Travel slowly, staying in vacation rentals (villas, farms, cottages, apartments)
Report 1988: Yes, Zig Has Written About our Bavaria Trip!
By Zig and Georgia from Kentucky, Spring 2010
Page 3 of 30: Sunday May 16 - Neuhausen, Schaffhausen, Beringen, and the Falls of the Rhine
Our favorite meal, at the Falls!
Ten o’clock on the dot Yvonne was out front on the little parking pad. We were going to meet Dejan, Melina, and Lorena in Neuhausen at a little “train station” where we were going to catch a kiddie train down the hillside to the edge of the Rhine Falls. We were going to see the falls, up close and personal, riding a tour boat out to a 70-80 foot pedestal right in the middle of the cataract. Then we were going to disembark on the other side of the river below a castle built in 1456 and climb up a nature trail along the cliff then back down in a 2k circuit to the river’s edge to have lunch at a very swanky restaurant with a perfect view of everything. Then we were going to have a walking tour of Schaffhausen, their county seat, then have supper at their house in Beringen — was there anything else we’d like to do? I couldn’t think of a thing. In the immortal words of Meg Ryan in “Joe vs. the Volcano,” “My mind is a blank.”
And it all did happen just as she said. The train ride was fun; six or seven little cars pulled by a diesel tractor dressed up like a locomotive, complete with bell. Melina is all grown up now at five or six and sparkling; Lorena was absolutely fascinated at the strange sounds coming out of our mouths. Dejan’s and Yvonne’s English is now excellent. I am so jealous when someone can switch so easily from one language to another.
The boat ride was fun, and not too wet. The pedestal in the center of the falls is a natural wonder protected with some underwater concrete baffles to keep it from being knocked over. There is a lot of water going by and Dejan said that the current flow is only “average.” The falls are about 60 feet tall but more than 400 feet wide. It’s the largest (but not the tallest) waterfall in Switzerland.
The castle was built here because the falls formed a natural barrier for all river traffic. You would have to disembark and port any cargo. The castle meant you were going to have to pay tribute. The town of Neuhausen grew up like an inland seaport — much like Louisville on the falls of the Ohio. Brown-water sailors get thirsty and lonely too. From the castle we walked across the Rhine on a railroad trestle. Wouldn’t you know it? Just as we reached the center a train came barreling over the river.
EEEEEWWWhooooooshhhhe! What a blast! Yvonne said she missed the great clattering trains she knew as a child. There’s nostalgia everywhere. We sauntered along the path on the other side chatting and letting the fast walkers play through. Melina let me carry her on my shoulders. Lorena was, of course, completely smitten by Georgia.
But the lunch. The restaurant was called Schlossli Worth, and it was right on the river with a perfect view of the falls and our table was right at the window where we could see the boats ferrying people back and forth. Really people. I have eaten lunch in many nice places — in many nice cities, in many nice countries, but I have never had a meal to equal this one. I’m not kidding. This was the best restaurant meal I’ve ever had. Yvonne and Dejan’s know the managers and said they always use this restaurant for their special meals. One of the special things was that when the children get antsy there is a supervised playroom for them upstairs.
We had a salad of mixed vegetables and mozzarella cheese with tomato salsa and thin crispy focaccia. The main course was “Rindsfilet” (beef) cooked to perfection and served with Spatzel and asparagus. There was both green and white asparagus. Oh my goodness. I loved it so much they brought me another plate of the white! The dessert was a banana parfait with fresh exotic fruit. There was the wine with the meal of course, with coffee and liquor afterwards. I had to have limoncello. Mmm. I didn’t see the bill, but I know it was a lot. But whatever it was I have to say that it was worth it.
We rode the kiddie train back to the parking lot where the cars were located then spent the afternoon in Schaffhausen where Yvonne grew up. I waddled around the town and up and down the mountains. Everywhere I looked was another perfect post-card shot. Is it any wonder that we came home with 2000 photos? The castle at the top of the mountain was surrounded by a small vineyard and we bought a bottle of the local wine and dodged rain showers. Back at their apartment Dejan prepared a salad and a cheese and tomato fondue for supper. Haven’t had a fondue since 1973! It was delicious served over boiled potatoes and the bread we dipped was crusty and amazing!
It is very expensive to live in Switzerland. We told them that our house is not near as nice and modern as theirs but it is larger and we have about 1/4 acre. They have a garden plot with the other people in the community but I know they’d like to have their own yard. They could buy our house two or three times. Switzerland is a small country and land is really precious. I can’t imagine them polluting any of their available real estate. Sometimes I think we may be a little spoiled with the idea that if we mess up this piece of land we can just move somewhere else.
We brought the children some little stuffed horses (what else?) from Keeneland. They enjoyed them and Yvonne has told us that Melina won’t go to sleep without her little “Lisa.” They’ve had evenings of turning the living room upside down looking for it! Dejan and Yvonne are strict with the children but they are loving and secure and well-adjusted. I’m very impressed with them all, and very thankful that a moment’s kindness on a Greek Island’s footpath started what promises to be a life-long friendship. I can’t wait for them to come to Lexington so we can show them around!
We took the train back to Zurich and it took less than half the time it took to drive. That’s the way to do mass transit!
Impressions of Zurich: As I said, it’s now my favorite city to be a “stranger” in. There is a lot of graffiti along the train tracks but the city is much cleaner than Rome or Milan. It really doesn’t feel like a big city. It has a population of about 1 million I think. The entire country only has 6 millions — not that many more than the state of Kentucky. The people are reserved, but friendly and “good.” I can feel how this is my heritage through the Koenigs. The roads and cities are laid out with intelligence but less passion than Italy. But that means there is also less chaos. The young always welcome novelty but not us old farts. We begin to value stability above all and distrust novelty — change is just as likely to be bad as be good. The tram system (with the trains and buses) has two purposes — to move large numbers of people smoothly and without fuss, and also reduce the number of automobiles on the streets. At least half the street surface is taken up with tram tracks. The traffic signs are unintelligible with some black signs having three white dots in various configurations. Who knows what that means.
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