I love waterfalls. Being from Toronto, I’ve seen a fair share of our very own Niagara Falls, just an hour and a half away by car, but tell me the largest waterfall in Europe is in Switzerland, and you know that there’d be no way that I’d leave Europe without paying it a visit.
The train stopped at Schloss Laufen am Rheinfall station, literally right next to the waterfall. As I stepped onto the narrow platform, I was welcomed by the roaring sound of the rushing waters. I only had to walk a few steps before the white waters appeared in front of me. Wow, what a sight!
I don’t know how “largest” is defined – flow rate of the water? Area? Height? In any case, the Rhine Falls pale in comparison to Niagara Falls in terms of water flow, which was expected, but one does not simply compare waterfalls in such a manner. What I really liked about Rhine Falls is that it is situated right in the middle of a city, with houses and buildings on both sides of the Rhine river into which it flows. You wake up to the clash of the falls in the morning and fall asleep to the same lullaby at night, which could be a good or bad thing, actually. The areas around Niagara Falls have become too commercialized, losing its authenticity which is quite well-preserved in the Rhine Falls area.
Stats of the falls…in German, but it’s not hard to guess what the numbers represent. Does anyone have the stats for Niagara Falls? 😉
A little observation tower stood up on the hills on the south bank of the Rhine, where I started. Now, it would be time to head across the river to the north bank…
I descended towards the falls and made my way across a bridge, taking me from the south side (Laufen Castle) to the north, next to the town of Neuhausen. I’m sure this “Adventure Park” would be an interesting place to be…but OK, it wasn’t open during January 😦
Turn around to look back at the bridge that I just crossed, the same one traversed by the trains going from Winterthur to Schaffhausen and back (the one I took).
All this time I made almost no verbal contact with anyone aside from asking for directions once. I was surrounded by tourists, yet I was in solitude. At one point during my trip to the Rhine Falls, I remember sitting on a bench and just observing the water flow across the river, without a word. In my mind I thought, “Wow, this is the greatest feeling.” To belong completely to myself, letting go of the feelings in my heart that once roared like the tumbling falls and embrace the moment – that was perfect tranquility.