In which there was very nearly a KIDNAP and weapons were fashioned.

It is Steim am Rhein which is the town in these parts which is famous for being pretty but we didn’t think it  prettier than any of it’s neighbours. In fact Uberlingen is our favourite place so far.

PLANS were made last night, Plans that involved an early start and a visit to the monkeys of Monkey Mountain. But no plans survive contact with alcohol and it was my birthday yesterday and I had a LOVELY fillet steak in an Argentinian steak house (actually probably the second nicest steak I’ve ever had, number one being from an actual Argentinian steak house) on the lake front and a bottle of wine. And some beers. So we got a leisurely start from the Hotel Ochsen a few hours later than intended for a short cycle (20k) to Monkey Mountain.
Monkey Mountain is simultaneously the world’s worst zoo (and I’ve been to the Heads of Ayr farm park) and one of the greatest. OK it’s basically a collection of farm buildings, a wood and a pond with 3 different animals. They have ducks which you can feed. They have Cranes (with nests built over the house) which you can look at through binoculars.
And they have MONKEYS* which you can hand feed!

You buy a ticket for a trifling sum (considering you get to FEED the MONKEYS) which gets you into a fenced off area of forest which is full of monkeys. On entering you are given a handful of popcorn and then left to follow a circular path round the forest (about a ten minute amble). Hand feeding monkeys. There are old monkeys, young monkeys and baby monkeys. You are not allowed to stray from the path but the monkeys are and they alternate their time between playing with each other, looking after their young and playing with the tourists.
Once you have completed your circuit you can go round again if you want and get more food, it doesn’t cost any extra! The girls went round FIVE times. They had to be forcibly restrained from stuffing one of the smaller monkeys into a pannier and making off with him.



After this we stumble into the heat of the day from the relative shade of the monkey forest and cycled via Uhldingen (lunch in a bakery) for a visit to a museum about the Bodensee area in the Stone age. We’ve been to a lot of museums in our time, last year we spent a week on Orkney which is essentially a world class Neolithic museum in itself so I wasn’t expecting too much from the stilted housing museum but it was ace.
You enter through a circular room whose walls are made up entirely of screens bleeding seamlessly into the floor giving you the impression you are part of the dive that originally found the remains. Then this film changes into a film about life in the houses until the doors open (different ones to the ones you entered through) leading you into a re-creation of the village.
There are numerous ‘hands on exhibitions’  giving you a chance to make everything from stone age trolleys to Neolithic spears and flint tools and we can grasp most of the explanations and boards even though a lot of it is German.

We’ve had quite a few experiences in Germany where we have ben helped by the kindness of strangers so when, as we enter the village, a woman asks me to help fix her phone I feel obliged to reciprocate and the encounter leads me to suspect that we weren’t just lucky in our previous encounters. She asked me to help as obviously I exude a knowledge of technology and when she discovered I was English just seamlessly switched language and handed me her phone whilst explaining the problem. This just doesn’t happen in the UK at least not with the same level of expectation and I think that’s a shame. Anyway I spent a good 15 minutes trying to buy her a parking ticket on her phone, then on mine. Then on Suzy’s. Then I made my excuses and left. I think she ended up getting a fine.


(We once stopped on the motorway in the UK to offer a lift to a woman walking away from a broken down car. She wasn’t wearing a coat. The rain was hammering down and she was having to walk bent forward against the wind. “Do you want a lift? Suzy asked.
“No.” she replied.
Yes she did.)

Of course it is also possible I am trying to draw conclusions from two interactions and extrapolate them to define two nations’ psyches which is a bit of a leap even for me.


So back to Uberlingen via a quick swim in the lake. I really need to live nearer water.

Warm water, not the Clyde.

*Not actually monkeys, actually Barbary Apes.

I have too many pictures of monkeys.

Pfahlbauten Unteruhldingen


Leave a Reply

Avatar placeholder

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.