In the fall, as you sway in the middle of Lake Constance, where the sun slopes from the foothills of western Austria and the vineyards of southern Germany to Switzerland, you could swear you’re at drifting into the Mediterranean or the Adriatic. The meditative blues are the same, the rig of the single masted boats is the same, but the difference is that these are sights, framed by a distant horizon of mountains, that few Brits ever see.
Did you know that Lake Constance, or Bodensee as German speakers call it, has a dozen islands for bakers? I certainly didn’t, and as I slipped into this scene, thanks to a Swiss train from Zurich to Romanshorn and across the German border by ferry, I realized how much of a enticing prospect.
Regular ping-pong boats along the fractured shore of the lake more efficiently than in Greece or Croatia; there is a succession of half-timbered towns to discover; as much Cote d’Azur style as you can accommodate; and an island for every mood. Moreover, here below, the specialty is to create “fernweh”, the German essence of the envy of invisible places.
Of course, Lake Constance is less about fanfare, more subtlety, and I had decided to take advantage of the region’s lack of all-rounders. Somewhat inexplicably, this aquatic wonderland is peripheral on German travel routes and overlooked both by regular visitors from Central Europe like me and by locals as well. If you’ve been to the Black Forest or anywhere else in Bavaria, you know that the country’s most romantic towns can feel overwhelmed. Not so here.