Saturday, April 30, 2011

Lake Constance

I've been meaning to go to a lake of some sort, ever since the weather got nice and sunny here. Not that it's hot enough for swimming yet-of course not, but I do find it much more enjoyable to suntan and read a book in a vicinity of a clear, non-man made water body. Thus, my options in Tuebingen are limited to a stretch of an island green space in the middle of the town, full of tourists and youngsters. So I thought back to last October, when, on the way to Switzerland, we found the cutest little campsite, proudly boasting it's “eco-ness”. While I am not exactly sure what's so “eco” about it (surely, not the prices!), I did very much enjoy their wonderful, uniquely built wooden huts.

Thus, having finally decided to do it, on my own, I'd left Tuebingen with a backpack on my shoulders, which had become a rather pleasant, adventurous sensation...After quite uneventful, although comfortable 3 hrs and 3 changeovers, I had arrived in a tiny town of Allensbach, known only for its fantastic location right on the lake. (well, the thinner arm of the lake, as it;s quite huge!). I had no certain plan,  or a map, even, of what I wanted to do or where I wanted to go. I just knew I wanted to “be there”. Having dismounted the train, an instant smile spread across my face: I made the right choice by coming here! It took only a short, 15-min walk to the campsite, most of it along the lake shore, watching the cyclists, kids playing with the inflatable boats, adults enjoying the afternoon drink in the sun of their balconies, walking along the cutest houses and gardens I have seen yet!

Upon arrival, I was quite happy (and surprised) to find out that a wooden hut rental is almost the price of a tent with 2 adults! (29 vs 20 euros). I much  prefer not having to carry any of my own equipment for such a small price difference, having electricity, staying front row to the lake and enjoying a warm, comfy sleep in one of these cute German creations. I still cannot get used to how they calculate campsite prices here (that goes for France and Spain as well)-there is never a set price, but rather a collection of a lot of partial fees. For example, the size of the tent matters then each person has a surcharge, then the car spot if you need one,-so while it can look cheap on the website, by the time they add it all up, you're looking at 17-25 euros a night. Not bad for renting out a piece of grass, huh?

Of course, as soon as I was ready to don on my bathing suit and get some well-deserved sun, the sky grew ominous gray , followed by a few consecutive thunder claps. One word of advice: when travelling to small towns like this one, always carry cash with you. The campsite doesn't even accept debit or credit cards, so, braving the elements, I went in search of a bank machine in town. Luckily, the town itself is so small, it took me only 20 minutes to find out that my bank did not grace them with its presence and I had to just suck it up and pay the fee to draw from the ATM (which is quite steep, by the way- 4 euros!-could've had lunch for that price!). Well, I,m sure I will be better prepared next time. On the way back to the campsite, I was amazed at all the cute cafes and restaurants situated right on the lake, with the prettiest views. I mean, this town is just all about relaxing: the shore walking path goes on for miles and miles, if walking if what you need. There are many beaches and green parks on the way also, with few boat rental locations, quite reasonably priced. I figured I;d let the weather decide what it wants to do and wait until the morning for the boat, as I'm in no  rush to jump back on the train early in the morning. And for now-it's coffee, cake and water fowl watching time!

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