One Sunday morning in September, I found myself with an entire day completely open before a late night flight from Zurich. Idly leafing through a book about Lake Constance in a kiosk, the page for Stein-am-Rhein just popped open. I had never heard the name before, but knew immediately I had to see it. So I hopped on the first train going that way.
To get from Stein-am-Rhein’s railway station to the town proper, you must cross the Rhine. Luckily, I took a roundabout route – exploring the riverside and the quaint little alleys before I discovered Rathausplatz, the Market Square. After seeing that, it would have been hard to appreciate anything else.
The little square is considered the loveliest in all of Switzerland, and that’s saying something.
Ancient buildings covered in colourful frescoes surround the square. I ambled about staring at the walls, frequently bumping into strangers, all as distracted as I was. Everywhere, busy cameras buzzed. Like a celebrity had surprisingly popped out of a limo or something.
If you’re ever in Stein-am-Rhein, take your time examining the frescoes in detail. I promise you’re in for a delight – and a few surprises.
Over here, two women in medieval costume chat pleasantly. Innocent enough… until you notice one of them is holding a severed man’s head in her hands.
Over there, a naked woman is carrying a child. An endearing scene… until you spot her hooves and the tail sticking out from her plump bottom.
I had planned on staying an hour or so – but four hours later I was still walking around, bumping into people. Sadly, I had a plane to catch. Otherwise, this would have been a wonderful place to spend the night, hang at a pleasant Weinstube (pub), drink red wine and make up stories about the frescoes.
Update: For more on the fab frescoes of Stein-am-Rhein, see my article on Boots’n'All.