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Germany> Baden-Württemberg> Meersburg

Germany - Baden-Württemberg

Meersburg

A Karen Brown Recommendation

Another base for explorations of the Bodensee, *Meersburg, lies an hour’s drive (two hours’ in heavy traffic) beyond the geographic bounds of Bavaria towards the other end of the lake. We include it in this itinerary because it is such an adorable little medieval town, offers charming accommodation, and is perfect for boat trips on the Bodensee. Arriving in Meersburg, follow signposts for the Altstadt. (If you cannot find parking at the top of the hill, follow signs for the ferry and park in the large car park beside the ferry terminal.) During the summer months regular ferry service connects Meersburg to nearby Konstanz (Constance) and Mainau island, and farther afield to Lindau and Bregenz (Austria). Wander among the little narrow, cobbled streets lined with half-timbered houses along the Steigstrasse. Atop a rocky promontory overlooking the lake, the Altes Schloss (old castle) dates back to 628, when a longhouse and tower fortress were built by King Dagobert. The castle was enlarged over the years, and by 1510, the structure you see today, complete with drawbridge and moat, was in place. The castle was purchased in the 19th century by Baron von Lassburg as a storage place for his vast collection of books and weapons. His sister-in-law, Annette von Droste-Hülshoff, wrote some of her most famous poems here, and her little rooms are very much as they were when she lived here. (You can also visit her little house in a nearby vineyard.) The Lassburgs went bankrupt and the castle was bought by the Furstenberg family (as in the beer). They sold the books to buyers in the United States but kept much of the weaponry. Tour the castle at your own pace with the aid of a typed-sheet (in English), and enjoy the various rooms, which are furnished to illustrate what life was like in the castle’s different eras. (9 am–5 pm.)In 1520 the nearby town of Konstanz (Constance) became Protestant so the bishop moved from Konstanz to the castle in Meersburg. It was decided that the castle was not grand enough for a resident bishop, so the Neues Schloss (new castle) was built between 1750 and 1802 to suit the bishop’s palatial tastes. No sooner was the bishop installed than his bishopric was moved (furniture and all) to Freiburg. Happily, they were not able to move the magnificent ceiling paintings, and the grand rooms are a perfect venue for changing art exhibits and musical concerts.
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