Okay, I am slightly out of order now, because I’m over a week behind due to slow internet (and not having the time to sit around in my hotel room typing!) I’m waiting for Steve to do a piece of the blog that should be before this because he attended the important family village visit, while I stayed back with a headache 🙁
So… the plan was that we really wanted to visit Marty, Claire and the kids… but discovered that Zurich is super duper expensive. Martin suggested staying somewhere close to the border on the German side, as it would be much cheaper. He was absolutely right. I ended up choosing Stuehlingen based on the reviews for the Gasthaus, and the fact that it is RIGHT beside the Swiss border.
We made arrangements with Martin to meet at Rhein Falls. This is in Switzerland, but about an hour on the train for them. I must note how amazing it is that it just seems like no problem at all for them to haul three small children on a train to meet us for the day!
We used Angie’s spiffy phone navigation which took us from Germany, through Austria and on to Switzerland. Interestingly, we were stopped by the police after we entered Austria so he could make sure we had the appropriate sticker on our windshield (which we did!). This is important to know if you are renting a car in Germany. As soon as you cross the border into Austria (Osterreich) you need to look for a gas station or a place selling the “Vignette” sticker. It is about 10 Euros if I remember correctly. If you don’t have the sticker on the right place on your windshield you will be fined.
Whoops, got a bit sidetracked there 🙂
When we entered Switzerland there was a border guy who waved us through (although he was searching someone else’s car… I guess we don’t look troublesome 😉 )… so they do care about who is coming in to Switzerland. Interesting to note that when we left Switzerland later there was no person to be seen… they don’t care if you are leaving, and the Germans don’t care if you are coming in 🙂
After our triple country morning trip we arrived a bit early at Rhein Falls. I decided that this might be a good place to take a photo to send to our librarian of me reading in an unusual place. (I’ll email it soon, Nicole!)
Soon after my reading break Marty and the family arrived 🙂 It was great to see them again, and meet the two newest little ones.
After catching up a bit we headed off to look at the falls. I have to say that they were spectacular. The force of the water was incredible. I can’t even describe it! So instead I found this quote from Mary Shelley (famous author :)) who said it so much better than I ever could. “A portion of the cataract arches over the lowest platform, and the spray fell thickly on us, as standing on it and looking up, we saw wave, and rock, and cloud, and the clear heavens through its glittering ever-moving veil. This was a new sight, exceeding anything I had ever before seen; however, not to be wet through, I was obliged quickly to tear myself away.”
The falls are the largest in Europe and measure 150 m wide and 23 m tall. It was the pure force of the water that was so breath-taking though!
After going on a walk and viewing the falls we stopped for a little lunch. Can you imagine that not only did Claire and Martin bring three small children up on a train just to visit us. They also brought a picnic big enough for everyone. That is above and beyond!
During our picnic we had a little time to play with the kids. Amaia (who I like to refer to as Mini-Sheree!) and I spent quite a long time making an Amaia the Rainbow Princess in the sand.
Steve played his favourite game…which Tane seemed to enjoy 🙂
After our lovely visit, Claire and Marty packed up all their gear and kidlets and headed back to Zurich on the train. We hopped in our cars and headed off to Stuehlingen.
Okay, I may have omitted that we stopped in the gift shop (it’s our only chance to shop in Switzerland) and I purchased chocolate. Guess what Steve purchased? This is a test on how well you know him. I’ll give you a hint…it is not the other obvious answer which is a watch. 🙂 If you guessed a wallet you win!
Okay, then we headed off to Stuehlingen and our next Gasthof. This one was pretty cool as it has been providing accommodation for people since the mid 1300’s.
Can you guess where we went for dinner? A Gasthaus! Dinner was very good again 🙂 We were in a pretty small town, so the waitress was speaking mostly only German to us. Those of us who didn’t understand just kept smiling and nodding and saying danke schoen, while John did most of the translating for us. Due to the language barrier I ended up with a rather large amount of red wine with my dinner. I of course drank it all… I wouldn’t want to be impolite… but something startling happened after dinner.
Now you might think I’m making this up but I’m not. Suddenly I could read a lot more German words! Not just pronounce them, but actually understand them. It was mind-boggling! I showed off my new talents by reading John, Angie and Steve their horoscopes which I found in my “Lisa” magazine. I’m pretty sure they were accurate 😉
Needless to say a fun (and informative) night was had once again 🙂