4h, 38 km / Alten – Marthalen – Neuhausen am Rheinfall – German border (closed) – Rheinau – Ellikon am Rhein – Alten
Today’s bike tour is full of highlights.
In the chilly morning air we start almost alone from Alten towards Marthalen, a village we have never heard of before. Surprised by all those timber-framed, red and white houses, I decide to make a first impromptu sight-seeing detour. I could spend hours looking at these charming old houses, wandering into those small alleys, gazing at carefully maintained details, and totally forgetting time. A happy day is starting…
After about 12 km we get to the Laufen Castle, which overlooks the Rhein Falls, the largest waterfalls in Europe. The castle which boasts the best views of the waterfalls is usually packed with countless tourists from here and there, but today there are only very few fellow visitors who dare to travel. We are still in corona times, therefore most of the tourist services are closed. But we can go down to see the waterfalls from the boat pier. Getting close, we hear and see the thundering water gushing into the river! I’ve been here several times but the sheer power of nature fascinates me every time. Picnic time at the riverside and off we go to the other side of the falls. It is the first time I see the falls from the north side. Funny how different it looks.
Suddenly we are standing in front of a police barrier next to a small customs house, which probably has not been used for a long time. The border crossing to Germany is closed. Philippe is toying with the idea of letting his spirit of adventure run wild and still ride a few kilometers on the forbidden German soil. But what if a customs officer stops us while crossing back to Switzerland? We decide to turn around. We prefer to sleep at home tonight.
The next destination is Rheinau. Approaching the old town, two red church domes suddenly appear, surrounded by the River Rhein and the lush green forest. From far, it looks like a Disney fairy tale! I’m excited to explore this village we have never heard of. The small peninsula of Rheinau is home to a former monastery with a magnificent church in the middle, a pretty chapel and an extensive garden. We sit at the riverside peacefully, looking at the calm, dark-green flow of the water while having our second round of sandwiches and sweets. I am completely enchanted by this beautiful Rheinau!
From Rheinau it is just about 10 km back through asparagus fields and lush woods to the point of origin, Alten…