Back in Konstanz

It wasn’t a great night.. noisy bed, lumpy pillows. Then again, we booked this hotel using loyalty points on the booking platform so it’s basically free and that’s an enjoyable fact. The reception was closed the day before and we used a code to get our key from a safe, but this morning there is a friendly lady who makes our breakfast. Due to corona regulations the usual buffet formula is replaced by a platter of mixed meats and cheeses and a choice of bread rolls, but the kitchen prepares eggs on demand and it all tasts great. We take our time but even so we’re out and driving again at half past eight.

The weather continues the same as yesterday: overcast with a few light showers of rain or snow. We drive through the rural landscape, often on smaller highways. There are suspicious many foreign cars driving south with us, I’m thinking these are all on the way to the Alps to have some snow fun. Soon we start recognizing landmarks by the high way: we lived in Konstanz for about a year in 2003-2004 and got to know these roads a bit. I seem to remember mostly the exciting bits: a turnpike, a tunnel, a big curve where you have to slow down, .. You have to remember that in those days we navigated without car GPS or smart phone: we simply had a big book in the car with maps of the whole of Germany. You had to keep track of where you were, memorize a list of cities and in which sequence you wanted to pass them, or the highway numbers. You can imagine it was a bit more stressfull than what we’re doing today.

We’re a bit confused when we see a giant tower sticking out of the landscape, looking like an elegantly turned bare tree trunk. I don’t remember this from before, so I whip out my smart phone and scroll through Google Maps until I recognize it in the landscape. It was only built in 2017, so it makes sense that we don’t remember it. When I google what it’s for, I’m amazed to find it’s an elevator test tower, specifically for high speed elevators! Did you ever imagine such a thing existing? It makes total sense when you think about it, I must say it give me more confidence in elevators. It’s 246 m high and has seven elevator shafts, used by constructor Tyssen-Krup. When you count the underground facility as well, the shafts have a height of 275,5 m, making it the second highest test tower in the world. You can even visit the observation platform at the top, the highest in Germany. I can only assume they don’t let the tourists use the test elevators.. you can find much more details on the german wiki site here. I note the location for a future visit while we continue south.

We see snow now and then by the highway, we’re often above 600 m high, as we’re close to the Schwarzwald massif. The highway ends in Singen, right at the edge of the country and we follow smaller roads east, getting a bit excited about visiting this old favorite town again. We watch out for the first view of the Bodensee lake, for the district where we used to go to Burgerking, for the bridge over the Rhein river right were we used to live. We arrive at the hotel around noon, leave the car and start exploring the town anew. The Konditorei where we used to have lunch was replaced by something more modern, so we look for another one close by and decide on Café Rosgarten, the interior of which looks familiar, so we must have visited this a few times as well. A Konditorei is the German equivalent of a tea room, though they lean more towards coffee than tea, generally speaking. A good one should have a big counter full of pies in all colors, shapes and sizes. I order cheesecake and a hot chocolate, Arne sticks with the more sensible option of ham/cheese toast. The cheesecake is just how I remember it, I haven’t found the same taste/texture outside of this region in Germany, it must be some local variation.. It’s not like American cheesecake, which is often unbaked and uses a different kind of cheese. Details, details, doesn’t matter, I’m really enjoying this.

After the decadent lunch we continue our exploration through town, trying to find all the places we used to frequent. The laundry salon and Turkish restaurant are actually still open and in the same location! We doubt about the location of the Chinese restaurant and the jeweller where we bought our wedding rings, but we find the the bookshop (closed or moved, in any case no longer a book store), Chinese supermarket (building empty) and the place where my mom bought me pretty earrings (still open). They’ve just started decorating the streets for Fastnacht, a local festival celebrated in January/February, I remember it snowed during Fastnacht in 2004. It’s amazing to me that this was already 16 years ago. We talk about our life back then, what we used to cook, where we went to walk, .. while we walk to the edge of town, the border with Switzerland, and back to the Rhein, where we had our appartment. It was a 30 sqm place in one of the most expensive and opulent building in town: the Seestrasse 1 building. The Seestrasse is the big boulevard by the lake and the first of the old stately buildings houses huge expensive appartments. Somehow we managed to convince the managers to lease the former reception room to us in 2003. We lived right by the lake, at the edge of the old town, for 13 months while I studied philosophy as an exchange student at the town university.

It’s all very nostalgic, a bit romantic too and it’s a great afternoon, with a snow so light it’s purely decorative and the lake reflecting the grey sky so that it’s impossible to tell them apart in the distance. We check into our hotel around four and enjoy the view of the lake from our room. We use the WiFi to stream the Radio Nostalgie top 2022 list and I buy a new e-book. I’m almost finished with Tad William’s ‘The Ditry Streets of Heaven’ and can look forward to Essa Hansen’s ‘Nophek Gloss’, a new author. There’s time for a bath, for writing a long blog post, even some time left to prepare our activities for the next few days, before we go have dinner in the hotel restaurant Dominikaner Stube, which we also used to visit, for special occasions or with visitors.

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