Medieval beauty and Forces of nature | Schaffhausen and the Rhine Falls

Schaffhausen Travel Blog

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Last weekend, we had – once again – a long weekend. This time in honor of “Pfingsten” (Pentecost). Obviously, long weekends are not meant to stay at home, and I felt it was time to leave Chur again for a short time, so at the last minute, Linda and me decided to go somewhere. Or rather, we had decided some time before to take a trip, but the ‘somewhere’ remained a mystery until about the night before we left.
We decided on Schaffhausen. This may not ring a bell to many of you. It didn’t to me either. Well … It is mostly known for its vicinity to the Rhine Falls in Neuhausen-am-Rheinfall, which is Europe’s biggest waterfall. Aha, now we may be getting somewhere.

Schaffhausen itself is a medieval city in the north of Switzerland. It has an impressive Altstadt (Old City), which is littered with original Renaissance facades and which seemed – to us – much more lively than the Altstadt of Chur. It was really a pleasure to just walk around the cobblestoned streets, enjoy the sun, marvel at the several facades, go to the waterfront. We even marveled at the beauty of the Rhine, as if we had never seen it before – when 2 seconds later we realized that the Rhine runs in our very own city of Chur. Whoops! It needs to be said though that the waterfront of the Rhine in Chur is not nearly as developed as the one in Schaffhausen, which really is a pity – you could do so much there …
There are 2 things though that I can’t fail to mention because we wondered about it when people-watching:
1) there are so many punk-rock-styled people in Schaffhausen! I have never seen a more beautiful collection of green, red, pink and blue hair, of army pants and heavy boots, of cockscombs and chains (even connecting two people). How very interesting!
2) – and this one baffles me – we saw heaps, but heaps!, of people wearing the same clothes or even outfit. I don’t mean this as in “At one side of the street some girl accidentally wears the same t-shirt as another one on the other side of the street”, no. I mean this as in 2 or more friends, may they be a couple or not, actually wearing the same t-shirt, pants, shoes, hats, bags, or even the whole shebang together. Am I really the only one who finds this strange?

Anyway, back to the point. After a very nice first impression and a drink, Saturday night was a very early one since I started to feel very ill and my head was about to explode.
We slept for a decent 11 hours – or at least something close to that – and were fit and fresh the next day to walk to Neuhausen-Am-Rhein – to see those very famous waterfalls that everyone boasted about in the city. The walk is a very pleasant one, a mere 3 kilometers, obviously completely along the Rhine. The weather was delicious and we both had our cameras in hand – it felt so good to get the old Nikon out again!
After a while the current got stronger and stronger and soon a deep, thundering sound announced the waterfalls.

We managed to find a way between all the people and there they were: 150m wide, 23m deep, with a volume of 600m3 per second of water in summer. Quite impressive! Although I have to say, the sound of the water was still most amazing to me.
We enjoyed the scenery for a long time and then had another walk along the lower part of the Rhine, to return to the falls and then return to Schaffhausen. There we visited Schloss Munot, which is the old, impressive fortress of the city and from which you get delicious views over the city and the area.

On Monday we slowly wended our ways back to Chur, but not before stopping in Stein-Am-Rhein, another of Switzerland’s medieval cities, some 15 kilometers north of Schaffhausen. The city centre is very small but entirely pedestrianized, and – like Schaffhausen – boasts a lot of nice frescoed facades, small cobblestoned streets and alleyways, and hidden gardens. A lot of people visit this village as a day trip by bike from Schaffhausen. And why wouldn’t you? The track along the Rhine must be beautiful, and when the weather is nice, what do you want more?

So, fresher than when we left, fit, relaxed and completely sunburned, we arrived back in Chur. On to the next long weekend, I’d say, which is 7th of June – but that will be another story.

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photo by: portia