The Adventures of BJ and Tony Morris

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Meersburg, Germany
November 2004
"The Case of the Missing Hanschuhe!"


One of our friends, Kitsie, spent a semester in Venice, Italy during college.  Three months ago, she started talking about a trip back to Venice, with her travel buds, so that she could show us some of the places that she enjoyed.  Although BJ and I have been to Venice twice, it’s such a neat place that it’s hard to go there too often.  With Venice in mind, we selected a date, everybody requested time off, and we started planning.  As is often the case, as we got closer to departure date, we realized that we would not be able to get five folks to Venice in Business Class, so we started looking at alternatives.  Both Ireland and England were considered, but by departure time, Zurich had become the obvious choice.  Thursday afternoon, with a 4:55pm departure in mind, BJ and I hooked up with Karla and Sue, the other travelers on this trip, at “the bar nearest the gate”… our usual meeting place.  Everybody was there… everybody that is, except Kitsie.  At boarding time, the four of us headed to the gate, accepted our boarding cards (Business Class, of course) and waited for Kitsie.  When the gate agent told us to board, we told him we were waiting for a friend, but he insisted we get on “Right Now!”  Settling in, with only about 5 minutes before departure, we were delighted to see Kitsie walking down the aisle.  She had made the mistake of stopping by the office before coming to the airport…  Not a good idea. Champagne, warm nuts, red wine with dinner, Collateral (with Tom Cruise and Jamie Foxx) and a five hour nap and we awoke in Zurich.

As we frequently do, we had left ourselves several options for where we’d stay on this 3-nights-on-the-ground trip.   We knew we wanted to stay on Lake Konstanz, in Southern Germany.  (BJ and I, with several friends, had biked around the lake last year.)  When we were there in April, there were ferry boats running to numerous locations around the lake, so we hoped, for this trip, to spend 1 night in Lindau, 1 night in Meersburg and the last night in Konstanz (for an easy return to the airport).  At the ZRH airport, after verifying that there was train service back from Konstanz for Monday’s 9:55AM return flight to Atlanta, we purchased train tickets and boarded the train for a one-transfer ride to Konstanz.  Since we were in a foreign country, we decided it was time for a beer (logic is sometimes not needed after an all night flight).  BJ and Karla headed off towards the back of the train to find the café car.  Twenty minutes later, as I was beginning to worry that they wouldn’t be back for the change of trains at Weinfellen, the wanderers suddenly appeared, with beers, coming from the FRONT of the train!  Turns out, as soon as they left our car, they had to go upstairs to walk the length of the train to the café car.  They neglected to count how many cars they passed through on their way, so on the way back, they had trouble determining at what point to go back downstairs to our car.  Reunited, we all enjoyed our first beer of the trip.  We arrived at a slightly drizzly, cool Konstanz around 11am and headed for the Tourist Information, to see about our 3 city plan, and then to an ATM (and then to the Restaurant Buergerstuben for another beer). 

We learned that the ferries to Lindau and between Lindau and Meersburg are seasonal, and we are past the season.  The only ferry running was one we knew (from the internet) would be running; Konstanz to Meersburg.  So we jumped on the Number 1 bus to the autoferre (auto ferry) stop, and jumped on the boat to Meersburg.  Heading up to the café, we ordered 5 beers and sat down to enjoy them.  Little did we realize that it would be only a 12 or 13 minute (4.2 km) ride to Meersburg.  We had barely taken our first sip when we realized we were docking in Meersburg.  Once in Meersburg, an ancient walled city, we headed up the steep hill to the local TI.  Finding the TI closed for the next hour or so, we walked a little further to the Café Schickeria for lunch.   At this point, we got a text message from Kitsie’s husband Mike, who was surfin’ the net at home and suggested the Hotel Zum Bären … a place he’d read about on the internet while Googling “Meersburg”. 


Zum Bären (The Bear) was in a perfect location, on the main Markt Platz (Market Place)… and had no rooms.  Well, they had a room for the first night, but not the second.  Shades of our recent trip to Prague!  Luckily, right across the street from the Zum Bären was the Komfort Hotel Weinstube der Lowe zu Meersburg (basically, The Lion), which had very nice rooms (at a better price than The Bear).   We checked in to our triple and double room, dropped our bags and headed out to see Meersburg.  (You can see Meersburg live on this webcam )



Meersburg is the home of the “oldest intact castle in Europe” as well as a fairly “modern” castle.


At the top of the hill, beside the new castle, was a beautiful view that, in good weather, would have let us see to the Western end of the lake. As it was, we had to be content looking across the Lake at Konstanz. 



From the top of the hill, we saw our next stop; the waterfront.  So we headed downhill, stopping for, you guessed it, a beer at the Hotel Restaurant Strandcafe. Unlike our last time in Meersburg, this visit was much less crowded. 


Afterwards, we walked the lower part of the town, then headed back up the hill to the Staatweingut Meersburg, a local winery, for a couple of bottles of wine for “after dinner”.  Still feeling a little jet lagged, we ate an early dinner at the Ratskeller der stadt Meersburg, followed by FREE champagne (followed by paid for wine) at a local weinstube.  At the weinstube, we engaged in a political discussion with the waitress about our new president, but we weren’t sure exactly what her position was since our German and her English were comparable.  By now, we were all ready for bed, so it was back to The Lion and to bed.

