the Seeperle and a start back to Pommersfelden. This time, we kept off the autobahns all morning. This let us get distracted by a village or two, including Bodnegg, which had an old church that had what must be the best view of the region: lake, farms, villages, the Alps. It also had well-tended graves on every side, so I'd guess that burial was a major industry in that village. Has to be somewhere, I guess.
Eventually, we did return to the autobahn and were home in a couple of hours. Back to tending yards and writing diaries. But, we now had a bit of encouragement that we could go SOMEWHERE, on no notice, even if it was a holiday weekend.
We'll try to remember that, how about you?
John and Marianne
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