Rhine Falls and Schaffhausen

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It feels like ages ago now, but I decided to take the weekend after everyone left a little slow. By slow, I mean that I spent one day wandering around Basel both exploring and getting some errands done and then spent the other day visiting Rhine Falls and Schaffhausen, which are a two hour train ride away from Basel. I guess that’s not really everyone’s idea of a slow weekend…

The train rides out to Schaffhausen were pretty uneventful. I had to change twice, but the non-direct train between Zurich and Schaffhausen meant that you get an incredible view from the top of the waterfall from the train. It was worth it.

Schaffhausen is up the Rhine from Basel. It was quiet when I was there. In part, this could be attributed to the fact that it was a Sunday. It also looks like I had just missed a pretty massive summer festival in town (I think James Blunt was there?) that ended the night before, so the town was also quiet during the cleanup. I wandered around a while exploring the town. It wasn’t too big and not much open, but the old town was still pretty cute.

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I also happened upon a small quiet church with a nice courtyard. It was full of a lot more people than you would expect, given how quiet the rest of the town was. As I walked closer, I saw the tell tale signs of Pokemon Go-related activity. I thought maybe it would be a raid, but it was just a continuation of that big Eevee event that happened that weekend.

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It’s about a 2 mile walk from the town to Rhine Falls. I had the afternoon, so I decided to buy a sandwich and some chips and have a picnic in front of the falls. The walk along the Rhine was quiet and peaceful, which I realized I kind of needed after hitting a few major cities in the preceding weeks. And while I had intended to have my picnic in front of the waterfall, I ended up finding a small quiet pier along the way where I had lunch while people swam by me in the Rhine.

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It ended up being a good idea because it got increasingly crowded as I got closer to the falls and then was very crowded when I actually got there.

Rhine Falls is the largest waterfall in Europe. It doesn’t look quite as large as it is in pictures, but it’s huge and thunderous and very, very crowded.

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I wanted to take one of the boats to get closer to the waterfall, which required me to trek all the way down to the bottom of the falls. I also had to squeeze through crowds of families to try to get my own selfie in front of the waterfall. It wasn’t easy.

In any case, it took me far too long to figure out how to get onto one of the boats. I made it all the way to the boats before finding out that one does not just walk onto the boats. Nope, I had to circle back and stand in a long (but fast moving) line to get my ticket. Initially, I wanted to take that gets you into one of the rocks in the waterfall, but it was short and the most expensive option. Instead, I took the 30 minute boat tour that took you up and down the Rhine a while and gave you the history of Rhine Falls and the surrounding area before taking you closer to the waterfall. I had some time to kill before my boat, though, so I ended up getting some ice cream while sitting and watching the water.

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The boat tour was pretty fun, though. The tour itself took about 30 minutes, but you had to add about ten minutes to let the boat driver come by and pick up all of the guided tour pieces and headsets.

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Now, I was going to take the train back from the closest train station, which was about a forty minute walk from the waterfall, but I also wanted to go see the Schloss Laufen (Laufen Castle). My pink boat tour ticket included admission on the red boats that crossed the Rhine for you, so I took that across the Rhine and climbed up the hill to the castle. The castle houses two restaurants, a hostel and maybe some shops. There didn’t seem to be too much beyond that. The view was nice.

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It worked out, though, because I just took the train from the train station at the castle back to Schaffhausen and then took the train to Basel via Zurich from there. The train back was pretty uneventful and I ended up making it home relatively early and even had time to play Overcooked 2 with Chris.

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