Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Meersburg and Affenberg

As the weather decided to stay lovely for another day we decided to take the opportunity and go on a day trip. When my mum and dad visited us a few years back we took them to Meersburg, a small old town on the German side of Lake Constance and looked around the old castle and walked up and down the quaint old streets. Well my mum decided she wanted to visit it again (she remembers not being very well that day and the trip is rather blurry in her memory) so off we went. We drove the 40 minutes to Constance and took the ferry over to Meersburg. The journey across the water only takes 15 minutes and you can either stay in your cars or get out and enjoy the view.

The name of the town means "Burg on the Lake", the former referring to the castle which, according to a tradition from 1548, it was built here in 630 by the Merovingian king Dagobert I.


There are many hotels and restaurants considering the size of the town's populations of approx. 5600.

  A lot of the architecture in the town have the same step like roof features

Daniel, Mr. D and mum sitting on a wall with the lake behind them

Mum at the viewpoint on to the lake 
 A part of the old castle

We had lunch at a hotel restaurant called Hotel Bengel which we thought was appropriate as "Bengel" means "rascal" in German and Daniel was being a little rascal as he was losing his patience with us while we were trying to decide which restaurant to eat at :)
Look at the signs behind my mum's head "Today's Fine Food" and "Open" - what country are we in again? Germany? So funny!

 Mum and myself after lunch

After lunch we made our way to Salem, a 15 minute car drive away from Meersburg to visit Affenberg, a monkey sanctuary.
More than 200 Barbary Macaques live freely within a forest area of 20 hectares. A footpath guides the visitors through the monkeys' home range where you meet the animals from eye to eye, without any physical barriers. Specially prepared popcorn is distributed free and can be fed to the monkeys. This concept not only provides  fascinating contact with the monkeys, but also offers excellent conditions for observing, photographing and filming. Furthermore the park has proved to be an ideal field for behavioural studies and it also contributes to the conservation of the endangered Barbary Macaques. Entire groups have been reintroduced to their native homelands in North Africa.

We really enjoyed ourselves in Affenberg. We fed them and interacted with them at close quarters. We got to see the keepers feed them fruit and veg and then gave us a 15 minute "view" into their lives. He explained that the 200 monkeys are separated into three groups and live quite separate lives. He told us about his group of 80, showed us who the matriarch and patriarch of this group were and how that all works. There were some really cute babies! It was very interesting and well well worth the visit.

After Affenberg we went to Friedrichshafen quickly to do a bit of grocery shopping as the Euro is so low and makes it worthwhile for us to buy across the border. After that we drove back to Meersburg to take the 5.50pm ferry back to Constance. The weather for the day had been superb and had been cloudless up until about 5 pm. What a day!


Well that was our Monday. We're off to Austria on Wednesday so we'll see you here on Thursday.....


1 comment:

  1. How cool to be able to be so close to the monkey's! I will have to put that on my list of places to see. Have fun in Austria!