Easter Weekend 2013, Part Four: The Rhine Falls

The Friday and Monday surrounding Easter weekend this year were public holidays in Bavaria.  Since I had a long weekend, I decided to do a whirlwind tour through Strasbourg France, Freiburg Germany, Zurich Switzerland, and the Rhine Falls near the Swiss-German border.  The last stop on my whirlwind weekend was at the Rhine Falls!

On Easter Monday, the first of April, I boarded this adorable little Regional Express train from Zurich’s main station to Schaffhausen, in Switzerland.  After a  40-45 minute train ride, another short bus took me from Schaffhausen over to Neuhausen am Rheinfall, to go check out the Rhine Falls, Europe’s largest waterfall.

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When I was planning the trip, I discovered a nice restaurant directly overlooking the Falls, Schlössli Wörth.  I made a reservation for lunch a few weeks in advance, and it’s a good thing I did, because the restaurant was completely booked when I arrived.  The restaurant is in this structure.  The docks are shared with tour boats that go directly up to the falls.

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All of the tables in the restaurant line the outer ring of the building, and have great views out toward the falls.  My table had a fantastic view.

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This is what I was looking at while I ate.  I couldn’t stop staring out the window.  I’m extremely happy that the sun came out for this part of my trip.

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My meal was amazingly good, also.  This is a fillet of perch with saffron-butter over risotto.    It was so good, I had a glass of wine.  I almost never drink wine.  This restaurant is a little pricey, but it was well worth it.

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After treating myself to a nice lunch, I got on with the business of being a tourist at the Falls.   From the shore, it looks very impressive.  There are several different tour boats that go on different paths near the Falls.

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I chose the yellow boats, which go to an outcropping of rock in the middle of the falls.  You can climb up a winding stair to get a higher vantage point, with the waterfall on either side of you.  The only way to get to this point is by boat.  Here’s the boat.

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In this photo, you can see one of the boats approaching the rock with the stairs.  This shot gives you a sense of the scale and size of the waterfalls, since you can see tiny people on both the boat and the rocks.

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“We’re headed right for the Falls!”

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When we reached the tiny boat ramp at the base of the rocky outcropping, I was hilariously amused to note that standing off to one side, waiting to get on the boat to return to shore, were a pair of Mormon missionaries.  The Mormons have been my constant companion as I tour all over Europe,  Their little plastic name badges (Elder Smith, Elder Cunningham) are a source of bemused comfort now.  But I digress.

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The stairs are actually quite narrow and the entire structure is much smaller than it looks.  It felt a little too crowded while I was there, and it was difficult to get good pictures from the stairs without other people in the frame.    That didn’t stop me from trying, though.

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Since I’ve been on the Maid Of The Mists at Niagara’s Horseshoe Falls, this seemed like a bit of a smaller waterfall to me. Still, it was damned impressive.  I like waterfalls as much as I like tall places and trains.  Now I need to see Victoria Falls.

What’s your favorite waterfall?