Day 8 - 2013 Europe Trip - Germany to Switzerland, Lucerne and the Rheinfalls

1:18 AM AirplaneFoodCritic 1 Comments

I awoke a half hour early and listened. Yup, those cars outside sound like the ground is quite wet. It was. I was bumping into walls all morning. I walked right past the breakfast room and had to be herded back up to it. I tried to sign the hotel bill before they took my credit card. I told the proprietor to stay off the roads for the next few hours if she knew what was good for her.
Triberg Breakfast Room.
Speaking of driving, I still refuse to give up the privilege to the bf despite his constant offers. I just need the control. Plus, I like our little system of using the GPS backed up with his instructions because I am not always able to look at the screen. An example of a time when I can't look is on the roundabouts. I love those things but left to my own devices, I would never get the exit correct. The bf and I discovered that about me early on in this trip.  I also drive way faster than the bf so we get to our destinations more quickly.
Triberg breakfast!
Breakfast was, again, the usual save for the Ovaltine, aka chocolate milk, and the room was the cutest of all the breakfast rooms so far. We loaded up and took off and away from Triberg, Germany, heading to Switzerland for the remainder of the trip. The bf and I disagree about the weather. I say after today, it will be partly cloudy but he insists it will be rain rain rain the whole time. We will see who is right. (Please be me! please be me!) My original plans were to stop at a darling town called the Titisee where we were to rent a romantic paddle boat. No, not a regular paddle boat, a romantic one! And tool around the gorgeous lake nestled in the dense, black forest. We skipped that and drove about an hour directly to the Rheinfalls.
Me, at the Rheinfalls.
On our way we did cross the border to Switzerland, and back to Germany then back to Switzerland, so I pulled over. I bought an obligatory highway use sticker for 40 CHF. That's Swiss Francs, to the layperson. The exchange rate for Swiss Francs to Dollars is practically 1:1 so I do not have to do all kinds of math in my head every time I buy something. On the other hand, things appeared so much less expensive when it was 1.40 to 1 like the it was with the Euro. I also had to have my expensive purchases stamped so I get the tax back that we paid when we go to the airport. The bf bought me some fancy jewellery at the Swarovski Museum, you may recall.....and then there was that cuckoo clock that was more than our rent. More than one of my paychecks for that matter. Note to bf: please never quit your job! I digress....we should get about fifty bucks back so a stop at the border is worth that.
We walked closer and closer to the falls. You can take a little yellow boat there but it was just too wet looking!
After we crossed the border, the clouds suddenly lightened up. The rain stopped!! It was like all those candles I lit in all those churches in Munich were coming through for us! We arrived at the Rheinfalls which is the town of Schaffhausen. We parked and strolled down to the boat docks. The Rheinfalls is just what it sounds to be: a waterfall along the Rhein river. It is massive though, it is not as wide as Niagara Falls but it is as thunderous and fast. I first popped my head in the souvenir shop because I was bursting with giddiness to shop in Switzerland, the land of my people. I bought a little red piggy bank covered in the crosses of the Swiss flag. We made our way to the boat dock where the big, flat boats take you through the churning waves to a little rock in the center if the falls. We almost made it to the quay when I saw another shop. I got myself a new wallet and a drinking glass that said Rheinfalls. The bf bought a secret something for his mom. We stood at the boat dock and looked out at that little rock with the waves crashing ten stories high throwing heavy mist all over the crowded masses as they shoved their way to the too to get a soggy photo. We then looked to the left of the falls where there is a FREE walkway up the side of the falls. A much drier and less crowded, less miserable choice. Along the stroll to the stairs we got to pet several dogs. Touching and petting dogs means a lot to me and is important to me as well. They seemed to like it too :-) 
Wet, yellow boat and wet, miserable tourists at the island where that tiny red flag is. Not for us, thank you.
We took video and photos at each stop on the way up then, at the top, our luck ran out and the rain began again. We snuggled under our joke of an umbrella back up to the car where we got drenched as we paid the exorbitant cost for parking. We motored on another forty minutes to our hotel in Lucerne, or Luzern as it is called here. Parking was a breeze and I am loving my handicap placard over here. We got sopping wet getting to the hotel from the car though. 
Our room was front and center at the fancy, Hotel Monopol in Lucerne.
The hotel I booked is called The Hotel Alpina and it is an affiliate of the Hotel Monopol which was recommended by family. We could not come close to affording the Monopol so we settled for the Alpina. We had to go to the Monopol to check in and there they told us we have been upgraded to the Monopol free of cost. Ok!
Eating fancy in Switzerland. Here is your $25 meal!
