Hugh Jackman is in the midst of a World Tour right now. I am a bit deprived of musicals while living in Switzerland, so I was quick to buy tickets to his show several months ago. No one else was able to join me, so I decided to make a weekend of it. The show was in Zurich, and I thought it was the perfect opportunity to visit a number of random places that have been on my list. It was a bit of a crazy adventure that included a flower island, a fairytale village, waterfalls, an incredible castle, and finally, Hugh.
I drove to Konstanz, Germany after work on Friday. It looked like a cute town, but I arrived after 8:00pm, and all I could think about was dinner and sleep. I had dinner at my hotel, Hotel Schiff Konstanz. They didn’t have an English menu, so I told them to surprise me. This seemed to completely freak them out! In the end, I had a mystery soup, fried fish and salad, and a chocolate mousse with berries. If this is their best, I can’t say I’m impressed, but I was hungry and tired, so there was no time to be picky.
The hotel was located across from a pier, and I thought it was so peaceful at night.
In the morning, I left the hotel after a quick breakfast and drove to Mainau Island, which is also known as Flower Island. You walk across a big bridge to access the island.
While the tulips were on their last leg, many other flowers were in bloom. I spent a couple of hours walking all over the island taking pictures and enjoying all of the beautiful flowers. (I think I’m turning into my Gramma with how much I’m loving flowers these days. Too bad I don’t have her green thumb!)
I even saw what might be my first-ever Redwood tree. I’m sure it’s only a fraction of the size of the ones you can see in California, but it was still impressively tall!
There’s a large estate on the island. While the house wasn’t open beyond a temporary exhibit, they had a chapel that was pretty over the top for a private residence!
I particularly loved this display of flowers in the shape of Lake Constance. The surrounding cities in Germany and Switzerland are marked.
Flowers, flowers, everywhere!
I don’t know if I’ve confessed it here, but I was definitely a Disney kid, and these flowers reminded me of some of the talking flowers in Alice in Wonderland.
Peonies the size of your head!
They also had a Butterfly house on the island! Believe it or not, butterflies are something that scare my brother (who is 6’3″ and an Ironman). I was thinking of him a lot while walking through the Butterfly house.
A note to anyone who visits Mainau Island in the future…you need to buy a coin at one of the ticket stands to exit the parking. I bought my entrance ticket online, so I had no need to go to a ticket stand. This led to me stuck and unable to exit the parking. Long story short, I googled the phone number of Mainau Island, and they had to send someone to let me out. The woman on the phone claimed there was signage everywhere, but clearly, I missed it.
After I finally made it out of the parking, I drove to Stein Am Rhein. A colleague recommended it. I assumed it was Germany, since my other stops were, but I laughed when I realized it was actually in Switzerland. It’s a tiny little village with beautiful murals painted on the buildings in the main square. I was only there for a short stop (and an ice cream, because why not?), but it is definitely worth seeing, if you’re in the vicinity.
I drove on to Rheinfalls (which are also in Switzerland, not Germany). It’s completely set up for tourism. There is food for sale and a huge souvenir shop. They charge you 5 or 10 CHF to walk down and see the falls. But, the falls are pretty impressive, so I thought it was worth the stop while I was nearby. We had a lot of rain in the days leading up to this trip, so I think there was extra water in the falls. They were so loud!
From there, I drove way up north to Mosel, Germany. Thank goodness for audiobooks in the car! (Between two weekend road trips and a mid-week dinner in Interlaken, I listed to four audiobooks!) I also bought something I hardly ever drink, even in the US – Mountain Dew! They don’t sell it in Switzerland, and I got so excited when I saw it, that I couldn’t resist! Ha!
I stayed in another no-frills hotel called Hotel Moselkern. They had a restaurant on site, and since it was raining when I arrived, I just had dinner there and didn’t take time to walk around the town.
The next morning, I left early for Eltz Castle (or, Burg Eltz, in German). It was located less than 15 minutes from the hotel. I chose to take the walk through the woods to access the castle, and I’m so glad I did! I came around a bend and experienced a huge WOW moment when I saw the castle for the first time through a clearing! Rick Steves claims that this is his favorite castle in all of Europe, and since I have to believe he’s seen them all, I knew it was a must visit. It’s only open during the summer, so while I was in neighboring Cochem during our Christmas Market Roadtrip a few years ago, I waited to visit until I could go inside.
Eltz castle has been privately owned in the same family for approximately 1,000 years. That’s 33 generations! It was built on a rock and over a period of 500 years. They didn’t allow pictures inside, but we toured two of the three different houses.
Finally, it was time for the main event – Hugh Jackman: The Man. The Music. The Show. This was also an exciting evening, because I had my first-ever Roger Federer sighting! This has been one of my Swiss goals, and he was seated one section in front of me! It turns out Hugh’s wife was in the same row, which explains why it was empty until one or two minutes before showtime.
I know the show has had mixed reviews, but as someone deprived of musicals right now, I loved it! He performs pieces from Beauty and the Beast (his first Broadway musical role was Gaston), Les Miserables, The Greatest Showman, and several other favorites.
I was also completely shocked to have Keala Settle there to perform “This Is Me” from The Greatest Showman. (She plays the bearded woman in the movie.) She was awesome!
I chose to leave before Hugh performed the last two songs, because I had to drive all the way back to Montreux and couldn’t afford to be stuck in traffic while exiting the parking garage. He joked that he would give a warning for anyone who wanted to escape early (like he always does), and he was true to his word. I was so thankful, because I escaped with no traffic!
While this trip involved a lot of car time, I enjoyed seeing so many different things in one weekend! No one at work could believe everything I did when I told them about it on Monday, and after seeing all of the pictures, you probably can’t either.