Sometimes you have to toot someone else’s horn, so let me begin by saying that my husband was accepted to the 62nd annual Nobel Laureate Meeting, in Lindau, Germany. The Lindau meetings (this year’s focus was physics) are oriented around the idea of generating dialogue between older scientists (25+ past Nobel Prize-winners) and younger scientists (580 top researchers accepted from all over the world). There are larger lectures and smaller sessions where the participants interact, and also social events like “Bavaria Night” (“upon invitation of the Elite Network of Bavaria and the Free State of Bavaria”), International Get-Together (“upon invitation of Singapore”), and the “Grill & Chill”– a German-style BBQ and the only event to which Tim could pay to bring me as a guest.
Thus let it be known that I have eaten wurst with past (and presumably future) Nobel Laureates.
Lindau occupies a quarter-square-mile island on Lake Constance (the Bodensee), reached by bridge and with its own very convenient train station. By train, it’s almost equidistant between Munich and Zurich. Tim flew in to Zurich and took the train (about two hours); I took the train all the way from Delft (much cheaper… and more than 8 hours). The island has been a nunnery (800s); a bustling imperial city; and occupied by the French for 10 years after WWII. Today, its lakeside real estate makes it popular with cyclists, windsurfers, boaters, and general tourists (in addition to scientists).
The old town has that traditional Bavarian look (colorful, painted facades; houses joining at improbable angles; fun squares and outdoor cafes) with the feel of an upscale beach town.
There were expensive antique shops and high-end boutiques (I wandered into a store where a simple sun-hat caught my eye. It was €188.), plus a phenomenally high occurrence of Ice Cream Shops Per Square Block (some of them offering the mystifying SpaghettiEis). Ice cream, or Eis, was well within my price bracket, I am happy to report.
The main draw of Lindau is the view of its harbor, flanked on one side by the Bavarian lion and on the other by the 19th century lighthouse. Lake Constance’s shores are divided among Germany, Switzerland, and Austria; and on a clear day, from Lindau you look right out at the Alps.
Our hotel room included this view from a balcony, and I spent a lot of time enjoying the sight of the harbor as it changed with the light and weather from day to day. The third landmark is the Mangturm, the former lighthouse dating to the 13th century.
Although I said “beach town,” there is not a beach in the normal sense of the word. There are a few lakeside spots where swimming is allowed, and our hotel directed me to one on a hot day. I did see one or two lone swimmers, looking more of the exercise variety than the pleasure/sunbathing variety, but the stone steps to the water led directly into a floating mess of duck feathers and other suspect items. I sat on a bench and read instead.
I enjoyed a full day or so of exploring Lindau. The atmosphere was pleasant; there were cafes like 37 grad where I read or wrote for a few hours at a clip; the town museum was hosting a temporary exhibit honoring the birthday of Marc Chagall. The ferries would take you over to Austria or to other German towns on the lake. And there were other cultural events we saw advertised for later in the summer that looked quite enticing (like the Lindau puppet opera!). While we were there, I found the town more conducive to sitting on a balcony than to seeing sight after sight.