studienfahrt 2013: study trip to lindau am bodensee

This week we have started our summer semester at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität. Back into action! In the week before, the students at the Collegium Oecumenicum (about 35 of 50 residents) traveled on our study trip to the Bodensee. Bodensee is the lake situated on the border of Germany, Austria and Switzerland. We spent time in all three countries, exploring nice towns and harbors in this beautiful region of the country. Here are pictures and notes about all that we did and saw.

Day 1:

We traveled by bus from Munich, south toward Bodensee. We stopped first in Friedrichshafen to visit the Zeppelin Museum. Zeppelins are the enormous passenger blimps that were invented in Germany, used in war and also commercially to carry people across the Atlantic. This museum was mildly interesting, but not exactly everyone’s (my) “cup of tea.” Still, we got a chance to walk around the harbor and learn a little bit of history. That afternoon, we drove further into Lindau, where our hostel was located, got situated, then explored the city a bit. The old town of Lindau and beautiful harbor lie on an island in the Bodensee, connected to mainland (and the rest of the town) by an auto/pedestrian bridge and a separate train track. The island was just a 15 minute walk from our hostel. At the end of the night, we played “get to know you” games at the hostel, because we had several new residents on the trip.

our group at the Zeppelin museum
Lindau Rathaus
Day 2:
We traveled to St. Gallen in Switzerland. There, we visited an old monastery, where they have a beautiful cathedral and a really fascinating library. We weren’t allowed to photograph inside the library, but they had several really old manuscripts on display from the Vulgate, some of the earliest German Bibles, and other early commentaries from the monks at the monastery. There was also a mummy! After the library tour, we explored the town a bit. Switzerland isn’t in the Euro Zone, so we experienced the shock of paying in the Swiss franc. The conversion rate was not in our favor, and I drank a coffee for 4 (~$5.25)! Despite this factor, St. Gallen was a really lovely town, and I’d like to go back to Switzerland to see more.
the monastery cathedral towers
inside the church – we got to sit and enjoy the beautiful paintings with organ accompaniment
the town of St. Gallen
inside a reformed church in St. Gallen
a building I just loved
After we left St. Gallen, we traveled to Bregenz, Austria on our way back to Lindau. Bregenz is another town on the Bodensee with a nice harbor and pretty old buildings. Down close to the water was more modern and commercial and not so beautiful, but we walked up the hill to find a great early 20th-C church, an old tower, and a great view of the sea and city below.
gazebo on the harbor at Bregenz
spring has sprung!

We couldn’t have been in this church at a more perfect time – the windows were more modern and told the stories so well. I like when I can look at stained glass and actually identify the subjects. The afternoon light made the most beautiful patterns on the columns and floor.
Day 3:
We headed to Birnau to tour a church there. The prettiest thing about this church was the approach from the road and the view of the pink, palatial like building on the side of the hill with the Bodensee in the background. Inside, it was a little too… baroque (for my taste).
Barockkirche Birnau
so frilly!
My favorite part about this church was the marble in pastel green, salmon, and yellow, all layered together. I prefer that to the dark brown and red marble that I see in a lot of baroque cathedrals.
And this sassy cherub.
Some of us girls outside the church in Birnau with Bodensee in the background
Afterwards, we rode our bus to Affenberg – or “Monkey Mountain” – in a town called Salem. Here, there is a forest full of Berber monkeys, and a kind of wildlife/nature sanctuary with other animals as well. They pass out hand-fulls of popcorn for feeding the monkeys. They emphasized that the monkeys are wild animals and could be aggressive if handled improperly. So, we carefully held out a few pieces of popcorn in our flat palms, and let the monkeys take and eat. They are so funny! There was also a stork feeding (they eat dead baby chicks).
me feeding a monkey!
one of the storks at feeding time
After the Affenberg visit, we trekked about 5 km by foot to visit a boarding school in Salem that is located in a palace/old monastery. The buildings are beautiful, and we got to learn about the educational philosophy and everyday life at one of the best known (most expensive) schools in Germany.
on the hike
Schule Schloss Salem – kind of Harry Potter-esque?
Day 4:
After checking out of our hostel in the morning, we drove around the west coast of the Bodensee – beautiful scenery! – to Konstanz. There we got a short tour and some information about the Council of Constance (1414-1418), which ended the Three Popes Controversy and also executed Jan Hus, one of the earliest reformers. Konstanz is significant because of the church history there, but beside that, simply a beautiful town. We sat on a restaurant patio for lunch and just enjoyed the sunshine.
Münster Konstanz
the building where the Council took place
the harbor with statue of “Imperia”
the Maypole in Konstanz

After Konstanz, our final stop was to the island Reichenau, where we viewed St. Georg church. In St. Georg, they have 10th C murals of the miracles of Christ. This was really impressive.

murals in St. Georg
on the water in Reichenau
We were then back on our way to Munich. I was a little car sick as we wound our way back around the lake (this typically happens on the “scenic route” for me) – but sitting across the aisle from 2-year-old Melody, who was just too excited by her yellow balloon and every tunnel we passed through, made the trip bearable.
Melody and her mommy – Hannah Joy
happy travelers!

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