Zurich and Lake Lucerne

I ran into traffic.  It was Sunday evening and everyone was heading home from the mountains to escape the blistering heat in the valleys, where it was in the high 90s.  I was on my way to Janusz’s home in Anglikon, a small village 13 miles west of Zurich.  As luck would have it, I was stuck behind a line of 20 cars on a two-lane road with no passing lanes, only turnouts.  Unfortunately the car in front did not think that 20 cars stuck behind them warranted pulling over.  They were averaging 20 mph, which in the US would get you a ticket. In Switzerland you were lauded for it.  Over the course of 4 days of driving in Switzerland, I ended up with 3 camera tickets on the highway for going 5 km over the speed limit.  It was a painful lesson, but I finally learned to slow immediately to the marked speed.  Once crossing into Germany, though, I had to throw my hard earned lesson out the window, as Germans drive as fast as they are able on the autobahn.  Easily 130 mph.

I finally pulled into the driveway about 8:20pm, having slogged through 3 hours of traffic.   Janusz’s grandaughters Swami and Amalee, were busy helping him plant flowers in the front garden.  They were delightful and immediately handed me a potted marigold, saying “this is for you”.  I set it on the table and we ate dinner, then talked for a while before I turned in for the night.

I had suggested that we go on some hikes together, and the next morning Janusz and I set off for a trail from Haldigrat to Brisen peak located on the east side of Lake Lucerne.  The aerial tram plus chairlift set me back 40 Francs (about 42 USD).  That can get pricey.  Apparently UBS, a Swiss bank, offers a special discounted rate to its members.  I wondered whether I could get an account. The drive was an hour and a half and hurt my back. I still trauma from with the car accident in which I’d been a passenger in May 2013.  When it seems that someone is driving dangerously, I have a strong urge to grab the wheel. If I had done so that day in May 2013, perhaps I would have been spared a smashed ankle and multiple broken bones.

In any case, we took the tram, then walked to through a pretty village past a church which was featured in some pilgrimages, to a chair lift which we took to the top.  There, we began a very steep ascent toward Brizen peak.  Unfortunately, we didn’t start till 2:30pm, and the last chair was at 5pm, which limited our hiking time.  Janusz has slowed down a lot since we last hiked, in large part due to the immuno-suppressive drugs he has had to take to keep a relatively aggressive prostate cancer at bay.   So we didn’t make it far before he wanted to have lunch and then descend.  I was a bit disappointed as I’d hoped to get further up the mountain and see the views from the top, but didn’t express it.  I pulled a muscle on the way down, so it was just as well that we didn’t do an epic march that day. On the way back there had been an accident and we got stuck in a traffic jam that added an hour to our trip home.  Tired, we got back at 8pm, and ate something that Peter had prepared.  As I hadn’t slept much the night before, I turned in around 10:30pm.

The next day I decided to head to Bremgarten, whose medieval old town is listed as a heritage site of national significance.  The area was known before 1140 as Bremgarten, though the city wasn’t founded until almost a century later. It became an important market town with an outstanding Latin school. In 1415, Bremgarten became part of the Freie Ämter or free bailiwicks. They remained relatively independent and were allowed to keep their own legal district. When Bremgarten refused the offer to join the Confederation freely, it became involved in the 1443 Old Zürich War, in which it was besieged and captured. Heinrich Bullinger , an important Swiss reformer, was born there. The official religion of the city was changed in 1529 but Catholicism was reintroduced by force in 1531 after the Battle of Kappel. Bullinger was forced into exile to Zurich. In 1803, the city joined the canton of Aargau and later flourished during the Industrial Revolution. Because of the growth, the city wall was taken down, and it was connected to the Swiss railway system  in 1876.  In 1994, a bypass of the town was constructed, so that traffic to Zürich  no longer when over the old wooden bridge. The old part of the town is now closed to motorised traffic.

