A rapid visit

Trip Start Mar 29, 2006
Trip End Feb 28, 2007

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Thursday, September 14, 2006

THURSDAY, 14th September
Off to Stein am Rhein with L and it was just as good the second time around as are most places one enjoys and revisits. You see things you missed the first time. We found an indoor museum and courtyard, obviously preserved as a monument to the past but we still have no idea of its significance. We had coffee on the waterfront and bought some chocolate in the Schoggibox...just loved that name. It just has to have been made up.
On to Schaffhausen or at least through it to see the Rheinfalls. We parked some way past the falls and had to walk along the towpath at the rivers edge. It was not the highest of falls but it was spectacular in that it was wild and it took over the whole of that stretch of the river. We sat in a café poised over the river in full view of the falls and watched as the tourist coaches disgorged their...mostly Japanese...visitors onto flat bottomed boats which maneuvered themselves up close to the falling white water unloading its cargo on to, and marooning them on, a huge rock lodged midstream. One of these days it is going to go. It was a great spot we were seated, it wasn't crowded  and it was cheap food.
We drove into and around Schaffhausen to see if we could find the castle we had glimpsed on the way in. The girls kept their eyes peeled and directed me towards it as they spied it above. We ended up right outside this immense stone Martello looking tower and parked the car outside the entrance which I am sure was not permitted although we could see no obvious signs to the contrary. We walked across a drawbridge, under an arch, through the 5 metre thick walls into what seemed to be a cellar. It was magic. A huge vaulted ceiling about 30 metres across and empty. A huge, dark, empty cellar with an earthen floor and vertical slits for windows. Across the way was a tower with a circular, stone stairway leading to the roof up which we then walked. We emerged into the open air to find ourselves on a flat circular roof bordered by a low parapet with a 360° view of the town and river. The building was called the Munot...a defensive bastion built in the 16th century, There were some kids up there sketching the scene below and, of all things, preparations for a firework display. These huge crackers like cannon shells were being laid out across the roof ready for a display that night to celebrate the anniversary of a bookshop...unless I lost something in the translation! We stayed up there for some while and then walked back down the circular stairwell to the gardens outside which displayed some well tended roses.    
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