We disembarked from our Rhine, cruise boat - 'Monarch Baroness,' shortly after breakfast and made our way to Hotel Bildungszentrum 21, a wonderful hotel set in parkland in central Basel.
From 1860, the building was a training centre for missionaries and the teaching of their children. The vegetable garden was a means of support and training for self sufficiency for the missionaries. In the 1950's the training scheme was reduced and the conversion into a hotel, begun. Lucky us.
The hotel was just 200 m from the medieval gate to the old town.
Gate of Spalen - one of 3 remaining gates from the 1400's.
The temperature was in the high 20's. We were fascinated watching the locals floating downstream on the strong current of the Rhine, using inflatable, watertight clothes holders. Everyone had something similar to these. They would go so far, then get onto the bank, walk back upstream and jump in again. I would loved to have joined them.
Monday - Rhinefalls.
An hour train journey took us to the station, Neuhausen am Rainfall. It was a short walk off the platform to the bank of the Rhine, to the river trail. We followed this for almost 2kms, before arriving at the head of the magnificent falls.
On arriving at their base, we continued on another kilometre, before crossing to the opposite bank via a footbridge.
Opposite bank, heading back to the falls.
A glass elevator gave us an incredible view, as we were lifted to the grounds of Schloss Laufen. [castle]
Here we found a trail to take us back to our starting point, joined by crossing a narrow road bridge. A decision was made to continue along this bank to the wonderful old town of Schaffhausen.
We climbed the 200 steps to the 16th century Munot, a circular fortification.
Surrounded by vineyards, it was a very impressive complex.
Tuesday 30th May - Lucerne
It was an early start to take the train to Lucerne, arriving at 9.08 am. Our good friends, Tony and Veronica, who had been travelling through Croatia, arrived at platform 4 at 9.25 am. We were there to greet them. It was short walk to our accommodation, where we left our luggage until check in later in the day. As it was a clear sunny day, we quickly took the bus to Kriens, to begin the exciting chairlift and gondola ride to the top of Mt Pilatus, 2132m. Our day's journey is on the map below.
An energetic school group making the climb.
Still a long way to the top.
This precarious little white church, bravely stood on a lower slope of Mt Pilatus. I'm afraid that googling has given me no information of its name or history.
Arrival at the top. The white zig zag 'road' at the bottom of the cliff face, is actually a bobsled run!
The clouds decided to play games soon after our arrival, so the vista was constantly changing.
A grand view at this moment in time.
Mt Pilatus peak had stairs and tunnels to allow access to 360 degree views.
A second peak had a steep, open climb that sent my legs to jelly, but I took it slowly and made it. This melting snow was at its base.
The decent commences.
Lake Lucerne and our ferry boat.
Nearing Lucerne, we were overlooked by Mt Pilatus.
Not only were the views sensational, but I was constantly gasping with the beauty of the wildflowers tenaciously growing and blooming amongst the rocks, in this recently snow covered terrain.
At the end of the day, eating our dinner on our roof top balcony, in the middle of the old city, it was difficult to imagine that this holiday could get any better. Watch this space.
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