Girls' Day Trip to Stein am Rhein

Like Bern, Stein am Rhein had long been on my list of places to visit. So, when Cindy suggested we take a day trip together somewhere -- my choice -- the first place that came to mind was this little gem on the Rhine River. Located in tiny canton Schaffhausen, a train ride to Stein am Rhein takes only an hour and forty-five minutes each way from my little town of Au. Perfect! We didn't have to get started too early, and I still made it home in time to have dinner with Isaiah!

Although this village is quite small, we managed to fill the day with a hike (I use that term loosely because really it only takes a half hour from the old town -- but remember, I have a bad ankle) up to the castle, lunch, a visit to the cloister museum, a scoop of ice cream, and a stop at the cheese shop.

What makes Stein am Rhein so attractive to visitors is the main square with its half-timbered houses, frescoed facades, and stone or wooden oriels. (By the way, "half-timbered" and "oriel" are new additions to my vocabulary since moving to Switzerland a year and a half ago, as every guidebook I've read mentions these features over and over again.) Many of the paintings, including those covering the Rathaus, were completed in the late 19th century to early 20th century and tell some kind of historical (such as the grand arrival of some presumably important person), literary, or biblical story, though the houses themselves date back to as early as the 15th century.


View from Castle Hohenklingen

If you don't have a guidebook, I recommend stopping by the tourist information center and picking up a free map. It includes details about the frescoed buildings.

Steinerner Trauben: The fresco to the left depicts Joshua and Caleb with grapes from the land of milk and honey

The Kloster St. Georgen was a Benedictine abbey (from approximately 1000 to the 1500s -- and under various periods of construction during that time) before it was taken over by Zurich and eventually came into private hands. Now a museum, Cindy and I were able to tour the grounds of the monastery, peeking into rooms that were once monks' dormitories. If you pay the cloister museum a visit, and you don't read German, be sure to ask the clerk for the booklet with an English translation of the displays.

Kind of creepy!
Banquet Hall - frescoes commissioned by the last abbot to govern the monastery in the early 16th century
The cloister
The only vaulted gallery of the cloister
On the Rhein
The houses on the river are part of the old town. If you look in the upper right corner of the photo you'll see the castle. It wasn't too far away from town, but it was ALL uphill. Ugh.

(Day trips, Monday morning ladies' breakfasts -- I could get used to this whole "housewife" thing! Sadly, with our move back to California fast approaching, along with my subsequent return to teaching, my life as a housewife will soon be just a memory. Sigh. Better enjoy it while it lasts!)


  1. I love the buildings! You are lucky to have a this so near by, like you said perfect for a daytrip! I actually felt I was right there looking up at the castle. Enjoy your 'housewife' time while it lasts. (question, is this due to your bad ankle) as you can tell I haven't been reading much since I'm on vacation. internet is hard to come by here in midwest! LOL

  2. Hi Amanda,
    You've done a grand job on Stein am Rhein! I was there with my daughter about 10 days ago - first time for me too. We sat and had drinks outside the "grapes" place and my daughter pointed out that fresco to me - not the historical content or the beauty of the painting, but "look at those men carrying that huge bunch of grapes". We didn't do the castle, I'm ashamed to say - yes, a lovely place.
    What's this about your housewifedom coming to an end???

  3. Hi Elisa and Vicky - Thanks for your comments! I edited the post to include more specific information about the end of my days as a housewife. After all, the only person who reads this blog and remembers every detail of my life is my mom! We're moving back to San Diego in 2 months and I will start teaching again at the end of July. Excited to be in the classroom again, but kind of mourning the loss of all this free time! Ho hum...

  4. guess where i'm heading tomorrow ! stein am rhein and schaffhausen (and maybe the falls too)... so i came right to your blog, remembering reading about both places. i've got the ice cream shop in schaffhausen noted down of course ! :)

    hope everything is going great on your end, getting ready for the big move i bet !! i hope it all goes as smooth as possible.

  5. Hi Kerrin! I hope you enjoyed your trip!


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