Trip Report: Lake Constance

We came, we saw, we went home, we went to bed.

Saturday was insane.  No, maybe it’s just that I’m insane.  I took my kids to Switzerland, dropped them off, and went back to Germany.  Pick your jaw up off the floor.  I’m totally serious.

The pole with the red tape is the border between Germany and Switzerland. Bye boys, enjoy the Alps for me!

I d0 have a trip to tell you about.  But, as Kai Ryssdal says, first let’s do the numbers.

  • 6 trains (one ticket covered all public transport for this trip – a bargain for sure)
  • 4 snacks (and entire backpack devoted solely to food)
  • 3 meals (waffles, sandwiches, and Asian take0ut)
  • 3 cities (Konstanz, Meersburg, and Kreuzlingen)
  • 2 countries (Germany and Switzerland)
  • 2 trams (to get to the train station and back)
  • 2 buses (to get to the ferry and back)
  • 2 ferries (to Meersburg and back)
  • 2 full naps for Screech (to get to his happy place and back)
  • 2 kids under 3 (to make sure we are not asked back)
  • 1 gorgeous day (thank You God)

In my defense, I never intended this trip to be so utterly hog wild.  It just kind of.. happened.  We wanted to go to Switzerland this month.  The problem is all deals for Switzerland in the winter center on skiing.  While we do like to ski, the boys are not old enough for ski school and we’d rather hang out with each other than ski alone.  And in case you haven’t heard, Switzerland is über expensive and this mama is not going there without a deal.

Then I read about Lake Constance (Konstanz).  This lake is actually a bulge in the Rhine and bordered by Germany, Switzerland, Austria, and somehow is connected to Lichtenstein.  While I would have loved to have hit up all of those countries, I think the list above tells you that we did MORE than enough in one day.

This is how T-Rex wants to ride from now on. No more trains, mama!

I normally give you all of my lessons learned so that you don’t have to make the same mistakes.  But this trip warrants a slightly different approach.

High Fives

1. The weather was UH-mazing. Lonely Planet and my good German friend told me not to visit Konstanz in the winter.  “It will be foggy and awful,” she said.  “You should go in the spring.”  While I think that is true – I also think it is true of almost anywhere in Europe.  What am I supposed to do?  Hole up and hide out for several months?  Oh, right, I forgot.  I should ski.

Clear skies, no fog, and oodles of sunshine - we didn't even need our coats.

2. Our connections – though many – were excellent. We never waited more than 15 minutes for any of our public transport the entire day.  When we got off the bus at the ferry terminal, the boat was waiting.  When we returned, the bus was waiting.  Gotta love German efficiency!

We took the ferry to/from Meersburg, a teeny tiny town with two castles.

3. We found a hole-in-the-wall Asian take-out place for dinner. You can’t take a couple of toddlers on three trains in a row without a lot of food.  So while I wouldn’t have opted to eat dinner at 5pm, it was exactly what T-Rex needed.  On a way to a Big Mac heart attack, lo mein saved the day.

Searching for dinner...

4. Screech has learned to sleep in the Phil & Teds. He napped through one and a half train rides, a bus ride, and woke up on the ferry.  And that was only nap #1.  I was singin’ a sweet song – woohoo!

Low Blows

1. We were on public transport as much as we were off of it. I don’t think I’ll take a three-train-er day trip again without good reason.  While nothing went wrong (see #2 above), it just wasn’t exactly how we wanted to spend our time.

Because we were rushed, the boys did not get to explore this playground downhill from the Altes Schloss.

2. I missed a detail. Ooooooh, I know.  You’re shocked.  And so am I.  This is a painful shame.  I neglected to plan anything for Screech’s dinner.  We planned to get food from somewhere and eat on the train.  The problem is that he can’t just eat anything and everything.  Well, he can, but then his stomach protests and I am left with lots of laundry to do (we’ve moved from irritable plumbing to projectile chunking).  Doc Sci did not think lo mein was the best thing for little man so we spent 30 mins getting a jar of toddler food that we could have spent relaxing by the lake.  Or shopping.  Or anything but waiting in a ridiculously long checkout line.

3. We were a bit rushed. I had too many things I wanted to do and not enough time to (leisurely) do them.  I don’t like clock-watching when my boys want to tear up a playground.

T-Rex the tight-rope walker, on the playground by the sea.

4. No border crossing! Okay, you might think this is lame.  I read that Switzerland was one of the last places in Europe to have a REAL border crossing, complete with serious looking dudes in uniform.  No, I wasn’t looking forward to getting the stare-down, what I wanted was the stamp in our passports.  Alas, no mean border guards.  Actually, no recognizable border at all (see second picture of this post).

How was your weekend?  I hope it was a notch down from mine.  Did you go out on a limb or play it safe?  Leave a comment with your (mis)adventures.

2 thoughts on “Trip Report: Lake Constance

  1. Pingback: Hohentwiel – AWESOME Castle Ruins for Kids | Thrifty Travel Mama

  2. Pingback: Rhein Falls with Kids | Thrifty Travel Mama

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