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Chapter Eight

Day 22

Singen -> Rheinfall

The morning brings clear skies again and with this blue backdrop the ruins of Hohentwiel Castle stand out majestically above us. We take a stroll through the nearby park and through a small walkway into the town. After lunch we head off towards Switzerland, it is about 22km to the Rheinfall. Stopping at the Swiss customs we purchase our paperwork which enables us to drive on the Swiss roads. Up to 3.5ton a vignette for 40sfr, and lasting for the year will sufice, but our vehicle is 4ton so we need a different paperwork. For 10 days (taken any time throughout the next 12 months) it costs 32.50sfr (one day alone would cost 25sfr), as we plan to come back again later in the year the 10 day plan is better value. We carry on our way and head for Schaffhausen and the Rheinfall. On reaching the falls the first thing that hits you is the sound of the water, it is thunderous! The power of the water is amazing to see and experience, and to stand back and admire the view in its entirety is absolutely breathtaking! We walk down the steps next to the falling water, the spray hits you and the deafening roar makes it difficult to hear anything else. It certainly makes you realise the power of nature. The falls stretch 150 metres across and rise 23 metres high, the age of the Rheinfall is an amazing 17,000 years old! Boat trips can be taken into the tumultuous waters below the falls or a more sedate boat trip will skirt around the edges. In the small Schlossli Worth the restaurant offers not only wonderful food but also a truely magnificent vista of the falls. We really have had a wonderful day here!

Day 23

Singen -> Lindau

Sunday is heralded in with the pealing of church bells ringing out across the town of Singen. A mist hides the castle of Hohentwiel from view, but the sun is doing its best to break through. We leave Singen and take the scenic route along small roads which run past fields and through small sleepy villages until we reach the road which runs alongside Lake Constance (Bodensee). Small boats bob on the still waters and swans and ducks chase one another at the water’s edge. The road leaves the lake and by-passes many of the lake-side towns. We leave the main road and follow the sign for Meersburg where we are lucky enough to find a good parking spot close to the historic old town. There are quite a lot of people out enjoying a stroll through the old streets and there are many cafes and restaurants with tempting menus open for visitors, although the main season is yet to begin. A ferry takes cars across the lake to Konstanz on the Swiss side and we watch as it disappears into the mist which is still hanging over the water. Two divers are busy examining something on the bottom of the lake and this scene attracts quite a large group of onlookers. A water rescue boat pulls in and the crew check out that the divers are alright by poking them with a paddle, a ripple of amusement passes through the crowd as the diver comes up to the surface to see who is prodding him!

The old town of Meersburg houses some lovely old buildings and high above stands the town’s winery. Meersburg attracts many visitors and can become quite crowded in high summer. We come across a small Italian shop which also offers Italian cheeses, meats, wines, coffees and spirits. We join a group of people enjoying a sample of these delicacies and spend an interesting couple of hours with our host offering us Grappa to finish off our meal. Waving ‘Arrivaderci’, we head off along the lake once more and pass through Friedrichshaven, home of the Zeppalin, and on to Lindau. Here is an overnight stop at the Park and Ride with water and toilet emptying facilities.

Day 24

Lindau -> Memmingen

The patter of raindrops wakes us up today but it does not last too long. We need to be in Memmingen for 7pm at the airport, so as we have some time to spare (Memmingen is only 60km away) we head over the border into Austria. We drive along the lake to Bregenz. The waters are a little bit rough today but the scenery still is beautiful. We fill up on fuel as diesel is a little cheaper in Austria compared with Germany. After a brief wander along the waterfront in Bregenz and watching the Pfanderbahn (cable cars up to Pfander mountain above Bregenz) going up and down, we head towards Dornbirn for lunch and a spot of ‘retail therapy’! The mountains surrounding Dornbirn and the mountains over the border in Switzerland, which can clearly be seen from here, are all still covered with snow. As we prepare to leave and head back to Germany it begins to snow. So today we have had a real mixture of weather! The trip to Memmingen does not take very long and the roads are all clear. Arriving in plenty of time (3 hours early!) we find ourselves a parking space (not difficult) and have 40 winks while we wait for our peace to be shattered!

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