30 May, 2015

Meersburg and Constance

Once again I have been MIA from my blog recently. This is not entirely intentional, but I still don't feel like I have my feet completely under me in Hildesheim yet and the motivation to blog has been hard to find. However, my motivation has somewhat returned now that I've spent a bit of time away from Hildesheim, thanks to Germany's love of holidays and school vacation.

The holiday in question this time is called Pfingsten, and I still have trouble understanding exactly what it is. Apparently it's called Pentecost in English and is not celebrated at all (as far as I know) in mainstream American culture. Whatever the reason for this obscure Christian holiday, it means that I have a week off from classes, which gave me time to come down to southern Germany and visit Maxim. We've mostly spent the week hanging out at Maxim's parents' house (with me attempting and mostly failing to get myself to do homework), with a spontaneous trip to Lake Constance thrown in for good measure.

Lake Constance, or Bodensee in German, is a large lake which makes up part of Germany's southern border with Austria and Switzerland. I had already been to Lake Constance before when I visited Lindau with Maxim and his parents in 2013, but I was more than happy to return and see more of what this gorgeous area has to offer. Our goal this time was to visit Constance (Konstanz in German spelling, same pronunciation), the final German city before the Swiss border. Because Constance is on the other side of the lake from us, we got an enjoyable detour on the way there in the form of a visit to Meersburg and a ferry ride across the lake.

Meersburg is an adorable town on the north shore of Lake Constance and was our driving destination and the departure point for the ferry. After we parked the car, we strolled around the town and ate lunch at a cute cafe called KlimBim. The food was simple but good, the smoothies are the real deal, prices are affordable and the view from the outdoor seating was excellent!

I love the adorable little streets and the colorful buildings!

And the gem: the view of Meersburg Castle right from our table.

Despite Constance being our destination, I took more pictures in Meersburg because I was thrilled by the picturesque buildings and the winding pedestrian streets, as I often am in cities with those features.

This is the first picture I took that day and is also my favorite from the trip. This was my first impression of the city center and it was a great one.

This is a great example of the old German beam-and-stucco architecture.

The old building at the top of the hill is the old castle. The road between the two white buildings to the left is one of the main pedestrian/tourist streets leading down to the lake.

This little colorful building was right smack in the middle of a bunch of much more subdued buildings and really stood out.

Walking up the pedestrian street gave us a cool view of these colorful beauties.

Back where we started. If you look down to the end of this street you can see the tower-like building from the first picture.

After our lunch and a bit more wandering (during which I didn't take a single picture of the beautiful lake!), we boarded a ferry and headed for Constance. After crossing the lake we had to take a bus into the city center, and there we continued our wandering. This brought us to a frozen yogurt shop called I love leo (yum!) and then down to the harbor. My picture-taking skills once again abandoned me and the only picture I got of this entire part of the afternoon was a picture of the statue at the harbor entrance.

Such beautiful blue sky! We chose a good day for our spontaneous day by the lake.

Our next stop was a coffee place that Maxim found on Foursquare. The walk there brought us through more of the center of the city:

As I mentioned, I found Meersburg more charming so I took more pictures there, but Constance also has a nice atmosphere.

After being led astray by our map and walking all the way around the block, we finally found the coffee place, Kaffeerösterei Konstanz. I ordered my usual, a cappuccino, and it was very satisfying. I can tell that coffee is good quality when it doesn't make me nervous or jittery, and this coffee was the good stuff. I liked the flavor, it wasn't too bitter, and I felt good after I drank it. Success!

During our wanderings we had caught glimpses of a church steeple in the distance, and after our coffee we finally came upon the church itself. It was hard to photograph because there were other buildings in the way, but I did my best.

We also went inside. It was of course beautiful but nothing I hadn't seen before in other churches.

Our final two destinations of the day were my favorites. First we went to an outdoor "beach bar," where we had some drinks while lounging in the sun with our feet in the sand. It was so nice and relaxing to sit in comfy reclining chairs and take in the sun after all the walking around we had done. When the sun was on its way down, our thoughts turned to food and we headed to an Italian restaurant called Don Alfredo. Due to my mildly successful recent foray into vegetarianism, I ordered one of the plainest pizzas on the menu (tomato, mozzarella and basil) and it was delicious! I love the real Italian-style pizza that you can get in restaurants here in Europe. The thin crust, thin layer of toppings and individual serving size make this pizza nothing like the monstrously sized, cheese-smothered, greasy concoction that passes for pizza in many generic American pizza places. The Italian style is the real deal, and it tastes so much better!

Once we finished dinner, we were fortunate enough to be a 30-second walk from the bus stop we needed, and soon we were on the bus, then the ferry, and then in the car on the way home. My final picture for today is of the view toward Meersburg from the ferry.

We could also see the Alps in the distance in the other direction, but there is no way my iPhone could do that view justice so I didn't even bother.

Overall, a very nice day and a good distraction from the homework that is now breathing down my neck. Why does vacation always go by so quickly??

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