Bavarian Fighters


Of Dornier aircrafts, zeppelins and Lake Constance in the Alps

In Friedrichshafen, the runways dream of what might have been. Had Hilter won the war, the airport would have become one of the great hubs connecting the world. Early in the day, I set out with my friends from Munich for a drive around Lake Constance, about two hours away by car. Our first stop is Lindau Island, which is connected to the mainland by a causeway. We walk across to the pedestrian-only cobbled streets of the town. The air is filled with tunes from buskers on guitars or violins, all competing for coins from tourists.

The semi-frozen waters hold the famous Bavarian lion which guards the harbour and the lighthouse. Far away in the haze of the opposite coast is Switzerland. Like all medieval European towns, plaques on walls describe various worthies who burnt the town down through the turbulent centuries, the last being Napoleon. The lighthouse which is the pride of the town, is the only functional one in Bavaria. Lake Constance is a Zungenbecken (tongue-basin), a symbol of the defeat of the glaciers during the Ice Age. A Roman geographer, with a delightful name Pomponius Mela, was the first to describe it in great detail. The lake is surrounded by and is a part of Germany, Austria and Switzerland and all three nations debate where the frontiers are. We stop for lunch at the Hotel Peterhof, which is filled with tourists enjoying the sunshine. With Teutonic efficiency, the buskers have stopped for lunch leaving behind CD players which continue to crank out their tunes.

After lunch, we travel to Friedrichshafen, a half-an-hour drive. The lake continues to perform its delightful alchemy to the light suffused with a deep golden glow. Here, I part with my friends. I want to investigate the Dornier Museum, at the airport. They decide to wait for me at a lakeside cafe while I take the bus.

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