A Sea of Flowers in Lake Constance
Lake Constance, or Bodensee in German, consists of two parts; the larger Upper Lake (473 km²) & the smaller Lower Lake (63 km²) are connected by the Rhine river, which flows through the lake & the city of Constance. The mild climate of the Alpine Foreland is good for people & plants alike: the region is noted for its vineyards on the lakeside slopes, and for growing fruit & veg. For garden lovers there is Mainau Island, a horticultural paradise in the Upper Lake. Mainau is open to visitors the year round, but of course the island is at its best when the flowers are in bloom, from mid-April, when the orchards blossom & over a million tulips covering the slope alongside Spring Avenue bloom luxuriantly, until sometime in September, when autumn kicks in and slowly ruins everything.
By virtue of its Italian cascade & rose garden, the Mediterranean terrace and the historic citrus collection, Mainau perfectly reflects a Goethean longing for ‘Das Land wo die Zitronen blühn’. Besides the outstanding floral display, the island features a palm house & a butterfly house with some 120 species of tropical butterflies. The baroque Palace of the Teutonic Order & its church next door, both built by Johann Caspar Bagnato, are nothing out of the ordinary, but they offer a pleasant sanctuary from the riotous floweriness. Located 3½ km from Constance’s ferry terminal in Staad, it takes 45 minutes to walk to Mainau. The bus is five times faster, but the waiting time in Allmannsdorf for the connecting service can take up to almost half an hour if you’re unlucky.mainau.de