Switzerland was my granny’s favourite country. For some reason, it just appealed to her and I wish she was still alive for me to ask. But alas, I did what was second best by travelling to Switzerland to visit close friends. It was on the 7th day of our European holiday that my friend Lea took us to the little town of Stein-am-Rhein about 30 minutes away from Zurich. On this rainy day, we borrowed her grandpa’s car (Thanks Okko!) and drove to the river town.
We’ve all heard about the river Rhein and, if I remember correctly, I learnt it was the longest river in Europe. Considering I grew up along the Orange River, it was lovely to see another big river but in another location. We parked RIGHT on the banks of the river, which felt like a dream, because the river was so wide, strong and powerful yet there were no barriers!
South Africans in Stein Am Rhein
We made our way into the village square via cobbles roads, passing beautiful fairytale type Swiss buildings. It was a beautiful square surrounded by dozens of pretty Swiss balconies and painted buildings apparently what the town is known for.
Just off the square was a little shop with Swiss chocolates in it, it wasn’t hard to get excited about it!
Munot in Schaffhausen
After our stroll around Stein-am-Rhein we continued our journey to Schaffhausen, where my friend’s family comes from. We walked up the little road and then went to visit a fort where she recently got married and had photographs taken. A Swiss wedding in a castle! How romantic!
The Munot fort no longer has water in its mote, but is now home to deer! The Bambi kind! I loved seeing Disney deer in real life! Unfortunately the rain led them to take shelter, so they were all sleeping under the trees. It was wonderful to visit such a large and old building – built around 1050! The thick walls kept it surprisingly warm. I had expected it to be freezing on the inside, but it wasn’t at all. I really like the big ligh tunnels filling the dark dungeon like halls with light – even on a rainy day.
Once we got to the top we managed to see all across Schaffhausen with it’s pointy peaks and square buildings.
After the village we jumped back into the car and drove across a really, old wooden bridge – into Germany! There’s a part where you cross over from Switzerland and then you’re in Germany. Once you’re over the river you have to drive back over at another part to get to where you’re trying to go. Random, no borders!
After we popped by Germany 😉 we went for lunch where I had a German special (think I’m keeping on the theme) which was a trio of pork with sauerkraut. I enjoyed it although eisbein is still my favourite. My friend ordered a salad which brought us much amusement because they put all the toppings in little piles on the plate! They don’t put the toppings mixed in the salad. Also, restaurants don’t ever give you anything green with your mains: no peas, spinach, broccoli, nothing!
Snacking at a Cheese Shop
After lunch we decided to do some cheese tasting, which was very tasty! They have SOOOOO many kinds of cheeses and they are all incredible! Truly, really delicious (and I don’t like stinky cheese, there really is so much to be had).
Kloster Allerheiligen, Schaffhausen
Schaffhausen is the 1 of 27 provinces (cantons) with the bull with the golden balls as it’s mascot. I can’t quite remember the story (and Wikipedia won’t tell me), but the ram used to be gold until it annoyed a saint who took all the gold away as punishment – except for the balls. Or something along those lines! I believe we saw the bull on the way to Kloster Allerheiligen (All Saints monastery), which was lovely to visit.
After our afternoon’s activities we went to my friend’s parent’s house for a lovely evening of wood fired pizza and wine in their home. It was great to visit Swiss people as often one doesn’t get the chance to “hang with the locals” when you’re on holiday, because you don’t know any! So it was a beautiful evening of very tasty food and laughs. Thanks to Lea for being such a great tourist guide 🙂
Random Swiss Thing: Swissrolls
..it ain’t a thing. They’re not from Switzerland, no one eats them there (like we’d assume they would), it’s not a thing.
BEST thing in Switzerland – pretzel rolls & cheese for breakfast. YUM!