Saturday morning, we met for breakfast (included) in The Lion’s “Gaststube”.  After the usual (very good and complete) continental breakfast, we headed out for a walk along a marked “wanderweg” (walking path). 

With the sun occasionally peeking between the clouds, the wanderweg took us through vineyards, along a ridge overlooking the lake, and down into the woods northwest of town. 




Here we picked up a stream and followed it to the rocky shoreline of the lake. 



Following the waterfront back into town, we stopped at Café zur Munz for, uh, refreshment. 


Sue realized that she had lost her handschuhe (mittens) and thought she might have left them at the Hotel Restaurant Strandcafe when were were there the day before, so we stopped in to ask about the hanschuhe (and to have a bier).   By now, it was approaching lunch time, so we continued down the waterfront street to the GutsShanke where the girls ordered lunch while I went back to the Ratskeller der stadt Meersburg where we had dined the night before to look for the lost handschuhe.  As soon as the waiter saw me, he handed me the mittens! 

At the GutsShanke we enjoyed gulaschesuppe (goulash soup) and bratkartoffeln (basically pan fried potato slices cooked with onions and chopped bacon).  Following lunch, we wandered through town, doing a little window shopping.   One necessary item was located; the kinder ueberraschung (children surprise).  (Those of you who follow our writeups know what this is… BJ’s GOT to find her KinderEggs when we are in Europe).  With chocolate in hand, Tony headed back to The Lion for some quiet time (and to look for tomorrow’s Diet Coke) while the ladies took an eastbound walk on another wanderweg. 

Around dark, we hooked up on the main off-water shopping street (at a bar whose name escapes us, but was notable for its, uh, unpleasant smell).  After a round of adult beverages at the smelly bar (nicknamed the Tote Ratte), we headed to dinner at the Restaurant Alemannen Torkel. 


After dinner, we headed back to that weinstube with the free champagne, only to find it closed (on a Saturday night!!).  Saddened by the loss of free champagne, the group wandered back toward the hotel.  We stopped into the Bear to see if we could get a glass of wine, but the proprietress directed us to “a special place for wine”, the Zwiefalter Klosterbrau.  We enjoyed the chocolate from our Kinder Eggs with our wine while we assembled the toys.


Back at The Lion, we shared a taste of the wine we had picked up the day before and then retired for the evening. 

Sunday we all slept in, since today we’d head back to Konstanz.  After a late breakfast, we checked out of The Lion and headed for the old castle.  Tony agreed to “watch the luggage” (at the Alemannen Torkel) while the ladies took a tour. 




The girls called me on the walkie-talkie and I walked outside to take their picture at the castle.


The group re-united at the Torkel and headed downhill for a late lunch at the Winzerstuben; a quaint looking restaurant/café/bar that we had passed many times during our walks. 



Here we enjoyed the usual pomme frites (french fries) along with a meat, pickle and cheese platter and the most incredible cream of tomato soup with garlic and croutons. 


At the bottom of the hill, we jumped on the every-15-minute ferry back to Konstanz.


We connected with Bus #1 again, for the ride back to the center of town.  Along the way, we spotted some interesting statuary and decided we’d make our way back there once we found our hotel for tonight.  We elected to stay at the Hotel Centro, a place BJ and I had stayed last year, since it's right across the street from the 6:03am train we’d be taking back to Zurich airport tomorrow morning.  Inquiring at the Centro, we mentioned our previous stay, which resulted in… more free champagne!  Apparently returning visitors get a treat.  Tonight we’d be staying in 3 rooms; two doubles and a triple so we all agreed on knocking on each others’ doors tomorrow at 5am.  We dropped our bags and headed back out, as the afternoon was drawing to a close.  We found the statues that we had seen from the bus and took plenty of photos of “our kinda” folks.



Now fully dark, we headed for the headwaters of the Rhine River, as it comes out of the Lake.  Spotting more lights on the other side of the river, we crossed at a bridge and stopped in at the Havana Cocktailbar Restaurant for a beer.  Knowing we’d be getting up around 5am tomorrow, we decided that it was time for dinner.  We quickly settled on a nearby place; the Café Rheinterrasse, on the river.  The restaurant was small and had a disco ball hanging from the ceiling, along with a (not currently occupied) DJ’s set up in the corner.  Looks notwithstanding, we had a GREAT dinner.  The food was mostly non-German-traditional (although I did have my usual weiner schnitzel); including a tasty Thai noodle dish, a chicken in a cream sauce and crème brulee.


After dinner, we headed back to the Konstanzer Burgerstuben for a night cap and then to the Centro and off to bed.

Monday morning, we pounded on each other’s doors, left the hotel as planned at 5:45 and made our 6:03 train to the airport. Poor Sue discovered she had once again lost her hanschuhe with no opportunity to go back and retrieve it this time.  When reviewing the photographs from the trip, Sue discovered several clues that show where the hanschuhe was last seen.  Click here to see the clues.

We checked in for the 9:55am flight back home, passed through customs and spent a little time (and money) at duty free. 


Then we boarded in our Business Class seats, and with a slightly ahead of schedule 9:50 departure, we once again settled in for champagne, warm nuts, lunch and several movies on our nine and a half hour return flight.  Kitsie STILL hasn’t seen Venice in more than 20 years, so we know we have another trip coming up soon.

BJ and Tony Morris