Following my previous post about the trip to Friedrichshafen in Germany with Monarch Airlines and Bodensee-Airport Friedrichshafen, I wanted to fill you in on the full details of my intense yet fun-filled 24-hour return trip to Friedrichshafen.
Located on the northern side of Lake Constance in South Germany near Litchenstein, Switzerland and Austria, Friedrichshafen was established in 1811 within the state of Baden-Württemberg. With a population of around 58,000 people, the city is well located to serve tourists to the Alps as well as the surrounding areas, making it an ideal year-round destination.
Travelling from London to the Austrian Alps is possible in just 2.5 hours, a surprisingly quick turnaround enabling you to maximise your time on the slopes. From Bodensee-Airport there are excellent transfer times to the major ski resorts of Austria and Switzerland amongst others. The new airport terminal building has 14 check-in desks, as well as a new non-aviation area with bars, shops and a duty-free-shop.
Along with other travel bloggers and media representatives, I arrived at London Gatwick for 4am to prepare for the inaugural flight to Friedrichshafen with Monarch Airlines. Together, we would be taking part in a fun-filled treasure hunt, certain to keep us busy whilst taking in the sights of the route.
Upon arrival at Bodensee-Airport in Friedrichshafen, we were presented with the details that would guide us through the day ahead. We would be starting with an exciting treasure hunt; each participant was required to follow the clues to move around the region clocking up points along the way. We were introduced to our personal drivers that would escort us throughout the day in individual black BMW’s provided by Sixt Car Rental - all very smart and offering a fantastic ’James Bond-esque’ feel to the adventure.
Having been provided with the first clue, we were allowed to use smart phones to research the possible answers before instructing the driver with directions to take us to the appropriate venue.As we set off in our individual vehicles whilst rapidly trying to figure out the first of the clues, it was difficult not to be distracted by the eye-catching scenery of the city. With it being the winter season, snow was falling thick and fast – a welcome change to the icy roads in the UK - yet my driver comfortably handled the car in the direction of Lake Stage at Lake Constance in Bregenz, the first destination.
Upon arrival at the lake, I was able to take in the scenery of Bregenz that provided part of the back-drop in the James Bond film ‘Quantum of Solace’, before it was time to race on to the next venue – with this clue involving a castle. With some research on another participants’ mobile phone (my own had decided not to work during our time in Friedrichshafen!), my driver was soon heading towards Schattenburg Castle in Feldkirch.We reached this part of Austria in just thirty minutes, clearly demonstrating the ease of travelling from the airport in South Germany directly into Austria.
Having arrived at Schattenburg Castle, we were greeted with non-alcoholic mulled wine to ease the chill as we observed the seasonal snow-covered rooftops and medieval structure that overlooks the small town of Feldkirch. Once we had all warmed up a little and discussed the challenges of the task so far, we were ready to brace the final hurdle of the treasure hunt.
With the finish line fast approaching, there was just one more short car journey which started the ascent of the Alps. We competed against the elements to the charming town of Schruns situated right in the middle of the beautiful montafon at an altitude of almost 700 metres above sea level.
Here, we approached the finish line and awaited the remaining participants for a celebratory lunch. The town of Schruns is well documented as a favourite ski resort of Ernest Hemingway. Having visited the town it’s easy to understand why he loved so dearly to be amongst the snowy mountains.
During the day we had built a great rapport amongst the group, one which continued over lunch where we dined at ‘Gasthaus zum Kreuz – Hemingway Bar’, enjoying Spatzle and soft drinks before an eagerly anticipated afternoon.
As we finished our meal, it was explained that we would be tackling the -11C temperatures at the skiing resort to ascend the Silvretta Montafon, Vorarlberg’s largest ski area. As an interested non-skier, this was a completely new environment for me but one that I was enthusiastic about, particularly with it being such an active sport and one that I would love to participate in at some point.
On the ascent the snowfall provided nothing less than picture perfection, however the cable car journey was a little daunting for me being concerned about heights! Nonetheless, knowing that we were heading towards the location of the inaugural FIS Snowboardcross World Cup allowed me to not dwell on the height. Not only were we witnessing the top skiing area for Western Austria, but we were also able to meet some of the world’s top Snowboardcross professionals like Zoe Gillings and Susanne Moll in their element – a truly memorable experience.
Having spent some time on the mountain, it was time to start the descent and head to Après-ski. The meaning literally translates to ‘after-skiing’ and is where the more social element kicks in. Whether you’re seeking a hot, cold or alcoholic beverage, this is the place to get it whilst reliving your experience of being up on the mountain. I opted for a ‘Williams Schnapps’ (pear schnapps) and Jaeger tea, both strong, rich and completely indulgent! Once we had arrived and settled, the prize-giving ceremony started to finalise the treasure hunt experience. Yet there was still so much to come.
After driving back to Bodensee-Airport in Friedrichshafen, it had been arranged that we would join travellers that had experienced alternative day-trips to the region as part of the inaugural flight by Monarch to the region. Here, we all enjoyed a ‘Folk-like’ Swabian evening, including local foods and beers. These were served in the airport fire station with views of the FDH ramp – a thrilling opportunity to celebrate the success of the day in the unusual setting.
Following such an eventful day, we proceeded through to the departure terminal of the airport to sadly return to London, entertained along the way by music from the band that had performed during our Swabian meal.
Check out the video below for some footage from the day:
Overall, I had a fantastic day out with the other participants and meeting sponsors of the trip – Monarch Airlines, Bodensee-Airport Friedrichshafen, Vorarlberg Travel and Silvretta Montafon. Friedrichshafen proved to be a complete eye-opener for me. As a non-skier, I had a complete enjoyment in the sense of adventure that is impossible to ignore as well as the opportunity to see just how convenient a trip from London can be – Monarch Airlines really have opened the door to this part of the world. The environment is ideal for outdoor enthusiasts and provides plenty of fun and interesting activities to do.
Thank you to all of the sponsors of this flying visit to Friedrichshafen, Lake Constance, Feldkirk, Schruns and Vorarlberg. It was such an action-packed day and very well organised, it was a true pleasure to take part. As always, all opinions and images are those of the Ad-lib Traveller.