Overlooking the lake’s widest point and with the longest promenade of any Bodensee town, FRIEDRICHSHAFEN, 22km west of Lindau, has the feel of a seaside resort. But the place leads a double life, being the lake’s only industrial town. It was bombed to smithereens during World War II thanks to its aviation industry, one which nevertheless also made it the setting for one of the world’s most intriguing aeronautical events: it was here that Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin manufactured and launched his cigar-shaped airships. On July 2, 1900, his first LZ1 drifted over the lake and three decades later, Friedrichshafen became a hub for long-distance international travel. Airships made scheduled flights to Stockholm, Rome, Cairo and Leningrad; a Zeppelin buzzed to New York every three weeks; and the truly rich could leave Friedrichshafen to step off at Rio de Janeiro after twelve days in the clouds.

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