Schaffhausen

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It might seem that all we do here is play. It seems as if we have done quite a variety of things this past week, this first week in Zürich, and we have. While planning our journey, we realized that we hadn’t taken a real summer vacation and vowed that we would have a stay-cation in our new home. First off, we wanted to get to know our way around, geographically, find grocery stores and learn how to use the public transportation. But we also want to be tourists, too.

Now we have to settle in to our routine lives. Today H goes into the lab where he is ready to start figuring out what the year will bring to him. I will start working on what my routine will be. I have already created a little list for myself which includes the mundane (grocery shop and cook, laundry) as well as the creative (what might I want to compose? what are my specific goals for making music?).

Our one last day of stay-cation yesterday involved buying a 9 o’clock day pass and heading north to the Rhein Falls and Schaffhausen. A 9 o’clock pass means that you can ride any train (or boat or tram) within all zones that the ZVV (Zürich Transport Network) covers (all of the Zürich canton and a little of some neighboring cantons) for about $12.75 all day long. On Monday-Friday you must start your travel no earlier than 9:00, but on the weekends and holidays, you can start any time in the morning.

My parents will be visiting us in October, and we had thought that a day trip to Schaffhausen and the Rhein Falls (the biggest waterfalls in Europe, I hear) might be good bet, so we thought we should preview it (like any good tour guide). While we had fun today, I don’t think it will be the right adventure in October.

First of all, the Rhein Falls are not what anyone would call overly exciting. If you’ve been to Niagara Falls, you would not consider these ones large by any stretch of the imagination. It’s pretty touristy like Niagara (although the Visitor Center in a castle is pretty cool), and to get any good views of the falls, you have to pay $5.50 to walk to a platform, or ride in a boat. The river is pretty turbulent under the falls and that did not seem like anything we wanted to do. So we took this picture as best we could and then decided to head into town.

IMG_4360Very close to the German border, Schaffhausen was founded in the Middle Ages, and the buildings are known for their bay windows. It was a sign of wealth to have one of these, and the old town boasts 170 (or 171, depending on the source).

IMG_4443Before we wandered through the old town, we walked up a lot of stairs (which is getting so much easier now!) to the Munot Fort, where we could have an overview of the town. I had fun taking photos of the 16th C. fortress as well as the viewpoints. It was also a great spot for lunch. If we hadn’t brought along our own bread and cheese, we would have had the opportunity to buy a bit on the top. The Swiss seem to always put an eatery where you might need one.

Back down in town we found the cloister with its lovely herb garden and managed to have a very short conversation in German with a woman who kept having us smell different herbs.

IMG_4414The old town is not large, and after wandering around and taking pics, we weren’t quite ready to leave, so we just had to buy some gelato from the little vendor and sit in the square between the two big fountains and watch the people walk by. The weather is still good for doing this comfortably, even with the clouds rolling in and out. We are not taking any sun for granted.

For more pictures of the town, click here.

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