When you go on holiday with your parents, do you have a guidebook that has all the important information about your holiday destination? It’s totally practical, right? The first guidebook for the Lake Constance region was written by Gustav Schwab in 1827. At that time, it was a really ground-breaking innovation! For this reason, Gustav Schwab also had a memorial stone dedicated to him, which we are standing in front of now.
But Schwab had written more than just a guidebook – he’s the author of the story “Reiter vom Bodensee” (The Rider from Lake Constance). In the past it would get so cold in winter that the whole of Lake Constance would freeze over. People could walk from one side of the lake to the other, or even skate across it. In Gustav Schwab’s story, the lake had frozen over one winter, when a man came along riding a horse. He wanted to take a shortcut, so simply galloped straight across the water on the horse – only because he hadn’t realised that is was the lake! It did not cross his mind that it could be ice, he just thought that it was the ground. As he got to the other side of the lake, everyone greeted him excitedly because he had managed to cross safely. Only then did the rider realise that he had just ridden across the lake! Out of shock, he then fell off his horse and died.
These days, the lake doesn’t usually completely freeze over in winter. But you can still get to the other side of the lake quickly – by ferry.
The abundant nature in the city created a special atmosphere in Friedrichshafen. King William I particularly liked beautiful gardens. And in order to make the promenade even more exclusive, the King had several giant sequoia trees from California planted in the botanical garden, Wilhelma, in Stuttgart. After a few months, the seedlings were transported to Friedrichshafen and planted. These giant trees can live to up to 3,000 years old. You can admire many of these trees in the grounds of the promenade and the palace. Have a look around and see if you can find one!
It’s a miracle that the trees survived bomb attacks undamaged. When the war was over, only individual house walls remained standing and everything else was just rubble. People were in need of serious help. They were freezing and starving to death. Some parishes in Switzerland decided to start a great initiative. They invited German children to come and live with them for a long time, so that they would not have to starve. Many of the children became friends and continued to visit each other at least once a year for years after.
Lakeside promenade with giant sequoia trees and a beautiful panoramic view of the Alps.
The Glacier Rock is dedicated to the Swabian poet Gustav Schwab – known for "The Rider from Lake Constance", a rider who crosses the frozen Lake Constance.
Wheelchair accessible: Yes