I walked aroud the old town, taking in such historical bulidings as the former Muri-Amthof, the Roman Catholic City Church, St. Klara Chapel, the St. Anna Chapel, Mother of God Chapel (Muttergottes), the Hexenturm, the Schlössli, the city walls, and the former Gasthaus (hotel-restaurant) at Dorfstrasse 9.  It’s a quaint town, though nonpaid parking as usual is almost impossible to find.  I had to pay for parking at the supermarket even though I was buying groceries.  I headed to Zürich at 3pm, arriving at 3:45 pm and looked for free parking.  I finally found some near Im Viadukt, an industrial part of town where a series of viaducts had been built in 1894 to replace train lines that had prevented expansion of the industrial part of town. Right after its construction, around 200 stonemasons conducted their trade, initially in under the stone archways and later in shed-like constructions, built where the Markthalle stands now. Next to the granite stonemason’s arch stood what was referred to by locals as the “banana headquarters”, a thriving business selling tropical fruit and roasted peanuts. Later an automobile mechanic also set up shop there.

I had borrowed a parking pass from Peter, giving me one hour free parking until 6pm, and after 6pm free parking till 9pm.  I fudged a bit and set my arrival time for 5pm rather than 4pm, hoping I wouldn’t get caught and would thus get a few extra hours.  I walked for about half an hour to the Zürich Bahnhof (train station), past the Landesmuseum Zürich, Switzerland’s most-visited national museum.  With over 850,000 exhibits, the Swiss National Museum has the largest collection documenting the cultural history of Switzerland and Swiss arts and crafts in the world. The Collections Gallery presents an overview of the collections, with twenty displays representing products of the highest quality. Unfortunately it was closed on Mondays, otherwise I would have spent the day there.

It was raining that day, so I dodged drops as I headed across the busy street in front of the train station toward the old town.  I walked up narrow winding streets toward a lovely chateau and formal garden.  There I asked someone about a public toilet and was directed next door to the University of Zürich, where I found clean toilets and a beautiful inner courtyard fashioned after classical Greece.  Here they had many replicas, including one of the marble sculpture of a Kouros (male youth) which is 5.5 meters high and the largest statue of Kouros in Greece. The original is housed in the Archaeological Museum in town of Samos on the island of Samos.  Apparently, archeologists from University of Zurich have been very active in Greek excavation, as the courtyard also exhibitied replicas of the Parthenon frieze, the high-relief pentelic marble sculpture created to adorn the upper part of the Parthenon’s naos.  They have a plethora of museums, but as it was Monday, they were all closed.

I left the behemoth structure and wandered back into the old town in search of affordable grub.  I finally came upon a market, and ducked in to buy some bread and a tart.  Sandwiches start at 13 Franc in most parts of the old town, and while I can afford it, it seems like a waste of money.  I’d rather pay big money for an aerial tram.  Upon exiting the market, I spied a fast food outdoor sandwich stall and heard a young man exclaim “oxi” which means no in Greek.  I said you must be Greek, at which he smiles and replied yes.  He and his friend, who had come to wish him well on his next great adventure (he was moving to England in a few weeks) had a 30 minute plus discussion on the causes of the Greek financial crisis.  I had just had a heated debate with Peter the night before, and was interested to find out how much Greeks believed that their own people were implicated in the crisis.  Kosta, the young man leaving for England, has a degree in land surveying from an excellent university in Athens, but Switzerland doesn’t recognize it for work purposes.  Apparently England does, and many of his friends who have fled Greece for economic reasons have been very happy in England, as they have been able to use their degrees.

