Country Buffet

Country Buffet

Saturday, May 29, 2010

A Dream-Part 3

The Rheinfalls
In importance to Europe, the Rhein is equal to the Mississippi in the USA. It begins in Switzerland and flows north through Germany. The Rheinfalls are a major tourist attraction and just minutes from Schaffhausen.

1880 and 1923 were two drought years when the river dried up and this pole was placed in the middle of the river to "commemorate" the phenomenon.

In the center of the falls is a rock with a staircase to the top. A boat navigates the swift currents to unload passengers at the base. Then it becomes a tourist's race to the top. We made it to the top before the Japanese tourists--our legs and lungs wondering why we were pushing our 44 years!

Monday, May 24, 2010

A Dream Come True--Part Two

Schaffhausen: established 1045

The History of the American West is extremely juvenile to that of Switzerland and Europe. Many castles, fortresses, bridges and churches have been preserved from beyond the 1100's. It was like entering the pages of a medieval storybook: tales of warring monarchs and the Reformation. Furthermore, my trip also became an anchor to what I had studied of WWII. On my return trip home I flew over France and was gripped by the knowledge that thousands of young Americans had never made it home from Europe..and that they didn't get to experience these beautiful sites as a tourist.

The opening photo above is of Schaffhausen's Munot Tower. It was built in the 16th century as a watch fortress for the city. It is perched on a hill above the Rhein. Grapes blanket the hillside down to the street below. The Munot guard and his wife (a couple in their early 60's) live in the tower and he rings the Munot bell every night at 9pm.

This is the Munot from on top of the hill. Regula's house is just around the corner.

Haus zum Ritter

This is the facade of the oldest house in Schaffhausen. The original frescoes by Tobias Stimmer were taken off the building in 1935 and are preserved in a museum in Schaffhausen. The artist Carl Roesch then recreated Stimmer's work. (Lukas thinks it looks rather pornographic.)

These are called Oriel windows and there are 171 of them in Schaffhausen.

Throughout Schaffhausen there are five fountains depicting mercenaries.

In the Altstadt (old town) each house is named and displays the date it was built. This one is

"Zur HoffnungsBurg"


A view down one of the several altstadt streets. Since 1972 traffic is limited to delivery trucks for the shops and for pedestrians.

St. Johanns

At first this was a small Catholic church, then it became a watch fortress when the tower was added, and then it became a Protestant church after the Reformation and the spire was added. The Catholic churches are ornate and gilded to the hilt. In comparison the Protestant churches are decorated "plainly". However, both left me in awe. In a later blog I'll take you inside some of these churches.


The right side of the photo is Switzerland and the left side is Germany. The bridge is one lane and who ever gets to the entrance first has the right of way. When Regula was a kid, she and her friends would jump out of the windows to swim in the Rhein. On a warm summer day, I think she would still do it! Diessenhoffen is the town where she went to middle school and just five more miles down the road is Basadingen where her parents live.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

A Dream Come True--Part 1

~A Story Of Friendship~
27 years ago I met a girl from Switzerland. She had come to Cheyenne as an Exchange Student. It was my Senior year in High School and I had just returned from a summer exchange program in Japan. I knew the range of emotions she was feeling: excitement to homesickness. After our Senior year she returned home. However, since the Spring of 1984 she has returned to see me five times and during these times my entire family has fallen in love with her. Over the years it has been a dream to go see her. So, after all this time, I bought a ticket, hopped on a plane and spent nine wonderful days with my friend Regula Marti in Schaffhausen, Switzerland.

The word " reisen" means "trip". So, I couldn't resist this photo opp!

A countryside picture with the Alps in the background. The weather turned cold and rainy so we didn't make it to see them---this will be saved for another trip! The yellow in the fields is raps and the green is wheat.

One day we took a 6 mile hike alongside the Rhein. The trail was made in the 1980's when a man decided to clean up all the barbed wire that was still left after WWII. There are still bunkers on the edge of the river.

Some cows enjoying the sunshine after the rain.

On our hike we got the blessing of watching these swans exhibit their grace and beauty.

This is raps (rapeseed). This time of year it is in full bloom and smells heavenly. It is fairly tall. When I walked out into the field it came up to my shoulders. The blooms will fall and the plant will ripen to form thousands of black seeds that will be pressed into oil for cooking.