Wednesday, February 28, 2007

The Zeppelin Museum, Friedrichshafen

This is a lakeside view of the city of Friedrichshafen on Lake Constance (also known as the Bodensee). It's located in the German state of Wuerttemburg, and boasts several heavy industries (like Airbus) and a slightly gentler climate than the Bavarian Alpine areas I visited. There are even palm trees planted here, and they looked like they were doing well.
Friedrichshafen is also the spot where, in 1900, the dream of a guy named Ferdinand, Graf von Zeppelin came true with the launch of the first rigid airship. A museum dedicated to him and his airships are just beyond the bend in the background.

The Zeppelin Museum is housed in the old airport building that looks out over the lake. There is a restaurant located on the second floor, and you can eat out on the balcony and watch the ferries come in or simply watch the weather over the water. It was rather hazy and foggy, so try as I might I couldn't see Switzerland.

The restaurant that takes up part of the museum serves its menu on authentic reproductions, each bearing the logo of Zeppelin Flugzeugwerke AG. And the food was great, too.

The best attraction of the Zeppelin Museum is this 108-foot long reproduction of a section of the Hindenburg (LZ129). There's a gallery in the background where you can see the details of its duralumin skeleton and interior architecture. The ladder to the right was the boarding ladder used in the early days of airship travel to get on and off the airships.

To the left is the main salon, while to the right are the promenade windows so you could watch the scenery float past you as the zeppelin cruised along. It must have been an awe-inspiring sight.

A view of the main salon on the Hindenburg. The chairs and other furniture are all duralumin, light, strong (and non-conducting - can't have sparks flying about).

This is a reconstruction of a single stateroom aboard the Hindenburg. There were also a set of two-person staterooms, with bunk beds. Not exactly posh, but you don't spend the whole cruise in your cabin, do you?

This is a view of the city hall in Friedrichshafen. Because of its heavy industry, the city was largely bombed flat in WW2, and most of what you'll see has been rebuilt. I thought the tile pattern on the roof was interesting.

This is the main monument put up to commemorate the first airship launch and to honor Graf von Zeppelin. This face of the pylon faces out over the Bodensee toward Switzerland.

The inscription on this face of the monument reads that the LZ1 was launched from here, and subsequently LZ126 crossed the Atlantic while LZ 127 circled the globe, opening up the first intercontinental air routes. Quite an accomplishment.


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