We were travelling from Liechtenstein to Füssen in Germany, but since I had been so successful with it over the last few days, I had again told Google Maps to send us on roads without tolls. This was making our journeys much longer, but often it would see us visiting towns that we otherwise would have flown passed on the motorway, early noting their existence. This was how we came to stop in Bregenz, Austria, for lunch.
I had never really heard of Bregenz before, other than to notice it on the map, sort of between where we departed and our destination. It’s located on the banks of Lake Constance, in a small section of Austria nestled between Switzerland and Germany. I had actually briefly considered staying there or in nearby Lindau, Germany, for a night when planning my itinerary for this trip, but that extra night got pushed back to Switzerland instead.
We were lucky to have a lovely sunny day. The weather had been terrible, so when we stopped it was a pleasure to escape the car to walk around the city centre for a short time. I’m not sure if I would call in an old town, but the centre has quite a few cobbled streets and pedestrian zones, line with cafes and restaurants, tables and chairs spilling onto the sidewalk, with customers clearly enjoying the sunshine.
We ended up eating at CafeSita. I had done a quick search on TripAdvisor for good, cheap eats, and this place came up. It was a trendy coffee house, full of students and cool people, drinking latte macchiatos and dining on bagels with fillings with a twist.
And who were we to think they had it wrong? So we joined them! I got a bagel with tomato and basil cream cheese, while Simon got one with a chicken curry filling. Both were delicious, if perhaps a little rich with such huge portions of creamy fillings inside.
With our stomachs full we strolled through the streets towards the lakefront. I noticed that even though some of the buildings are clearly quite old, none are crumbling, they are all renovated nicely.
Along the lakefront is a beautiful promenade and even though not everything was open yet for the summer season, quite a few people were strolling in the sunshine, admiring the spring flowers. I think perhaps, like us, it had been a while since the locals had had a beautiful sunny day.
As we walked along, we noticed what appeared to be an old-style theme park in the distance. Even though we were running out of time, curiosity got the better of me and I had to go and have a look at it.
we couldn’t help but notice some of the other things to do in Bregenz, adding them to our mental list of things to do one day when we return. There is a cable car, called the Pfänderbahn, that travels up into the nearby hills to give great views back over the buildings and the lake.
There was also the cutest little wine bar I have ever seen called Fischersteg Sunset Bar Bregenz. It must only seat a handful of people in the tiny little “Fishermen’s Footbridge”, but it would be a lovely place to enjoy an evening drink in summer.
Further along was a proper beach bar. Built a little off the lake edge, it included sand on the ground, deck chairs and a menu chock full of summer cocktails. I’m not sure if it was open yet or was still gearing up for the season, but again, I can imagine this place on hot summer evenings full to the brim of holidaying Europeans.
We finally got close to the strange theme-park. From the back though, all we could see is what looks like the rear of some stadium seating. The theme park must be on the other side of them. We notice people walking out from under the stadium seating and think that maybe we can explore further, so head to where they are coming out. As we walked through the opening, we realise what is going on, both because of what is in front of our eyes, and what is on the walls as we walk through.
What looked like a theme park in the distance is actually a building site for the set of an opera. Each summer a new set is built on a stage floating on the lake, and the opera is performed nightly under the stars. This is the largest floating stage in the world. This year the opera Rigoletto by Verdi will be performed from July 17th to August 18th.
If the photos on the walls of the previous sets are anything to go by, this set will be truely amazing. I am not an opera fan, but I would love to come back here one day to experience this opera by the lake! Have a look at the images from a Google search here.
For more information on the Bregenz Opera Festival, go to their website here
Then our short time was over! It was on to Germany for the next part of our trip.
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Josie is a forty-something budget traveller. She only discovered travel in her late thirties, but since then has travelled extensively including taking an adult gap year. She is now based in Australia and loves sharing all she has learned about travelling on a budget but with the comforts a Gen Xer requires.