Exploring Germany – Radolfzell am Bodensee

It must have been more than 20 years since I have last been to Lake Constance (Bodensee). So I was delighted to get a chance for an overnight stay here during a recent trip.

To get there, I flew into Zurich and took a train (well three trains actually) to Radolfzell. My time here was fairly limited, as I was being picked up the next morning for a meeting nearby, before travelling to Stuttgart to catch my afternoon flight back to London.

So what is there to see in Radolfzell? To be honest, not an awful lot. I would probably not pick Radolfzell as an actual holiday destination on its own. However for a quick stop over or as a base to venture out further, it is quite convenient.

Radolfzell is a relatively small town with around 35.000 inhabitants, located at the north-western edge of the Lake Constance. It has been around for centuries, founded 800AD.

It offers direct access to the lake, so if you are into water sports, fishing or boats, I suspect there is lots to do.

Radolfzell has its own harbour and an open air theatre down by lake, with a rather peculiar cover, the Konzertsegel (concert sail).

As I arrived just as dusk was settling, I was greeted by rather pretty views of the lake.

In the town center, there is the gothic cathedral ‘Unserer Lieben Frau’, the old pharmacy, now housing the city museum, two old towers as relicts of the old city wall and some picturesque old timber houses and cobbled streets.

After a short walk (the town center isn’t very big), I picked a restaurant for dinner. The ‘Oma’s Küche im Liesele’ (meaning nan’s kitchen) looked intriguing.

The interior is a mix of traditional old German restaurant and your nan’s living room and it offers home cooked German comfort food. Unfortunately I wasn’t the only one fancying grandma’s cooking, so ended up having to wait for a table to become available and eventually sharing with the random stranger behind me (didn’t seem like the restaurant was too keen on the idea of two single people occupying two tables).

And let’s be honest. Faced with the prospect of having dinner on your own in a restaurant yet again, sharing with a stranger isn’t too bad a choice (assuming he isn’t a total nutter).

Luckily he wasn’t. Maybe a little egocentric, but then again, it turned out he was an actor down here for two days to film an episode for a German TV series. So being egocentric is probably part of the job description. Although he apparently does both TV and film, I had no clue whatsoever who he was. He kept dropping names of TV shows I’ve never heard of (let’s not forget I haven’t lived in Germany for almost a decade) or never watched (one of the longest running German soap operas). I did not ask for his name nor did he offer it. And I couldn’t quite work out whether it upset him that I clearly had no clue who he was or whether he was relieved I wasn’t star struck.

Back in the hotel, curiosity obviously got the upper hand and I googled him… didn’t take me too long. And no, although I have seen some of his films, the name still didn’t ring a bell.

Have you had any weird and surreal encounters with strangers?

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