The Camino Frances
Monday, October 22, 2012
Schaffhausen and Steim am Rhein
Schaffhausen is the town where Maria was born and lived until her early twenties. It has a strategic position on the Rhine river, just one km from Germany. It has a fort, with a magnificent tower.
www.munot.ch has a great picture. We climbed the tower and looked out over the town. It has many well preserved buildings, including a church where Albert Schweitzer was the organist. The tower still has a resident guardian, who lives with his family in the tower. One of his tasks is to care for the deer and elk that live in the moat. Because of its position on the Rhine, close to Germany, it was bombed during the Second World War by the Allies, perhaps by mistake.(Maria was living there at the time). Switzerland was neutral during the war, so they were vey angry about the bombing.The country still has a strong military presence. Today, there were hundreds of soldiers on our train, perhaps transfering to a new location. They don't have a grooming code it seems- dyed hair, pony tails, facial hair, and rather weird looking camouflage pattern on their uniforms.
Our second visit was to Stein am Rhein, an architectural jewel straddling the Rhine with its medieval houses in the Canton of Schaffhausen. This small town with its pretty facades, abundance of oriel windows, quiet corners, fine half-timbered houses and inviting promenade along the river bank, is the place where the River Rhine flows out of Lake Constance. In 2007 Stein am Rhein celebrated a thousand years of its existence. Today 3200 inhabitants live in the town .It has a connection with St George, and the church tower is decorated on its four corners withprojecting metal sculptures of the dragon.
We traveled by train along the shores of Lake Constance, once again approaching but not crossing the border into Germany. The lake is beautiful, with small castles, and even smaller cottages, along the shore.
And once again, we were home in time for dinner.