Lake Constance (known as Bodensee in German) is a 63 km-long central European lake that borders Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Fed by the River Rhine, it is composed of two connected parts, the Untersee (lower lake) and the larger Obersee (upper lake).
“Lake Constance is the only area in Europe where no borders exist, because there is no legally binding agreement as to where the borders lie between Switzerland, Germany and Austria. However, Switzerland holds the view that the border runs through the middle of the lake, Austria is of the opinion that the contentious area belongs to all the states on its banks, and Germany holds an ambiguous opinion.” Wikipedia
MAINAU is an island in Lake Constance just four and a half miles (7.2 kms) north of Konstanz (latin name), Germany. It is maintained as a GARDEN ISLAND and is known for its excellent environmental practices. Administratively, the island has been a part of Konstanz since December 1, 1971. The island belongs to the Lennart Bernadotte-Stiftung (English; the Lennart Bernadotte Foundation), an entity created by Prince Lennart, Count Bernadotte of Wisborg, formerly a Prince of Sweden and Duke of Småland. In 1932, Count Lennart Bernadotte began to devote his passion for horticulture to this island. The parks and gardens are today managed by his children. Access to the island is by boat or via a pedestrian bridge (causeway) connected to the mainland.
Beside flowers there is a park landscape and amazing views of the lake and mountains beyond. There is also a greenhouse with tropical climate and thousands of butterflies. The island’s arboretum contains 500 species of deciduous and coniferous trees, many exotic and valuable. The island also contains about 200 rhododendron and azalea varieties. The Italian Rose Garden is laid out geometrically with pergolas, sculptures, and fountains. There are about 20,000 dahlias of 250 varieties. Over a million tulips bloom from March until May. The Mediterranean terraces contain exotic pot plants, including palm trees, agaves, cacti and bougainvillea.
MAINAU IS A “FLOWERING ISLAND” WITH OVER A MILLION VISITORS EVERY YEAR.
I visited this spectacularly beautiful garden island in mid-June 2012. As we planned our trip, my cousin and I had read reviews of this place, but we never imagined the beauty in store. Our accommodation was in Constance, a central location for the places we envisaged visiting around the lake. We spent the afternoon hours of our first day in Constance on Mainau Island where my hourly photography rate increased tenfold. I have found it most difficult to reduce my photos to the number included here. I was like a kid in a candy store (although a little more controlled I trust). Joyful memories abound as I recall that magical afternoon.
On this day we had travelled (with Eurail Pass) in three countries, eaten lunch (chicken schnitzel) at 4 p.m. and jumped on a No. 4 bus headed in the wrong direction (much laughter) – a day seared into the memory – thankful for God’s protection and the beautiful creation of which we are a part.