On Konstanz’s harbour wall stands the enormous revolving statue of Imperia, showing a woman holding two male figures in her hands. Highly controversial after its unveiling in 1933, now it is a major tourist attraction and the most photographed landmark in the city.
Such a tricky teaser is guaranteed to prompt blank faces at the pub quiz – “Which country is Lake Constance in?”
Should you ever be asked, the answer is actually four countries – Germany, Austria, Switzerland and, with a little geographical licence, Liechtenstein.
Known locally as Bodensee, I was keen to learn more about this fascinating lake and its surrounding countries.
Efficient meet-and-greet parking meant I was soon on my flight to Zurich, from where a short train ride took me to the city of Konstanz in Germany.
It’s a lovely mix of old and new, the peaceful, almost deserted historic sector in stark contrast to the bustling modern city.
I stayed at the lakeside Steigenberger Inselhotel, originally a 13th-Century cloistered Dominican monastery.
It was converted into a hotel in 1875 by Count Eberhard von Zeppelin who had the original monastery frescoes restored, and was the birthplace of Graf von Zeppelin, the designer of the famous airships.
After breakfast on the terrace overlooking the lake I headed out to Tettnang.
My route took me past the small airport at Friedrichshafen, the home of the current Zeppelin airships.
At 75m long they are a quarter of the size of the pre-war models and are powered by electric motors.
There’s room for 12 passengers and the popular sightseeing flights last up to two hours.
Outside Tettnang I visited Hopfengut, renowned as a producer of fine hops for the brewing trade.
Hops grow vertically around wires suspended from a frame and the first shoots are wound clockwise around the wires to start them off.
I enjoyed a selection of the brewery’s output and savoured a traditional lunch before setting off again to Hard in Austria.
This quiet town is home to the Hohentwiel, a beautifully restored royal paddle steamer dating back to 1913.
A gourmet, five-course dinner was served as we sailed the lake and were entertained by talented musicians. It was so enjoyable that no one noticed we had arrived back at our starting point, and the delightful hospitality carried on.
Next morning a short drive took me to Bregenz.
It has the world’s largest floating stage which each summer puts on a major operatic production watched by up to 7,000 people a night seated on the shore.
I enjoyed a delicious lake-side lunch at Pier 69 before setting off for country number three, Liechtenstein.
This tiny state with a population of just 38,500 spread over 11 municipalities is the richest in the world.
However it wasn’t always this way. In 1938 Prince Franz Joseph moved from Vienna to Liechtenstein and by the end of the Second World War, the country was in dire financial straits. The prince sold a number of his works of art to raise finance for the country.
The prosperous nature of the country and its inhabitants is down to the royal family’s efforts and the current prince is rightly a popular ruler.
Although a constitutional monarchy where the prince has the right to veto any legislation, each municipality can, if its people want, secede from the country – but then who would want to?
The royal family live in a castle perched dramatically on a high rocky outcrop in Vaduz, the capital.
Below, on the pedestrian main street full of statues and art, the Treasure Chamber is a must for visitors.
My final day took me to Weinfelden and my fourth country, Switzerland, where I sampled a wine trail through the vineyards.
It starts at the rail station where visitors can buy special rucksacks which include a map, wine glass and a code to access the wine vaults along the route to sample the local produce.
Swiss offers direct flights to Zurich from Edinburgh.
The Bodensee Pass is valid for three, seven or 14 days, and provides free access to attractions and optional use of the lake’s ferries. See bodensee.eu/en
Holiday Extras offers trusted Meet and Greet parking at all major UK airports. Call 0800 1313 777 or visit the website at holidayextras.com