Butterflies, Blossoms and Buds at Insel Mainau

While Germany might not be high up on the list of countries to visit for those travelling to Europe, it actually has quite a lot of quaint towns and villages that are worth seeing. Insel Mainau is one of them. What a fantastic place! Wow, really! Located on the shores of Europe’s biggest lake, the Bodensee or Lake Constance, this little island is a hidden gem, a beautiful hideaway, in Southern Germany. It is close to the Swiss and Austrian borders and the perfect place for a day trip if you want to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life or relax a bit from your hectic tour schedule.

Insel Mainau is dubbed as the “flower island” … and you can see why!

This Baroque castle was built in the early 1700s and once served as the home of Prince Lennart.

Insel Mainau is like stepping into a wonderful story book.

I absolutely love these pink and white tulips!

Insel Mainau offers a wonderful view of the Bodensee and comes complete with a Baroque castle and chapel, a butterfly house (with hundreds, if not thousands, of butterflies freely fluttering about as you walk around), cool playgrounds for children of all ages, and a petting zoo with pony rides. The island also regularly holds concerts, special events and festivals. But perhaps the most impressive attraction of Insel Mainau are the gardens. There are blossoms and buds everywhere, literally! Next to them are mammoth 150-year-old trees such as redwoods. No wonder it’s dubbed the “flower island.”

These yellow crown imperial flowers remind me of Tinkerbell.

Well, hello there little lizard!

Cherry blossom tress in full bloom

Insel Mainau still belongs to the same noble family that has made the island into an oasis of natural beauty. While it once served as the home of Prince Lennart, who lost all his titles and right to succession upon marrying a commoner, he also developed/modernized the place and opened it to the public. And to continue on with the family tradition of keeping the island green, the heirs (Counts of Bernadotte) aim to ensure that Insel Mainau remains a botanical garden and serves as a role model for excellent environmental management, with various certifications to prove it.

Could this be Rapunzel’s tower? Nah, too low!

I’m not really sure of the name of these flowers, but they look like camellias and very Chanel-like!

A gigantic blooming peacock

Getting to Insel Mainau is easy, even for us who often use public transportation. From Konstanz, you can either take the long and picturesque way with the boat — roughly an hour’s journey — or, if you can’t hold your excitement and want to get to the island as quickly as possible, there’s an 18-minute bus ride. We took both and taking the boat for at least one way is absolutely worth it. Once on the island, you won’t get hungry. There are nine restaurants and cafes to choose from, offering anything from a-la-carte gastronomic delights to grilled sausages. We dined at the Schloss Café as I badly wanted to try out one of the 40 specialty coffees (from organic coffee beans) and homemade cakes. Yummy!

Cattleya orchids in the Palm House

A butterfly laying eggs in the Butterfly House

This ain’t no rubber duckie!

Insel Mainau is a real treat for adults and kids alike and I highly recommend visiting it! We will definitely come back as we weren’t able to explore the whole island and the interior of the castle. We were captivated by the blossoms and buds and forgot about the time. Our daughter also happily jumped, ran and played around pretending to be a butterfly. In the spirit of spring, she brought and wore her huge butterfly/fairy wings. One of the staff members in the Butterfly House found the look adorable and alluded that they should probably start selling butterfly wings in the souvenir shop. I think so too. They’ll be a big hit with the kids.

Tulips as bright as the sun growing even in the uncultivated part of the island

Insel Mainau has a really cool playground for children of all ages.

Hang on tight!

Paper thin orange poppy flowers

Until my next post … take care!

Mr. Gondolier

Let yourself be enchanted by Venice’s canals and architecture on a gondola. Maybe you’ll get a handsome gondolier too. Taking a gondola ride in Venice is mandatory, even if it’s just for one time only, as you really see a different perspective of the city. Yes, it’s expensive. Yes, it’s touristy. And yes, it’s absolutely worth it. Hurry, before the rates go up!

The standard tariff is €80.00 for a 40-minute ride. But if you take one in a less frequented route or a smaller canal you can probably negotiate down to €60.00 for 30 minutes. What I do recommend though is even taking a longer ride as the gondoliers become more flexible at negotiating the price. Plus, you get to see more of the city. These gondolas move at turtle speed so half an hour won’t really get you much anywhere. Next time, instead of the two 40-minute rides I took with my daughter, we’ll opt for a full hour because that also gives more time to enjoy riding along the Grand Canal. Take also note that each gondola station serves a different route so walk around the city first and figure out which “area” you’d like to see with a gondola to avoid burning your travel funds.

Until my next post … take care!

Read: Venetian Highlights

Postcard #55: Bethlehem

He has risen! The Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, the place where Jesus was born. Have a blessed Easter.

Until my next post … take care!

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