I was a complete novice to the whole “overseas” experience. It felt like a different planet to me and I was more or less prepared to see wings or extra limbs on the inhabitants of this foreign world. To give you an idea of my ignorance: We had a bank account in Germany when the currency was still Deutsche Mark. One Saturday on the ferry to Switzerland, we realised that we didn’t have any Swiss Francs. At the Swiss cash machine I wasn’t sure how this machine was going to respond to our German card. And what currency, if any, we will get. I was absolutely dumbfounded when, not only were we given a selection of languages to be served in, but also received Swiss Francs from our German account!
Germany is renowned for their beer and wine festivals.
In the sleepy village of Hagnau the Torkelfest is an annual event to celebrate their wine making tradition. A Torkel is an ancient winepress and the one in Hagnau dates from 1747 – the last of twenty six that once pressed the grapes from the surrounding vineyards to produce wine.
Each of Germany’s thirteen wine-producing regions is divided into smaller districts known as Bereiche . The wines of Bereiche Bodensee are influenced by the lake and warm wind that can enhance ripening called föhn – peculiar to the surrounding Alpine area.
A few kilometres east a completely different experience awaits visitors.
Friedrichshafen is where, in June 1898, Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin built the first of the famous Zeppelins in a floating wooden hanger on the Bodensee.
The memories of that once huge industry are brought to live at the Zeppelin Museum in Friedrichshafen. I had never realised just how massive those airships were until I stood beneath a tiny section of a Zeppelin that’s been reconstructed inside the museum.
NEXT TIME: VON TRAPS AND CONNYLAND