... Schaffhausen to Diessenhofen to Oberstdorf (Germany) 'Happy Birthday to Stef'
It's time to sing the birthday song to the birthday girl who's 29 today, just like me. Yes i'm 29, just like all the others state when they are in their 30s. That is until you reach the next decade of the 40s in which you'll forever be 31...well until the decades of the 50s but not thinking that far ahead! Now the weather may not be showing the birthday girl some sun but you still can't take away the scenery that surrounds us. As we look to see everyone with their waterproofs on as they get out of their cars, we are putting on our bikinis. Yes its slightly cold, yes there's light drizzle with no sun to warm us up and yes the lake may not be as refreshing as it could be but Stef wants to jump in the river and there may not be many opportunities for me to also.
So off we go and head to the quiet area of the river that we went to yesterday, where Ellie had a swim, as there were steps to get in and out off too. As we got down to the river side we let Ellie off first and jump in to get it out of her system the most, then it was my turn...and in i went in which the hairs on my arms were standing to attention but once I jumped in it was quite refreshing still, not too cold. Stef on the other hand is looking very wary and not sure about it. I try to coax her in and I'm doing so from the same spot i'm swimming in as with the tide being quite strong i'm swimming treadmill style!
After trying to get Stef in for a swim i'm failing but then she puts her legs onto the steps ... getting closer. Suddenly a boat comes by and looks to dock to where we are (but still room for us to swim in) and that's it, that's the excuse, that she can't possibly get in now!! Well i did try! So swim done (well mine and Ellie's!), van up and ready to go but our first stop is back to the waterfalls to take a photo of the map of the villages upon the river here. One thing i failed to say yesterday was that these Waterfalls, Rheinfall, is the largest plain waterfall in Europe, little bit of a fact for you! The villages we decide upon are Hallau (going back on yourselves for 10km), Schaffhausen and Dissenhofen before heading to Oberstdorf (Germany) to stop for the night.
On route to Hallau we need to find croissants for breakfast and thinking about it now with it being a Sunday we may not be so lucky. Scrap that, we see a petrol station which has a Spar attached, hurrah! Keep forgetting sometimes that i'm not in Spain and Italy where food items are not sold at Petrol Stations like we are so use to at home. Stef went in and bought the biggest croissants known to man so i think i won't be needing lunch later! We arrive at Hallum and it's not quite what we read about but its got charm. Mind you we have to remember its a Sunday so not much is happening so the whole Village is deserted. Here in the Bronze Age weapons where found, the first traces of a settlement date from the Roman era and the Bergkirche St. Moritz is listed as a Swiss Heritage site of national significance which was built in 1491. So this is where we decide to cook and eat breakfast, up by the church which is surrounded by vineyards, and breakfast is cooked and served consisting of the croissants bought this morning, bacon and scrambled egg. Yum!
Also up the hill towards the church were signs for some Roman ruins and as we were going on up suddenly we're not too sure a) where the next sign is and b) are we going in the right direction? After breakfast we continue up the hill and see another sign and follow the arrow. About 2km later we see the same sign but going in the opposite direction. Confused.com! We head back to see if we missed a turning but nope, nothing, nothing until we see the same sign we followed to go the way in which we've just come. Confused.com. Then it's the wording i start to recognise from my GCSE days...what the sign was trying to tell us was that we were on a Roman road....so we drove on a Roman road between those two signs!!
Next is Schaffhausen and more things are open in this small town, shops are shut but restaurants and cafes are open for the tourists mostly i think. Rain is still drizzling on down with a chill in the air so we have our coats on to see this old city with 171 bay windows built in the Renaissance period with artistically painted facades. This was a city that came to being at the location where trading ships had to set anchor because the Rhine Falls made it impossible to travel further. City seen and before moving on we settle on a shortbread and jam biscuit to share with a drink at a cafe. That was mainly lunch as breakfast was still digesting its way down! As we drove over the bridge we looked behind and saw a castle on the hill....so we turned round to head on up to see it! Turns out its the Munot which is a 16th century fortification surrounded by vineyards and serves as the city's symbol. The ring shaped fortress today is a tourist attraction but also host various events up on the open top.
Next is Diessenhofen which took us in and out of Germany again as we are so close to the boarders here, and you know when you're in Germany with the yellow road signs that they have here! Cute village and as its the last place we are going to visit in Switzerland then it's time to get rid of the remaining swiss francs that i have in my pocket. So off to a very lovely hotel / restaurant and bar and head on in to get us a couple of drinks for just over the 10 swiss francs i have left. I put all of my money in-front of the bar man and ask what two drinks can i possibly get for my money, so 2 beers?! He says that should cover it but Stef doesn't want a beer and so is asking for something non alcoholic thinking it'll be cheaper than what she had in her head. 'Stef, just say what you'd like and lets see if he'll give it to us as he's being helpful so far!' So we ask for a pint of larger and a small glass of white wine and he servers whilst taking the coins off the bar for payment. Now i'm 100% sure, and knowing Swiss prices, that we didn't have enough at all for the drinks but he gave the drinks to us anyway which was lovely of him.
As we sat outside i could see the barman point to us with a guy next to him. This guy comes on over and speak Swiss German of which the barman shouts over, 'English, you need to speak English!'. Not sure he knew much English as he kept speaking Swiss German and pointed to Stef's boots and then to mine saying All Stars! Don't know exactly what he was trying to say but he shook his head at Stef's shoes! Also i think the barman was showing us to this guy, as turns out he was the boss, so he's probably showing him who he gave cheap drinks to!
Drinks done and we head into Austria but soon back into Germany (!) on route to where we are going to rest our heads for the night. The drive was full of woodlands, mountains, castles, painted homes / buildings, rivers and lakes of which Stef wished to see deers but too close to the main road they wouldn't come this far. Its getting dark by now and the first campsite we come to we find its closed but actually that became a blessing in disguise. The next one was a car park area by a restaurant which had great facilities of a WC and shower etc. Its certainly time for food but as its 9.01pm i'm not sure if they'll still be serving food at this time, especially as its a Sunday.
We go on in and try anyway but the kitchen closed at 8pm and i thought so as before we went through the door i could see the kitchen being cleaned on up! We could though take in the restaurant, which was so authentic with the family (who owned and lived there) dressed up too, with a bottle of wine as we still needed to raise a toast to the birthday girl. What the lovely lady did do was that once the kitchen was cleaned up so managed to rustle up some bread and cheese for us to have with our wine. Perfect!
The bill came and i handed over my card as i was out of euros with being so use to just having swiss francs. The lady owner / waitress shook her head. I then handed over another but again she shook her head...and then another. Well this isn't working out too well! She went off and returned with a card that they only take and the reason being is that the numbers on the card are flat, unlike all of my cards (and cards that i've only known!) had the numbers raised slightly. With being half a bottle of wine down and no cash i told her that in the morning, if she trusted me, that i would bring cash in which she told me the nearest ATM machine was 4km down from here. I did try to give her my driving licence as collateral but she trusted us luckily. Well that was an interesting end to the day! After a long one time for bed...and time to explore Austria better!