If you’re up to speed… Welcome to the land of chocolate and cheese. Welcome to Heidi Land!
We left sunny (partly cloudy) London…
…and landed in rainy Zurich (ironic), where my Uncle Paul was there to fetch us.
As we started driving, the rain started clearing up and we decided to stop at The Rheinfall.
There is no other waterfall in Europe bigger than the Rheinfall and you hear the roar of the water before you even get to see it. We walked the streets, lined by stone Swiss chalets towards the roar.
The roar gets louder and louder as you walk down a few steps, and then you see the gushing water creating white froth…
You can get up close and personal with the falls…
Walk through this cave and get even closer…
What would the Rheinfalls be without the magnificent rock in the middle of the powerful mass of water? You have to take a cleverly manouvered boat ride there and climb up the rock to get a good view.
I was expecting to get drenched, seeing all the spray from the water, but you surprisingly don’t. Don’t worry too much about packing your camera away, like I initially did.
On the boat, we looked back at where we had been standing…
We got close to the rock right in the middle of the gushing water, got out and began the climb to the top. It’s a lot steeper than I expected, but not too bad if you have a fear of heights.
You come face to face with the falls…
What a view the trains must get… see the train track crossing the river in the pic below?
It is quite something to stand in the middle of gushing water on a rock that might not be there forever as it gets eroded down. I am my happiest in nature and being surrounded like that is magic.
We took the boat back, climbed the stairs (surrounded by mist, love locks and hair bands with love messages tied to the gate) and made our way to a coffee shop.
I thought this sign was so funny and so typically Swiss… Only in Switzerland will you find a shop sign for snacks, souvenirs and Swiss watches!
English Bulldogs follow me everywhere I go. I got to meet a Swiss one…
We walked back to the car and made the journey to my Gran Schneider. She lives in Bulgach, a small village on the border of Austria.
I haven’t seen my gran in 6 years. She is my only living grandparent and I was excited to introduce her to Sox. I must admit, I felt a little strange (and wonderful) as I said: “Hi Gran! I’d love to introduce you to my… husband! This is Socrates.”
My uncle left his car with us, so we would have some transport for the next 2 days. He took the 3,5 hour train trip home back to Zug. We were a little nervous about this, because Switzerland drives on the other side of the road and there are lots of circles in the villages. Luckily we weren’t going to use the car that night.
I was so impressed with how Sox immediately bonded with her. At first I thought he was just being the best husband possible and being so polite. I quickly realised that it wasn’t sweet politeness, it was a genuine connection. It’s like they’ve known each other before and were catching up. I absolutely beamed as I watched them chatting on the couch, arms linked.
My gran has a thick Swiss German accent, but her English is pretty damn good considering she doesn’t have to speak a lot of it often. We settled in, ate dinner and then my Gran pulled out the albums and boxes of old letters and newspaper clippings. I think I know where I get my love of story telling and “blogging” from! My Gran has kept everything – it’s like a blog that isn’t digital.
Here is a newspaper clipping of my birth announcement… I laughed at “European souvenir”: Here is my young gran holding my Dad as a baby…Here are my young grandparents and my Dad as a baby!
After hours of story telling (and partly due to the fresh Swiss air), we were exhausted and fell into a deep sleep quickly. Our plan for the next day, was to take my gran for lunch to Appenzell. It’s a nearby village, about 30 minutes away, up in the mountains. More on Monday.
Have an awesome weekend