Island Hopping on Easter

On Easter Sunday while my mom was visiting, we took another boat ride across the Bodensee.  This time our destination was Mainau Island–the island of flowers!

On Easter morning, we woke up to some rain showers and were pretty worried about our trek across the lake.  We were instantly cheered when we went down to the breakfast room, and at each place lay a vibrantly dyed Easter egg and a few bunny-shaped chocolates, too!  It was absolutely a welcome surprise.  I guess the Easter bunny can find you anywhere, can’t he? 😉

Our fantastic hotel--Hotel Waldhorn

As we drove into Friedrichshafen (our hotel was just slightly outside of the city), the skies began to clear a little.  It wasn’t perfect, but as long as it wasn’t raining, we’d take it!

Friedrichshafen--a daunting sky

Nonetheless, we shoved off (is that the correct boating term?) and enjoyed the 1 1/2 journey to Mainau Island with some stops along the way to pick up more passengers.

Departing Friedrichshafen with an already better-looking sky

Small stop in Immenstaad and some other places

And then….

Arriving

Warm welcome to the flowering island of Mainau

This island, it its entirety, is owned by the family of a Count who was at once time a Prince in Sweden. The island is notable for a few things: the abundance of flowers, the variety of plant species, the views from the island, and the tropical houses, one of which holds butterflies.  Mom and I enjoyed imagining actually owning this place, and after all the crowds dissipated, just going for a stroll through all of the gardens…which you own…because the entire island is yours.  Crazy!

Tulips Galore!

The Castle Overlooking the Rest of the Island

Admittedly, Russ going to Mainau Island is a little bit like me going to a car museum.  We agree to do it, enjoy looking around and taking in the big picture, but when your travel partners need to stop at every single plaque (or in this case, plant), it gets a little annoying.  Despite all this, Russ did a fine job putting up with our “ooohing” and “aaahing.”  🙂

One section of the island was titled, “Rhododendron Row.”  The sheer number of Rhododendrons (over 200 varieties) and the height of the plants was astonishing.  Unfortunately, only some of them were in bloom at the time.  One more week, or maybe two, and the whole row would have been on fire with bright pinks and purples!

Mom and her favorite Rhododendron

Rhododendron Row--you have to use your imagination!

and because I match!

The tulips!  Oh, the tulips!!

Tulips

Check it out--feathered!

Incredible Height!

Fire?

Beautiful!

He's not so bad, either! 😉

Pam and Lauren--Mainau Island

Mainau Peacock

And Duck Pond!

And, well, I don't really know what to call that.

The island also had an amazing variety of roses.  Obviously, it’s not rose season in Germany (except for in green houses), so we didn’t get to see any of the roses in bloom.  But, hey, they have to have something to show off when all these tulips are finished blooming, right?

After a drink and a bratwurst, we decided it was time to head to the Schmetterlingshaus.  Butterflies!

Russ made me do this in order to go into the butterfly house

Walking through the rowws of gigantic trees (including some Redwoods) to get to the butterflies

Schmetterlings!

It was crowded.  It was hot.  Like, really, really hot.  Rainforesty.  Russ wandered off on his own course while Mom and I stuck together, and after getting accustomed to the heat, we really enjoyed spotting exotic types on flowers and watching the shades of the butterfly wings change to match that of the plant on which they alighted.  Nonetheless, we weren’t the ones with the camera (how do you photograph butterflies, anyway?), so the pictures you see are obviously from Russ’s journey.

Camoflauge 101

These bright blue butterflies constantly swooped down over the heads of observers

How many butterflies are in this picture?

Check out that body and those cacoons!

Wingspan

Obviously, photographing butterflies is difficult.  It’s even more difficult when the place is filled with people.  And even more difficult when you’re worried about the humidity affecting the camera (which Russ never actually said, but I can read his mind).  The most beautiful butterflies were usually the less stationary, but it was a really cool thing to experience.  Not to mention that the outside air felt really good after we were done!

We ended our time on the island with a walk toward the castle where the big trees were showcased.

Giant Tree on Mainau

Redwood

Cool view up through the Redwood

The weirdest tree...almost like a cactus!

Approaching the Castle

The Castle

Easter Eggs!

Fun!

A Peek out to the Lake

Looking out towards the boarding dock

We had a fantastic time on the island!  After arriving back at Friedrichshafen, we wandered around for a little bit, but ultimately headed back to the hotel.  The Waldhorn has a fantastic restaurant with outdoor seating.  We ate there twice and enjoyed some of the best German cuisine we’ve had since living here!  Definitely a memorable Easter Sunday. 🙂

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7 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by TheBlackTwig on May 12, 2011 at 12:10 pm

    The “fire tulips” are really pretty 🙂 great photos.

    Reply

  2. I enjoyed Mainau much more than you let on. =)

    Reply

  3. Posted by Mom on May 12, 2011 at 1:54 pm

    I will never forget our Easter on Mainau.
    Thanks for the commentary, Lauren. Thank you, Russ, for capturing our lovely day with your amazing photography!

    Reply

  4. Posted by Elizabeth Edwards on May 12, 2011 at 10:41 pm

    That looks like more fun than the Keukenhoff in Holland. They did not build sculpture out of their bulbs, just auctioned them off – very fast!

    Reply

  5. Posted by Lynette on May 15, 2011 at 3:16 am

    The camo butterfly is the blue morpho and the large one is the atlas moth. It only is alive in the adult form for like 3 days, doesn’t eat or drink, and lays lots of eggs! You can tell the difference between a butterfly and a moth because butterflies rest with their wings closed and moths rest with their wings open.

    Reply

  6. Gorgeous flowers! What a wonderful way to spend Easter Sunday.

    Reply

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