This post brought to you by the Toad Elevating Moment.
(Last night, having determined to get a snack, I decided to try the food at the main train station's food court. I had a fish sandwich that was light-years ahead of anything you'd get in an American fast food place.)
The day was overcast and foggy again, and the sun didn't show its full force until mid-afternoon, which was a pity.
I left Munich on an InterCity Express to start my last day trip. Since there was no direct line to Friedrichshafen, I had to change trains at Ulm.
Even a second-class seat on one of these intercity runs (mine was going to end up in Paris) was fairly plush. Airliner-style seats, complete with folding trays; while the conductors were checking tickets a young lady went up the aisle offering coffee, drinks and snacks. A small magazine extolled the quality of the cuisine in the dining cars, and I noted that the return run featured a dining car.
Good cuisine on a train? I asked myself.
We'll see about that.
Unfortunately, due to construction on the line, the train pulled into the Ulm Bahnhof at the same time my connection was pulling out of the station, leaving me with an hours' dead time in Ulm.
While I was there, I did try to look up Johann Gambolputty de von Ausfernschplendenschlittercrasscrenbonfrieddiggerdingledangledongledunglebursteinvon- knackerthrasherapplebangerhorowitzticolensicgranderknottyspelltinklegrandlichgrumble- meyerspelterwasserkurstlichhimbleeisenbahnwagengutenabendbitteeinnürnburgerbratwurst- legerspurtenmitzweimacheluberhundsfutgumberabershönedankerkalbsfleischmittleraucher von Hauptkopf of Ulm, but his family has an entire separate phone directory just for themselves - and it's bigger than the city directory!
(Okay, Monty Python Moment now over. I'll be good from now on. Maybe.)
On the way south, I saw more farmlands, and pastures with sheep and horses.
Friedrichshafen is a small city that is historically notable for a few things, one of which is the launch, in 1900, of the LZ-1, the world's first rigid airship. The inventor and chief guiding force behind this amazing feat was Ferdinand, Graf (Count) von Zeppelin. Every airship that has a rigid skeleton is now dignified with the name zeppelin in honor of Old Ferdy. During the War, Friedrichshafen was also home to industrial concerns like Maybach (cars, tank engines) and Dornier (airplanes), and as a result it was almost hammered flat by the Allies.
Now the place is home to EADS (which runs Airbus), Zeppelin NT (which is trying to bring back airships), Zeppelin (which now makes heavy construction machinery) and several other companies. It is also home to the Zeppelin Museum.
The Museum inhabits the old harbor airport with a beautiful view of the Bodensee (or Lake Constance, if you prefer). Since I had arrived an hour late, I figured that lunch was in order first, and headed for the Museum's restaurant.
Taking a tip from my guide book, I asked for Felchen "Müllerin Art."
Felchen is a fish, related to salmon but white-fleshed, and the style of cooking says that it's roasted in almonds. It came with potatoes and a leafy green salad with a very light vinaigrette, and I ate it with a half-liter of the local pilsner. Excellent!
The Museum was even better! The key feature of the place is a reproduction of a 108-foot section of LZ-129, better known as the Hindenburg
, which exploded and crashed in flames at Lakehurst, New Jersey in 1937. The recreation was as perfect as they could make it, using original materials to display two cabins and the main promenade deck, along with part of its duralumin skeleton. There's also one of its propellers on display, as well as the nose cone and one engine pod from the Hindenburg's
predecessor, the Graf Zeppelin
There are also mementoes, uniforms, models and displays. There's even the huge old Maybach limousine that used to ferry passengers in style out to the waiting airship.
Suffice it to say, by the time I left the museum it was too late to hop aboard a passenger ferry for a brief trip across the 15-mile wide stretch of water to Switzerland, so I headed back to Ulm, and from there to Munich.
I had not forgotten the dining car, so I made my way back to it and ordered the first thing I saw on the menu: Steinpilzrahmsuppe
. The girl behind the counter looked at me funny, but processed the order (I had a soda to drink with it).
It's cream of mushroom soup, made with wild mushrooms, garnished with chives and served with bread.
So now I'm back here in Munich, with one more day to go.