Vacations that Broaden our Horizons Part 4

 

Each step of this trip was planned to maximize the best use of our time. We wanted to take in the most delightful sights in each town without running from each tour and feeling like we were on a schedule that would wear us down.

Our next town which was two hours away from Luzern was Laufenburg Switzerland. I had not heard of any of our friends going to this town, and so we were in full discovery mode.

We arrived late morning in Laufenburg Switzerland having escaped Luzern just as they were having a marathon race that closed off the whole town.

Nancy and I had a wonderful breakfast at the Bacherei Konditorei Cafe. The item we’d had a thousand times before (but never like this) was executed beyond belief… hash brown potatoes. The potatoes were so light and airy they just melted in your mouth. Each bite was a delicious overture to the next.

Farm fresh eggs with bacon and those amazing hash browns was the perfect introduction to this little town close to the German border. A six story stone clock tower you could drive through was the gateway to this charming borough. We parked our rental car and decided to explore.

The hotel wouldn’t accept early walk-ins and so we explored the town.  We found a stone bridge that connected the Swiss part of Laufenburg with the German Laufenburg. We walked for a couple hours and ended up crossing the bridge looking below to the Rhine river.

Stone homes, churches and castles adorned the foreground as we ventured to a Greek restaurant just across the bridge on the German side. Apparently Napoleon had split the town in half with each half located in two different countries.

We were still full from breakfast but decided to have a dessert and coffee at Griechishes Restaurant Athen. We had a delightful chocolate mouse cake topped with a persimmon and grape leaf. Also on the plate was a home-made vanilla ice cream lightly sprinkled with a chocolate sauce accompanied with whipped cream. Two lattes finished our respite from hiking the cobblestone streets, the perfect sugar rush to propel us to the church at the top of the hill overlooking the Rhine.

The view from the church was fabulous. We viewed the Rhine across thatched roofs adding a certain old world feel to the spectacle. Walking down the steep hill and through most of the old downtown of German Laufenburg was another step back in time.

Exactly at three o’clock we called the hotel to let us in and give us the key to our room and the outside door. The staff member was very gracious. The room was very big and the bonus was the view. Two large folding windows encased in wood opened to a unimpeded view of German Laufenburg, the bridge, castles, and churches which reflected in the mirror like water of the Rhine.

We had a bottle of wine at sunset that was purchased in the Burgundy region of France. The lovely Meursault chardonnay embodied the richness, smoothness, and quality of our experience. That night we ventured over to the German side of Laufenburg.

We had spied another Greek restaurant on the German side of the Rhine river. Nice and light dinner fair complimented a view of the river and a courtyard filled with exotic flowers which took the scene from beautiful to magical.

That night we walked back to the hotel Mokka and our room overlooking the Rhine. We needed our rest as the next day we planned to drive to the Rhine Falls. The Rhine Falls (Rheinfall) is breathtaking beauty and the largest plain waterfall in Europe. The falls are located on the High Rhine at Neuhausen am Rheinfall Village and just below Schaffhausen in the north of Switzerland.

The falls were about an hour from Laufenburg with a drive that provided a wonderful view of the meadows, farms, and streams along the way. The parking at the Rhine Falls was easy to navigate. The walk along the paths were easily marked which led us down to the base of the falls across the river and slightly downstream.

I can’t tell you what a sensory experience this was. To our right was a stone building perched as a sentry to the boats leading tourists to the falls. A tall rock acted as a stairway to a perch directly to the right of the falls as you are facing them. Above the falls and to the far right was a train track and above that a fairy tale castle.

Laufen Castle is a castle in the municipality of Laufen-Uhwiesen in the Swiss canton of Zurich. It is a Swiss heritage site of national significance overlooking the Rhine Falls. The first documented reference to the castle dates back to the year 858 when it was home to the Barons of Laufen. With the falls, castle, and of course the Rhine river this was a spectacle I will never forget.

We had dinner that night on the German side of Laufenburg. This was a Chinese restaurant with a mountain of food accompanied with our favorite beer and wine. We stumbled back to our hotel looking to get a good night sleep for the longest drive of the trip to Oberursel Germany near Frankfurt Germany.

Next will be the final segment of this expose on our European vacation.