Hi readers! You thought I forgot about this, didn't you? No, I've just been lazy. So let's back up, shall we?
When we last left our heroine, me, I had just tucked in for the night down on the farm near Stein am Rhein. So I slept in the dorm, not the straw, but it was still pretty darn cold - there was no heat in there. I slept in my long johns under an old Swiss military blanket and felt warm and snuggly...till I had to get out of bed the next morning!
I went down for breakfast and spoke for a few minutes with Doris, Heinz's wife. She was super nice and making us breakfast of fresh bread, cheese, meat, yogurt and fruit. The coffee was AWESOME (Doris did not make the coffee though - I think that was Nespresso). Being a farm, there were bugs buzzing around inside, which I was NOT a fan of. At one point, a bee buzzed over my head and landed on one of the ceiling beams. Doris reached up with a kleenex and smushed it. "Wow, you're brave!" I exclaimed. "Oh, that was a male one...they don't sting, and they are very stupid and slow," she explained. Naturally!!
As I sat down to eat, my bunkmates appeared. It was a middle aged German woman with short grey hair, and her daughter, who seemed about 14. I found out shortly that the woman, Dorothea, spoke english, so we were able to chat over breakfast. We talked a bit about how I got here, why was I traveling alone, etc. I was also curious to speak with her about German vs Swiss German. I didn't realize this at first here, but Swiss German (or Schwyzertuutsch, which sounds like "Schweizer Deutsch") is purely a spoken language and completely incomprehensible to "regular" Germans. Most newspapers etc are written in high German, which is the same, but when it comes to speaking, Swiss German is basically a totally different language which is not written down. I was always glad that I was in the French speaking part!
Anyway, as we finished up breakfast, Dorothea and Lea offered to drive me into town. This was HUGELY appreciated because otherwise I would have had to wait for the random bus by the woodcutter's house, which I'm pretty sure came only once per hour.
We packed up to go and I went in to say goodbye to Doris and Heinz. Inside, their 4 kids were running around - all little blond haired ones, 3 of them holding baby kittens and playing gently with them. It was really one of the sweetest scenes I have ever seen (try that 5 times fast). They were such a nice family. There is a link to their farm here which is in German, but you get the idea. And this page is the family one - so cute!
Stein am Rhein was just a short drive away. When we arrived there, I told Dorothea and Lea that I was going to walk through town...kind of giving them an "out" in case they wanted to ditch this random American. "mmhmm," Dorothea hummed, and discussed with her daughter in German for a moment. "We will walk with you, we have all afternoon and are not in a hurry," she announced. We wandered to the town square, and she pointed out many of the buildings and the history. "Oh there's a museum I want to show you!" So we walked through a small museum and again got a history lesson. "Oh this is a famous shop!" I walked around with them for about an hour or so, enjoying the cute little town, and then we parted ways with warm handshakes and a "Tchuss!"
This is a picture of the town square. I have seen things like this before, but only at like, Epcot. Switzerland continues to surprise me.
You can see more pictures by following this link.
For me, it was back on the train, now to Schaffhausen to get to the Rhinefalls. The ride was not long, and I was soon walking down a hill towards the sound of rushing water. I won't discuss the falls too much because the pictures say it, but it was pretty impressive.
While my day started off cloudy, it cleared up quickly, so I spend a long time lingering by the falls and enjoying the beautiful colors and scenery. The Swiss being Swiss and clever like they are, had built a number of different viewing platforms in order for you to be able to experience the water from afar, below you, right next to you, etc. It was really cool.
The most amazing thing was there was a huge rock in the middle of the falls where a tiny viewing platform had been built. To get there, you had to take a small boat into the falls and hop out. Of course like any sucker, I paid the 6 CHF and got on the boat. It was well worth it. The view of the falls from on the water was gorgeous, and as we crossed the Rhine, the green water beneath the boat was bubbling excitedly, giving the impression that we were cruising through the inside of a san pellegrino bottle. From the top of the rock, the water crashed down on either side of you while you stood under a brave Swiss flag. Very cool!
After I had enough fun in the water, I stopped for a beer and to send a postcard to Justin, before heading to catch the train to Winterthur, Zurich, and eventually back to Geneva.
You can see more pictures by following this link.