I really enjoyed our conversation.  I was struck that I’ve had few good talks since leaving Greece at the end of July. As a Greek friend mused, perhaps you have some Greek blood in you.  I had told him about our trip to Greece in 1968, when I was baptised in the Monastery of Saint John the Theologian (also called Monastery of Saint John the Divine). The Greek Orthodox monastery in Chora on the island of Patmos was a founded in 1088 and has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage site.  I wished Kosta my best and headed back towards the car in the rain, hoping I hadn’t gotten a ticket.  I had lucked out, and was glad for my good luck as I headed back to Anglikon.  Unfortunately, perhaps to pay for my sin of ommission, I got, not one, but two camera tickets within minutes of eachother. Despressed, I headed to Janusz’s home, went for a short walk in the woods, and told Peter my bad luck.  He said they probably wouldn’t send the tickets to my home in the US, though we both wondered whether the Citroen car dealer would put the tickets on my credit card.  Peter tried to make a joke, saying it’s not a big deal.  At least they won’t shoot you (like in the US).  Right, I thought.  Nevertheless, I was haunted by the thought that I had just accrued 2 huge fines, just as I’d been trying to be careful about not buying a sandwich costing 13 Francs.  Oh well.  Sometimes life seems hard.

The next two days I spent working on my blog and going on some walks in the forest behind their home.  On Thursday I went with Janusz on a hike along a mountain ridge above Hoch Ybrig.  It was a cloudy day threatening rain, not the best if one wanted to see the splendid peaks of the Swiss Alps.  We drove to Hoch Ybrig and took an aerial tram to a chair lift, and from there to the ridge.  There we hiked along the ridge to a viewpoint where we had lunch.  The fog and clouds held off enough that we had some view, though we couldn’t see anything on the other side of the ridge that we were hiking.  From the top we hiked down a stream-side trail, where I took lots of alpine flower photos. We got a bit disoriented where it intersected a dirt road, and had to retrace our steps a few times, but finally made it down to the tram and the car. I asked to stop in Einsiedeln to see the Benedictine monastery dedicated to Our Lady of the Hermits and was wowed by the ornate stucco work and frescoes in the abbey church. It has been a major resting point on the Way of Saint James for centuries and was founded by Meinrad, a monk priest turned hermit who lived on the slopes of Etzel Mountain and was murdered by two thieves for a treasure they incorrectly assumed he was hiding.

Pilgramages continue since the days of St Meinrad and rival those to Rome, the Holy House of Loreto, and Santiago de Compostela, serving as a major stopping point on the Way of Sant James. Around one million pilgrims come annually from all parts of Catholic Europe and further. They come to worship Our Lady of the Hermits, represented by the wooden Black Madonna statue, dating from 1440, enthroned in the little chapel erected by Eberhard. This chapel stands within the great abbey church, in much the same way as the Holy House at Loreto, which has been encased in marble and elaborately decorated. I found it interesting that the statue was carved in the area of Ulm/Lake Constance, where a sacred spring flowed from beneath the hermit’s chapel. As early as 1318, there are writtem accounts of pilgrims drinking from the healing waters of St. Mary’s well”, which was purported to have medicinal properties.  This makes sense to me, as I saw wooden crutches and other prosthetics hanging near the front door of the church, references to the healings that had occurred as a result of pilgrammages to this site.  In 1749 the Well of Our Lady was transferred to the middle of the square in front of the church.  This is the spring near which St. Meinrad wished to build his hermitage in 835.

We sat in front of the Black Madonna for a few minutes and walked around the church admiring the over the top roccocco style stucco work and frescoes on the walls and ceilings.  Then we walked outside to explore the monastery courtyard.  Apparently the community currently numbers 60 monks, and attached to the abbey are a seminary and a college for about 360 pupils who are partially taught by the monks, who also provide spiritual direction for six convents of Religious Sisters. I wish I’d known that the ornate fountain in front of the church was an actual healing well moved from the original hermitage site.  I would have drunk the water and put some on my skin. Though I don’t believe in many religious cures, I have always felt that water is sacred and that certain springs have medicinal properties.  This is a pre-Christian belief that Greeks and Romans shared, as well as many other “pagan” peoples.  I want to know how they moved the spring in the 1700s (let alone how they would now).

