Our visit to Constance was a quick one (just two days) but we were able to squeeze a lot into the trip. Considering that we arrived around mid-day on Saturday, we saw and did quite a few things. Our friends recommended that we use our second day to go to Meersburg, which is about 15 minutes away from Constance via a ferry. I've been on ferries in Seattle and when I went to Goto Island near Nagasaki but those are more like buses or trains in that they're just for people. I really think that this is the first time that I've ever been on a ferry that carries both people and cars.
Folks getting their bikes situated and the bridge raising just before set out from Constance:
Constance (or Konstanz in German) is on a peninsula in Lake Konstanz while Meersburg is on the northern shore of the lake. The ferry runs between the peninsula and Meersburg about every 15 minutes or so. It was fun (and relatively cheap) to take the quick trip. Diana likes boat rides much more than I do. I don't hate them but I also won't actively seek them out. I knew that, just like when we were in Hamburg, she'd want to take the opportunity to go to sea.
Meersburg is a village that's divided into upper and lower parts. This photo, taken from the small-craft harbor, shows the new castle on the edge of the upper part and some of the many wine-growing fields (including some Pinot Noir!!!) that run through the area:
The highlight of the town, other than the beautiful views of the wineries and the sea, is the 7th-century castle located in the upper-area:
Ringing the old castle is small medieval village that has a bunch of half-timber buildings and other trad architecture. It's very cool to walk down such old streets. (Writing this story just reminded me of going to another very-scenic medieval town, Toledo, which is near Madrid.)
A view down one of the main streets in Meersburg with the old castle in the upper-middle part of the photo:
Each time I visit one of these towns, I'm reminded over and over about how current-day shopping-and-entertainment-center designers use many of the same characteristics of these towns. Narrow, twisting streets you can't see the other end of, low overall-height buildings, and artsy style facades. Meersburg's got all of that. I really liked this photo of Diana buying a pretzel at this quaint bakery that demonstrates some of the qualities that you'd see at any newer, outdoor shopping area, but this one is many hundreds of years old:
Just like in Constance, Meersburg has their own unusual sculpture in their harbor. They were both done by the same guy and this one also serves up pubic hair. From what I understand, the artist portrayed some of the town's notable figures from the past. I can only imagine how happy these folks would be if they were alive today and could see themselves represented here.
I really liked Meersburg. It's a little small so I don't think that I could live there but it was very nice to visit. Actually, after this trip, I found that southern Germany has started to grow on me. Of course, it's the beginning of August so we'll have to wait for winter to roll in for me to really get a feel.
Outside the old castle looking towards the drawbridge and some of the old (upper) part of Meersburg:
A note about something that I didn't know until I was reading about Meersburg for this story. Franz Anton Mesmer, the guy who's name forms the basis for the English word mesmerize, is from the area. Apparently his grave is just outside of town. I wish I would have known so that I could have gone to pay my respects. Oh well, maybe next time.