Tag Archives: konstanz

Bach Stein not Steinbach

door konstanz germanyToday we hung around in Konstanz, Germany. There is plenty of lovely old architecture left there.  That’s because the city was not bombed by the allies during World War II thanks to geography.  

swiss german border

Standing at the border between Kreuzlingen Switzerland and Konstanz German. 

Konstanz is really a twin city of a Swiss town called Kreuzlingen. Allied bombers left Konstanz alone because they were worried about accidently bombing Kreuzlingen and thus violating Switzerland’s neutrality. Konstanz citizens left all their lights on at night so that allied pilots would not be able to differentiate Konstanz from Kreuzlingen where citizens also left their lights on to alert allied pilots. rosegarten museumWe learned about this at the Rosgarten Museum in Konstanz which we visited today courtesy of a free coupon from our bike tour company. A display on the top floor told the story of the fate of the Jews in Konstanz during World War II.  They were transported to Gurs, an internment camp in France. Those who didn’t die there were sent to Auschwitz where they were murdered.  dave in museum courtyardWe sat in the sunny courtyard of the museum later enjoying the free coffees also provided by our coupon.  Dave read more about Konstanz history in the museum guide. bach stein clothing storyAs we walked through the streets of Konstanz my sister pointed out this men’s clothing store.  Kaaren and I grew up in a community called Steinbach. Here was a clothing store with the name of our home town in reverse.  Bach Stein. lamb in konstanzWe ate delicious lamb doner kebabs for supper.  The owner chatted with us as we ate.  He is a Kurdish immigrant and has been quite successful in Germany. He also owns two businesses in Stuttgart.
After supper we had pastries and coffee in the city square and listened to a band covering American music by the likes of Cat Stevens and Elton John.  Then it was off to bed.  Tomorrow we head to Zurich and then on to Iceland for the second leg of our trip. 

Other posts about our bike trip in Germany

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House Barns and Gelato

And just like that our five-day biking trip is over. Our last day of cycling was fairly easy compared to the previous four. The weather was absolutely lovely, sunny and just cool enough to make for pleasant riding. We were biking mostly in Switzerland today and saw house barns along the way. The house was attached right to the barn just like some of the houses in my grandparents’ village of Gnadenthal in southern Manitoba and like the house at the Mennonite Heritage Village Museum in Steinbach.  I had to stop and photograph these terra-cotta warriors around the swimming pool at a luxurious apartment complex overlooking the lake.  Dave and I visited the site of the real terra-cotta warriors in Xian China and so it was somewhat startling to see these giant reproductions in the middle of Germany. 
We decided since it was our last day we should have our photo taken with our bikes beside the beautiful Boden See which we have been traveling around all week. This very polite and kind young man named David who was resting on a park bench agreed to take our photo. He told us he was on one last cycling excursion before starting his university year in Munich where he is studying to be an industrial engineer. He even took a panoramic shot of our group.
We stopped at noon for a drink at a little place along our bike path where we met a couple from Connecticut who have cycled in many different places. They recommended our next trip should be cycling the heel of Italy’s boot.  Once we arrived back in Konstanz we checked back into the Hotel Halm where we stayed at the start of our journey. Dave has been looking for a gelato place all along our route and he finally found one this afternoon so we had to stop.
Over an excellent dinner last night at a Singaporean restaurant we reflected on our great bike trip and the good quality of the tour company who organized our route, provided our sturdy and reliable bikes, reserved our hotels for each night and ferried our luggage from place to place. We would happily book a tour with them again.  After a day of rest here in Konstanz we will be off to Iceland for the next stage of our journey. 

All the posts about our bike trip

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A Start to Our Trip That Was A Little Too Exciting!

“This is the last boarding call for Iceland Air’s flight to Rejivak.  All passengers should now be on board. ”  Yesterday we were flying to Zurich via Toronto and Rejivak.  Our plane was late leaving Winnipeg and as we stepped into the Pearson Airport in Toronto we heard the boarding call for our flight to Rejivak.  Our flight was already at the ‘last call’  stage and we still had more than a kilometre of the airport to traverse in order to get our gate.  So we ran!  My husband and my brother-in-law raced ahead hoping to get to the gate on time so they could ask the attendents to wait for their wives.  My sister and I saw the escalators were jammed with passengers. Taking them would slow us down too much, so instead we climbed up stairs and down stairs, through tunnels, up more stairs, down more stairs, weaving in and out of crowds of people, moving  just as fast as we could.  I could hear my phone dinging. I was getting text messages from the airline that we needed to board.  Finally my sister and I heard our names over the airport speakers warning us that the doors to our plane were closing.  We pulled up to our gate just on time, panting and exhausted.  Our husbands were there waiting for us. The attendants had held the doors open for us.  We had made our flight!!!   We wondered with such a short turn around time in Toronto whether our luggage would have made it!  When we got to Zurich we discovered it had!!!  

From Zurich we took a train to Konstanz, Germany where our week long bike trip begins today.  We  checked into the elegant Hotel Halm built in 1874 and had a drink and a snack on a patio in the shadow of the beautiful Konstanz train station.  Then we were off to pick up our bicycles.I had worried about getting a bike that would be right for me but the rental shop we went to had thousands of bikes to choose from. This friendly guy explained how everything on the bike worked and made all the adjustments we required. We cycled back to the hotel on the city of Konstanz’ beautiful bike paths and over supper looked at the maps we had been given to figure out our route for the next morning. After a rather exciting start to our trip we are ready to hit the road!

Other posts…….

The Driedgers Bike Boblo Island

A Bike Ride in Toronto

Biking the Beach in Costa Rica

 

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