We made our way home, arriving in the middle of chaos with kids running around and screaming (Joasia has been babysitting her daughter’s 3 year old, who is very vocal), and quickly ate dinner.  I went for a forest hike (I had lost my way the previous evening and thought I’d end up sleeping with the fox in a hollow), and then worked on my blog.  Janusz invited me to join him on a hike the next day to Stoos, a resort west of Lake Lucerne with a nice view from the top, but I declined, as I wanted to get caught up on my blog and hoped to do so the following day.  Plus I wanted to sleep in and don’t like the driving associated with getting to the mountains from here. So true to form, I slept in the next day and started in on my blog at 9:30am, working straight through till 8pm with only a 20 minute break.  Not great for the body but necessary to catch up.

The next day I decided to go to Bern, the capital.  I’d planned an early start but was thwarted by need for sleep and the desire to eat breakfast with Janusz’s family.  As I wasn’t sure when I’d next make it to Switzerland, I wanted to spend as much time with them as possible.  I left about 11am and headed for the Paul Klee Zentrum just outside of Bern’s old town.  The wavy line pattern of the museum’s rooves can be spotted from a long distance away.  I got an audio guide, which I have found indispensible for understanding galleries and museums in other countries.  Paul Klee was initially a draftsman and only after his trip to Tunisia with several artists and lacked confidence in his use of color and the medium of oil.  He often painted on cardboard and experimented endlessly with swatches of color using watercolor in new ways.  He made his own tools and used scratching, painting on glass, and other techniques in unconventinal ways.  He found that rather than treating the black line as the subject, he could treat the white background as subject instead. Throughout his life he continued to experiment with mediums, methods of application, and tools.  I especially appreciated excerpts of letters he’d written to his wife about his artistic process.  He reminded me of Van Gogh in his ceaseless experimentation with color and formats.

I had to rush to get to the Swiss parliament in the old town for the hour-long tour.  I contacted them the day before about the English tour, which is only once a week, and got the disappointing news the next morning that it was full and would I like to join the Italian or French tour.  I speak both languages, but don’t necessarily know the technical terms to describe how a government operates.  So I signed up for the Italian tour because it was at 1:30 and gave me time to see a bit of Klee first.  It was complicated to find parking close to the parliament, and as elsewhere in Switzerland, you have to pay to park.  Everywhere, all the time.

As I didn’t want to pay, I had to park a mile away and run.  I got to the parliament building out of breath at 1:35pm, and was told it was too late for the Italian tour.  Crestfallen, I asked about options.  They suggested waiting for possible no shows for the 2pm English tour, which had slots for 40 people.  So I waited as patiently as possible, trying not to breath down the receptionist’s neck.  A young man from China was also waiting, and he told me about studying improvisational theater in Paris and French in Geneva. He passed himself off as an actor, but his FB page says he is a UN journalist and that he had simply taken an improv intensive in Paris.  Reminds me of resume fudging, which apparently is a frequent phenomenon in Silicon Valley (my home).

We both lucked out, as a woman came at the last minute and said she couldn’t use her 2 tickets.  But I wasn’t in yet.  The next hurdle was convincing security that a student ID was adequate identification.  Apparently they only accept passports.  Typical Swiss correctness.  I pleaded with the guard, giving him 2 credit cards and a photocopy of my passport, which he definitively handed back to me.  Luck was on my side, though, and reluctantly he put my card in the slot and gave me a badge.  I then had to pass through the security checkpoint, backpack on the conveyer belt and walk through the machine.  Finally in, I retrieved my bag and waited for the tour to begin.

