January 6, 2009

Meersburg - part 2

Just east of the Altes Schloss's drawbridge, the pink Neues (New) Schloss overlooks the Meersburg's lower town. Built in 1710 as the baroque residence of Prince Johann Franz Schenk von Stauffenberg, the new castle includes the Prince Bishops' residence, complete with outstanding ceiling murals and exquisite plasterwork creations. The City Gallery (Städtische Galerie)is found on site.

Located on the 1st floor, the gallery shows works of artists who established themselves in Meersburg in the 1920s and 30s and features Hans Dieter, Waldemar Flaig and Kasia von Szadurska. Paintings features Meersburg and Lake Constance motifs are also featured.

As Noah explored the Neue Schloss's neatly trimmed pattern of gardens, George and I gazed over the terrace toward Switzerland and the island of Mainau in the middle-distance. A short ferry-ride to the south, Mainau is a privately owned island paradise. However the Swedish Count and Countess Bernadotte welcome visitors to their exotic and unexpectedly tropical island.

Throughout the unique microclimate of the Insel Mainau paths lead to a butterfly house, a vineyard, a rose garden and an arboretum. Palm trees and oranges grow here. In addition to the island's many fountains is an impressive Italianate garden with a water staircase. Kids have an area to themselves with pony rides and a model railway. At the heart of Mainau is its baroque castle and adjoining church. There are at least half a dozen places to eat, from fine dining in the Chestnut Garden, to a snack at the Butterfly Bistro or just a beer on one of the terraces.

Back on the mainland, across the cobbles of the Schlossplatz is the esoteric yet compelling Zeppelin Museum. Overseen by a hovering bee of an attendant this private museum has 15,000 artifacts relating to airships. Collector Heinz Urban has amassed a huge personal collection of zeppelin relics including uniforms, girders, gauges and models. In fact Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin was born just across the Bodensee in Konstanz. Noah, a big fan of ironic tragedy, was impressed to see the melted cutlery from the Hindenburg. Oh the humanity! Our trip through the small museum was prefaced by an in-depth, German only, video.

If you go:

The Meersburg Zeppelin Museum is located at Schlossplatz 8. March until the middle of November its open from 10:00 a.m until 6:00 p.m. Admission is Adults 3 Euros, children 2 Euros. An informative website is found at www.zeppelin-kurier.de

The Gallery in the Neues Schloss is open every day from 10:00 am to 1:00pm and 2:00 until 6:00 pm. from April to October. Adults are 4 Euros and Children 1 Euro.

The Island of Mainau is open all year round. Family tickets are available Adults are 12.90 Euros, children 4.50 Euros. More information can be found at www.mainau.de

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