June 19, 2015
Lindau – Island City on the Bodensee
We are in the middle of a small island city on the Swiss border. The only thing that separates us from Switzerland is a good sized lake that the Germans call the Bodensee and the Swiss call Konstance. The city is the archetype for defensible islands on a trade route. The Rhine River flows out of Switzerland and into the lake and then out again before reaching the North Sea.
It reminds me that many of the earliest Neolithic settlements in Northern Europe started on islands like this long ago. Those days are long gone as the small streets and alleys are lined with designer shops, ice cream stores and a zillion tourists. I think we have wandered every street on the island this afternoon.
Getting here today involved driving through a driving rain storm for an hour and gradually watching the sun come out. Lindau is commonly referred to as Germany’s Riviera because of its relatively mild climate. Peggy and I both had on sweaters most of the day. It even rained a bit but that is why they invented umbrellas. The exciting part was finding the hotel. Tom got us here OK but I had to look down the right alleyway to find the place. The owner said it was OK to drive in the pedestrian only zone to unload our luggage. Of course this involves backing up and hopefully not over numerous pedestrians, their dogs and bicyclists. Peggy was not a happy camper. It turned out all right.
Now we find ourselves in a hotel configured and built like the crazy house at Knott’s. There is not square corner, plumb wall or level floor in the place. It is one of those places that was built several hundred years ago and can probably stand one more night. The WC and shower are down the hall and stairs. Peggy is not overly pleased but this is only the second time on the trip.
In our wandering, we found an old lighthouse with wooden steps. Peggy’s disposition improved somewhat. It was a good climb because every step creaked and groaned like it was the last day. There were good views of the harbor and the lake. Plenty of ducks and swans.
The city hall was Gothicly decorated as were the streets in general. The most moving sight was the small memorial chapel for local WWII war dead. There were wooden plaques with hundreds of names. There was a small sign in English that explained that Waffen SS symbols were left because they did not know the circumstances of the individual soldiers. It is one of the few references to Nazi past that we have seen. The rest of Lindau prefers the present and so do we
We had a late lunch so this evening’s repast will be light. We are off to Switzerland tomorrow.