It was an hour and very interesting.  The woman told us a bit about the beginnings of the canton system and the modifications to the constitution since its incipience.   I learned more about Switzerland’s history the next day at the Landes museum in Zurich.  We went into the senate hall as well as that of the national assembly, both beautifully ornamented with frescos depicting important historical events.  She gave us an overview of the way Swiss government works, and then asked for questions.  I asked about the initiative process whereby citizens, after collecting 100,000 signatures, can put something on the ballot to be discussed by the national assembly, and then optionally to have a referendum of the people.  It reminded me of a similar process in California and several other states in the US.  She then took us to the lobby just outside the assembly room where lobbyists and other non politicians were allowed to gather, and desribed the allegories depicted in the ornate ceiling paintings all along the hallway.  Beautiful gilding and colors.  Later, reading a sign outside the building, I found out that the land now occupied by the parliament building had been part of the Jewish quarter of Bern.  Valuable real estate in which Switzerland, like so many other countries, benefited from pogroms carried out against the Jewish people, as well as against the Travelers, or gypsies.

The Swiss were not innocent in this regard. In the Middle Ages, as in many places in Europe, they frequently suffered persecution, for example in 1294 in Bern, when many Jews of the city were executed and the survivors expelled under the pretext of the murder of a Christian boy. Another pogrom occurred among other cities in Zürich in 1249, and Jews were banished from Swiss towns in the 1620s, and from 1776, they were allowed to reside exclusively in two villages, Lengnau and Oberendingen in the canton of Aargau. At the close of the 18th century, the 553 Jews in these villages represented almost the entire Jewish population in Switzerland. After 1776, they were further restricted to living in only Endingen and Lengnau. This immigration slowly but steadily changed the appearance of the communities. Jewish resident were only allowed to enter a few professions, such as trade. Houses were built with two separate entrances, one for Jews and one for Christians. They were under the high and low courts of the Baden bailiff and had to buy “protection and safety” letters from the authorities. 

In 1798, the French under Napolean I invaded Switzerland and set up the Helvetic Republic. The Republic attempted to modernize and centralize the Old Swiss Confederation. As part of this new, liberal state, Swiss reformers attempted to enforce the emancipation of the Jews in the new central Swiss Parliament. When that failed, they attempted to get the French to force this change on the new Swiss government. The changes of the Republic were not embraced by many of the Swiss and the issue of emancipation for the Jews became another contentious issue between the old order and the new government. Finally in 1802 the population revolted and turned against the Jews. The mob looted the Jewish villages of Endingen and Lengnau in the so-called Zwetschgenkrieg (“Plum war”). At the same time other revolts, such as the Stecklikrieg , stretched the French Army too far. Napoleon lacked the troops to bring peace to Switzerland, and also he needed the Swiss regiments for his campaigns. Seeking a peaceful resolution to the uprising, in 1803 he issued the The Act of Mediation, a compromise between the Old Confederation and a Republic. One of the compromises in the Act was that no further rights were granted to the Jews.

I wandered around the old town, admiring the myriad fountains and the Zytglogge, a medieval tower built in the early 13th century which has served as a guard tower, prison, clock tower, and civic memorial. An astronomical clock was added in the 15th-century, and it is a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site. Four minutes before the hour, a fool shakes a sceptor and a king tips an hourglass. On the hour a statue in the clocktower appears to hit the bell with a mallet.  Good fun, as I like clocks and puppets of all kinds. I like Bern.  It has a small town feel, people are friendly, and the old town is beautifully-preserved.  As I crossed the bridge into and out of the old town, I saw people tied to buoys being pulled rapidly by the current downstream. There are protective nets strung below both bridges, I assume to keep people from jumping to their death in the river below.  I wonder – perhaps an indication of the dark side of Swiss correctness.

The alpine glow was spectacular, though a few days of very hot weather had created a fair bit of smog, and the profile of the high peaks in the distance were blurred by unsightly pollution.  Nevertheless, it was a pretty thing to see and many others stood or sat on the railing above the river taking in the view.  At dark I made my way back to Anglikon, careful to adere to the posted speed after getting at least one and possibly two additional speed camera tickets on my way there that day.

