M Friedrichshafen & Salt Lake City
by Chris Townsend
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Every July the international outdoor trade gathers in the little town of Friedrichshafen (pop. 58,000) in southern Germany on the shores of beautiful Lake Constance. Across the lake lies the edge of the Swiss Alps, shadowy rocky peaks rising steeply through the summer haze. The Messe exhibition halls are on the edge of the town close to the Zeppelin museum, Friedrichshafen being the place where these airships were first built. It's not unusual to look up to see a Zeppelin floating above the museum.
Friedrichshafen is set in lovely rolling countryside with many woods, a far cry from downtown Salt Lake City and the Outdoor Retailer show. For the last two years, I've camped at Friedrichshafen in a tipi village provided by Merrell Footwear. The tipis are pitched in a meadow in quiet woods just ten minutes walk from the exhibition halls. It's ironic that at the big U.S. outdoor trade show, I stay in a city in a hotel, but that at the big European one, I camp in a Native American tipi.
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