Friedrichshafen Travel Guide
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The skies are gray. The building is gray. The airships are gray. Waitairships?! Yeah, we just said airships.
It's in the 40s here in Friedrichshafen, Germany, but we've taken this detour to the southern edge of the country for a few reasons that don't care what the weather forecast says.
For one, it's the birthplace of the Zeppelin airship, way back when Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin decided to get in the balloon business. Perhaps you're most familiar with the Hindenburg (cue "oh the humanity") as that was a Zeppelin craft, though technology means they're built far safer and better these days. At the Zeppelin Halle near Friedrichshafen-Bodensee Airport, the dirigibles still take passengers up on the same route over Lake Constance as the Count's 1900 maiden flight. In town, there's that Zeppelin Museum we've previously written about.
The US has no shortage of aviation museums and, indeed, another one just opened in Ohio this summer. Still, while walking under warbird wings and checking out the occasional spacecraft it's all too easy to forget about those lumbering pioneers of long-haul travel: the airships.
Airships (or Zeppelins/dirigibles/blimps, whatever term you most prefer) had a short shelf life thanks in part to the development of actual airplane aviation and thanks, also in part, to that "oh, the humanity" tragedy that saw the Hindenburg mega-airship go up in flames in 1937. But, for a time, Zeppelins were the coolest thing in air travel; Germany operated regular trips to both Recife, Brazil and New Jersey using them!