You’ve spent all morning on the train. Watching as the landscape changes right outside your window, you wonder how much longer it will take to arrive. Finally, the train crosses a narrow bridge and arrives at a small train depot. Eager to stretch your legs and to take in the great summer weather, you walk briskly towards the exit.
About the same size as our campus, some people might not expect much from the small island town of Lindau, but the shores of Lake Constance and old, cobblestone-lined streets give it a charm unlike any other town in Germany. You make your way down the street and come upon the town’s harbor, sheltered by a wall and a lighthouse. The streets are lined with small restaurants and bars selling local food, and the music from street bands permeates the atmosphere.
Before you continue your tour, you decide to sit down for a meal. In addition to the beautiful lake, the region is also famous for its whitefish, which is only available from Lake Constance during part of the year. Some nice whitefish cooked in a white wine sauce hits the spot as you sit on an outdoor table, watching people go by and enjoying the wonderful sun.
After wrapping up lunch, you decide to keep exploring the town. You come across a small park from where you can see the other side of the lake where the city of Bregenz, Austria, is located. Following your tour of the old original town hall, you decide to head to the lighthouse. Sitting at 33m above water level, this is a great vantage point from which to look over the whole island and glimpse into both Austria and Switzerland.
As you head down from the lighthouse you decide to take advantage of Lindau’s location and take a short trip to Austria as well. You buy a ferry ticket and wait for it to arrive. A few minutes later, it arrives: a three-decked, 20-meter-long ship ready to take you to the other side.
The ride across is relaxing. You look backwards and watch the lighthouse slowly shrink. The sound of the water giving way is drowned out by the constant humming of the engines. Finally you get to the other side. As you step off the boat you think about how easily you have just entered another country. You decide to take a walk down the waterfront and explore the rest of the city.
As you reach the end of the boardwalk you come across an interesting sight. The Bregenz water theater sits right on the shore of the lake. The seating forms an amphitheater around where the stage sits right on top of the water. Every summer this theater hosts the Bregenzer Festspiele, which features operas performed on this water stage. Fun fact: A few scenes of the James Bond film “Quantum of Solace” were also filmed in this location.
Making your way back to the port, you come across a gazebo that sits on the water a few meters from the shore. It sparks your curiosity. You approach and realize this is a local bar and decide this is a perfect spot to sit for a while and watch the sunset on the lake. As the sun goes down you start to make your way back to the port. As the ferry makes its way across the lake you can see the night lights of Lindau getting brighter.
A few minutes later, you are standing on the platform at the train station, ready to go back to Munich, amazed at how in the span of a day you can fully enjoy two different countries and still have time to spare.