Next day I headed to Landesmuseum Zürich, one of the best history museums and collections I’ve ever seen, rivalled by the Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien which I attended a month earlier.  I had seen the permanent collection at Landesmuseum Zürich once before, and wanted to see it again. I didn’t realize till I arrived that there was a wonderful exposition titled “Europe in the Renaissance: Metamorphoses 1400 – 1600”. The exhibition showed the Renaissance as a dynamic, pan-European phenomenon resulting from great cultural exchange not only within Europe but with Asia (Turkey) and ancient Greece and Rome via literature and excavated art and architecture. The exhibit presented artwork, documents, instruments, and obects from daily life showing the important advances that came about during that time, includig the invention of the printing press using movable letters, the discovery of a continent previously unknown in Europe, the formulation of a new view of the earth and its place in the universe, medical breakthroughs, and perspective, realism, and symmetry in painting, architecture, and sculpture. All of this would have been unimaginable without a broad and dynamic exchange at many levels, a dialogue that extended over great distances and time.

I spent 3 hours in the Renaissance exhibit, and had only 1 1/2 hours left for the permanent collection, which I’d seen once before the last time I visited. I used the audio guide to direct my focus.  My brain and imagination saturated, I left the museum, barely noticing that it had started to rain.  After about half an hour of walking in the old town along the banks of the outlet from Lake Zurich, I became physically saturated as well. I walked along the banks of the east side of the lake where drummers often hang out on weekends, and saw a small group huddled under a tree. There are some picturesque large stepping stones and a Japanese garden of sorts along the banks, including weeping willows and other plants native to Japan.  I enjoyed the chateaus on the water’s edge and only turned around when it was getting quite dark and I was soaked to the bone.  I returned to the car, praying that I hadn’t gotten a ticket for overstaying my time in the blue zone, a timed zone which usually only permits one hour of free parking.  I was in luck, perhaps getting a reprieve from the gods after getting four camera tickets in a week here.  I wondered whether I was on Interpole’s radar and would be stopped at the border.  Who knows.  I wouldn’t be surprised if the authorities here came after me.

I drove home and once there had fun watching Amalee and Swami, Peter’s daughters, impatiently extract the dinosaur/reptile from its egg, purchased at the nature park they had visited the day before.  Never a dull moment with kids.  I had a nice chat with Janusz about the Committee for the Defence of Democracy (Komitet Obrony Demokracji, KOD), a Polish civic organization founded in November 2015 triggered by the Polish constitutional crisis in 2015.  The movement is independent of all political parties, though has close ties to the liberal opposition and Civic Platform (PO) parties and is opposed to the government led by the Law and Justice (PiS) party.  Janusz’s cousin had hosted a KOD meeting just before his visit to Poland this summer. The current political sitatuation in Poland since 2015, overriding of constitutional decisions, has the makings of a coup according to Lech Wałęsa, former President of Poland and leader of the Solidarity movement in the 1980s.

Next day I slept in (I’ve been really tired as of late) and then began working on my blog, hoping to finish the section on my travel in northern Greece from earlier this summer.   I didn’t finish but logged a few more days, then went on a nice hike in the forest behind my dad’s cousin’s house.  Anglikon is still a pretty town, though there’s been a lot of building since I last visited 7 or 8 years ago.  Three new houses have gone up in front of Janusz’ house, and they’re building a fourth as we speak.  Every morning at 8:30am a crane started moving things to and fro, and lots of crunching and grinding were heard.  It was tough to sleep through, and they said it’s been ongoing for a few years now.

Janusz recommended that I head to Schaffhausen, die Rheinfallen (a large waterfall of sorts on the Rhine), and Stein am Rhein the next day.  I planned to visit at least one schloss on the way. They have 3 castles within 5 miles of their house.  Imagine living in a place like that!  So the next day, after getting up late because I didn’t sleep well for worry, I took a shower, attempted to untangle my dreadlocks. I had to put layers of conditioner on two areas and ended up pulling huge globs of hair out.  It’s a wonder I have any left.