We were a little hungry so we soggily wandered about trying to find food the bf could eat. We ended up in a Burger King because they had a veggie burger and it was right by the car. He got the meal and I got a little thing of nine spicy chicken nuggets. It cost us over twenty dollars! Now I understand why when my family from Switzerland comes to the US to visit they eat fast food almost exclusively haha. We sloshed our way to the hotel again.
Gorgeous view from the room. The white specs in the river are a million swans swimming around in the rain.
Our room is the second from the very top and front and center. I am typing to you now as we sit in comfortable chairs in our room as we overlook the lovely river that cut through town. Just to the left of our view is the famous covered bridge. We dried off a little and had a serious conversation about umbrellas and whether we were willing to go back out in this awful weather. I had the bright idea to ask the hotel for an umbrella and they gladly obliged. We were back in business! The bf chivalrously let me use the big, blue hotel umbrella while he had the awful, flimsy black one. We set out to see the lion satue called the Lowendenkmal. The rain was coming a bit sideways but we were so thrilled to each have our own umbrella that we were practically skipping across the beflagged bridge. There had to be hundreds of swans out on the river, cleaning themselves and primping their feathers.
Gal about Lucerne with her borrowed blue umbrella.
When we got to the statue we were actually taken aback. I heard it was powerful as it represents the thousands of Swiss killed as they fought for the French army during a revolution. We were not prepared for how moving it really is. It is stories high carved out of a cliff side. The lion stayed dry as it lay painfully with a spear in it's heart. I honestly could not look for long because it made me sad. The bf, a sculptor himself, was fascinated by it. We spent a long time admiring it from many angles, especially the head. His expression is so vivid and dire.
Photos don't do the Lion justice. We got drenched staring at it's beauty.
I very much wanted a lion pin for my new German hat but I got bum rushed by a bus load of Chinese tourists and had to get out of there. We decided to save our money and fan seeing the glacier park and the panorama mural of the Swiss disarming the near dead French soldiers as they took them in and nursed them back to health. Go Swiss! We, instead, walked back in the direction of the hotel to cross the covered bridge. At this point the bf's sleeves were pretty much drenched and both our feet were swimming in our shoes. We put our umbrellas away and leisurely strolled down the length of the bridge, taking pictures as we went, of course. 
Happy to be in the shelter of the Covered Bridge, I blew kisses at the swans.
The tower in the center is a little gift shop so I went in to look for that hat pin of the lion. The bf spotted an unattended umbrella. We watched it. We watched as people all left the shop yet no one picked up the yellow umbrella. After what we felt was a reasonable amount of time, we decided it was abandoned and we snagged it. It is much larger than the flimsy black one we have and it has much less holes in it. I am convinced it must have been abandoned because it is quite difficult to open and close, in fact it was left open on the bridge when we found it. Nonetheless, we were thrilled to have a second, and less crappy umbrella for free! Yay us!
We may or may not have carved our initials into the bridge.
At that point we were happy to meander in and out all the little side streets and visit the shops. After an hour or so we returned to the hotel to blog and rest....and, yes, dry out. At seven we tried to find our way to The Swiss Foundu House for some fondue. I recall telling myself two years ago when I was last in Switzerland, that I would not hold back on the fondue. I mean, I love it, I always want it, I do not get it at home....and for some reason, I do not order it every day while here. Not this trip. Ohhhhh no. So tonight, our first night in this incredible country, we share a fondue. 
The first of many fondues!
It was just up a block from the river near the covered bridge. It took us a few circles to find it but we did and we found it under dry skies. We settled into a booth choosing to sit side by side because we both like to sit in bench seats. We ordered the most traditional cheese fondue on the menu and a bottle of Fondant, my absolute favorite white wine, that happens to be Swiss, to have with fondue or raclette. We were in heaven. We split....sorta, I always drink way more than him,... the wine and its pairing did not let us down. After dinner, which cost nearly the same as the BK minus the wine, I might add, we meandered back under rainless skies to our hotel. I stood in my panties and T-shirt in the open window and told Lucerne that I loved it, you know, the usual things tourists do. I was almost up for heading back to the lion statue, I was so thrilled it was not raining. We kicked our feet up in the hotel room with the heater on and the windows wide open, watching the  glittering lights dance off of the calm river. I blogged, he made music on his Mac. And now....I am flirting with the thought of just staring out the window for a while, being content, and happy. Thank you, Switzerland.
I chose to stop and stare out our ornate windows onto the night of Lucerne.

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1 comment:

  1. i love the way your write the story. makes me feel like i am there with you .

    love you both jackie

    ReplyDelete