The Rheinfall & Trülikon woodsOctober 27, 2019 in Switzerland ⋅ ⛅ 15 °C
Martha is tucked away at the side of a forest track, drips from the denuded tree branches tap tapping on her roof and pitter pattering on the wet carpet of yellow, orange and brown leaves. If things go to plan, this is as far north as we'll be between now and April!
Today we completed the last leg of our journey to Schaffhausen, northern Switzerland, where we visited the most powerful waterfall in Europe; the Rhine Falls. Although the water only drops 23m, the channel is 150m wide and the volume of water is impressive, even at this time of year!
Pulling up in a dedicated motorhome bay within the closest of many large car parks, we approached Schloss Laufen; the castle overlooking this famous cataract. Being a sunny Sunday, places were filling up fast. Registration plates showed vehicles from Austria and Germany as well as Switzerland, but we heard families speaking Italian and American English too. There was a 5Sfr entry fee to footpaths and viewing platforms on the south side, but we chose to cross the arched rail bridge to the north bank and follow the current downstream on the outside of the river meander.
From here we caught our first sight of the Rheinfallfelsen (Rhine Falls Rock), a remnant of the original limestone cliff, standing firm in the middle of the channel. The falls are fed by Lake Constance so despite its huge power, the water doesn't contain much erosive debris. To our fascination, tourist boats were powering up to a docking platform and passengers scaling steps to a viewing podium on top of the rock!
Following the busy path we stopped for photos at a hub of cafés and stands selling gelato, crêpes and heisse maroni (hot chestnuts). From here we watched the long, brightly coloured tour boats being thrown from side to side by the white water; we wonder if they have ever capsized? The limestone rocks were a brilliant feature, with the rapids gushing around them, projecting a powerful cloud of spray in the lee.
Temperatures had risen to above 20°C so it was hot work on the way back up the series of steps and slopes but we were very glad we'd visited this fantastic site.
The plan had been to stay in the nearby town of Schaffhausen. According to the Lonely Planet it was a really pretty settlement, but we didn't get that impression as we drove through its streets. As sometimes happens, our intended overnight spot had been taken over by a large marquee. The herbstmesse (Autumn Fair) was in full swing and the roads lined with cars. After the crowds at the Rheinfall we didn't fancy hanging around, so escaped to a far quieter countryside car park not too many kilometres away. There was a 15 hour restriction so we couldn't stay overnight, but Will took a walk to Husemer Lake a mile away for a refreshing swim, before we drove on to our woodland parkup.
After a day exploring the falls we should have slept well, but the hot weather had spawned a resurgence of mosquitos which managed somehow to find their way inside.
With a Brexit extension looking likely, we are hoping to travel south from now, taking in some more sights in Eastern Switzerland, before journeying through Italy and hopping on the ferry to Greece for the winter. Let's hope we can make it!Read more