I had a chance to talk to Peter before I left.  I really like him.  We’re kindred spirits in many ways, with similar view about the world, the system, politics, capitalism, etc.  I’m sure we have differences, but I really appreciated his kindness over the week I was here.  He showed me how to wash my clothes, fixed the coffee machine when it stopped working, helped me find a patch for my pants, fixed my zipper which had caught in my pocket.  The list goes on.  I told him he reminds me of Gromet in the claymation videos about Wallace and Gromet.  He does everything and gets little thanks.

I finally left the house at 1pm.  I’ll miss Janusz, Joasia, and Peter.  Hopefully they’ll take a caravan to tour national parks the US next summer or the summer after.  Maybe I could join them or go separately in my car.  In any case, I miss them already.  I drove to Schloss Weldigg since Peter recommended it as really nice.  He and the girls usually walk in the gardens and look at the outside of the castle.  There’s chickens, an aviary with exotic birds, a rose garden with topiaries, all open to the public for free.  I wanted to see the inside of the castle, though, so I paid my 14 Francs and took a self=guided tour.  It’s really well organised, and there are 30 rooms to see.

It’s apparently the only castle in Switzerland that has its original furnishings, including 3,000 books in the library, the pool table which the Lord of the house paid 130 gilders for (equivalent to an annual salary) in t738, and there was embroidery that had been done in the 1700s, etc.  Really exquisite presentation.  I’d give it 5 out of 5 stars.  I spent 2 hours perusing the place.  The kitchen garden is amazing.  They have kept it up to impeccable standards, and I found my favourite aromatic plant Tagetes there, as well as chocolate mint, rose geranium, and an assortment of exotic vegetables, planar fruit trees (the best pears I’ve seen in years), pomegranates, etc.  How they maintain them during the winter is a mystery to me.  With the prodigious growth I saw, I can’t imagine they start every year in June.  But they might.

Then I drove to Schloss Lenzburg where I walked up to the castle and took a look around the inner courtyard from the entrance.  I didn’t feel like paying another 5 Francs just to look around the external buildings, so I decided to save it for another time.  I’d also like to see the Roman legion camp near Schloss Wildech but am not sure where it is.  They’ve done a lot of archaeology to uncover the site and learn more about the lives of the Roman soldiers 2000 years ago.  It was a very important site outside of Rome and was quite strategic as it was located at the confluence of 2 major rivers.

I drove on to the Rheinfall and was not disappointed.  It is quite impressive, with the falls crashing down all around.  hough not a fall of great height, it is a long plummeting cascade of 700 feet or so. I felt a bit sheepish having paid 5 Francs when I saw other people sneaking in.  I have found that Swiss sites tend to be very well kept and deluxe probably the reason for higher costs.  For example, the same waterfall in France would have been free.  But there would not have been a fancy elevator going down to the falls.  As it was I took it down but ended up walking back up to the top.  It’s interesting though how one can find the same item in most any other country for a significantly lower price.  I’m not sure why Switzerland charges up to 4 times more for products, including food.  People have to make a much higher salary here than elsewhere just to break even.

I took the last of my photos on the iPhone.  At 128 gig the phone is completely full.  I have to delete more photos, and currently have 85 gig of photos.  Peter suggested that I upload my entire photo library to iCloud, which I had thought to do but hadn’t yet.  It’s a little late, as I decided to do it just as I left the house and a week of available wifi.  Now I’ll be camping and have to use wifi catch as catch can.  Best laid plans.  After spending about an hour at the falls, having taken 1 1/2 hours to go 29 miles (it was rush hour), I drove the few miles to Schaffhausen. I’m glad I stopped there as it has a very pretty old town, with picturesque window boxes built out onto the narrow streets, and the date of building over them – mostly 1600s.  I walked along the Rhine, as it’s built right on the river, and walked for about an hour as the light faded.  At 8pm, which felt like 9pm (I think the clocks changed without me knowing it), I headed up the Rhine toward Konstanz and Stein am Rhein, a pretty town that Janusz had suggested.


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