Archive for the 'switzerland' Category

Rheinfall, Rheinfaelle

Sunday, September 14th, 2008

One of the first poems I memorized in German was Die Lorelei, which contains the line Und ruhig fließt der Rhein (“and peacefully flows the Rhein”). It’s useful as a reminder that the Rhein, like the Neckar and unlike most other rivers in Germany, is masculine. But the poem is self-descriptive, in that once you get it stuck in your head, the sing-songy rhythm stays there (das kommt mir nicht aus dem Sinn). It started up when I went for a walk along the banks of the Rhein in Düsseldorf, and got stuck for a good three days.

There is at least one place where the Rhein doesn’t flow peacefully, however, and we got to see it on Sunday. On the way back through Switzerland, we drove to Neuhausen to see the Rheinfall. They’ve built decks right on top of the flow of water, so you can lean over the edge and get a feeling of what it would be like to jump in. The falls are not very high (in spite of being the largest waterfall in Europe), but a huge volume of water passes through, 463 cubic meters/second on the day we were there, which is only one-third of peak flow. We were lucky that the sun came out long enough to give us a rainbow.

There’s a castle above the viewing decks that you can’t really see except from the other side of the river.

Einsiedeln, Switzerland

Saturday, September 13th, 2008

On Saturday we hired a minivan and drove to Switzerland, through Zurich to Einsiedeln. People who live in Einsiedeln are called Einsiedler, which also means “hermit” or “recluse”. So Einsiedeln is an oxymoron, a community of hermits. They take suspiciously good care of their cattle:

What was intended as a hiking weekend was transformed by rain and fog into a card-playing weekend. Here’s the view out my window on Sunday morning: