Saturday 9th of July Bulach to Stein am Rhein

Was a bit worried about navigation for today. Had paid for a room in Stein am Rhien, at great expense, so had to get there, and although I knew the towns I was supposed to go through I didn't have an actual route. To make things worse the internet access in the hotel last night was very intermittent and the inability to find an official route online made me more nervous. In the end, with the limited internet available, google maps allowed me to generate a route, take a screen save as a map, and give me confidence that, even if it wasn't the right route, at least I would get there.

As I understand it the official route goes Bülach, Freienstein, Irchel, Ober-Buch, Dorf, Großandelfingen, Truttikon and Oberstammheim to Stein am Rhein. I ended up going via Neftenbach and Adelfingen. Not sure which is longer or better but I started at 7 and got to Stein am Rhein at 5.30, a 44 kilometre walk.

If it wasn't for the fact that I generated an alternative route, and then started to use it, I could have stuck with the correct route and got to Stein am Rhein without a map. The signs are amazing and there really does seem to be a waymarked network of footpaths in Switzerland that both connects all the significant settlements and is integrated with public transport. So when I got to Adelfingen, which I guess is about 20 kilometres from Stein am Rhien, Stein am Rhien was signed along with all the settlements in between. I did miss a turn once but instead of retracing my steps I just went to the next settlement and went on a slightly different route to the same destination.

It wasn't a bad walk either, more hard surfaces than I have got used to, but much better than I was expecting.

Out of the mountains Switzerland feels like the London greenbelt. Lots of very prosperous towns with strips of intensely, almost manicured countryside in between.

The architecture in the villages is now more German and Gothic. Lots of timber framed houses with the integration of farm houses with cattle housing inside the villages particularly interesting. The fact that cattle are still accommodated inside villages is perhaps one measure of the extent of agriculture subsidies in this country, another is the number of new tractors.

Typically village centre farm

Things that struck me in particular today was the enclosed bridge over the river just past Adelfingen (shades of the "The Bridges of Madison County"); the tendency to put faces on the sunflowers (shades of little weed in "Bill and Ben the Flower Pot Men") and the naked man on the side of the river.

Covered bridge

Smiling sun flower

The naked man was hiding behind a bush, I was eating my lunch on a bench near the bush and he decided to reveal himself once he knew I was there for a few minutes. Did not help my digestion. Couldn't help but notice that he had a full body tan which is definitely something I can't claim.

Stein am Rhien is a gorgeous place, seriously German Gothic. Will have a proper look tomorrow when my feet have recovered. People were swimming in the river which can't be as treacherous as it looks.

If it wasn't for the expense, and the dodgy food, Switzerland would be the absolutely perfect place for walkers. The Hotel I'm staying in tonight has an Indian restaurant. It was busy, but had half the menu and was twice the price of any equivalent in the UK. I got one soggy popodom to start with and it went down hill from there on in.

Huge thunderstorm at the moment, was lucky that I had only had one when I was on the walk and was able to find shelter.


  1. Hi John,

    Big walk of 44 km and still ok? You are doing well! The big days can really be punishing after a day or so but note you took it easy following this walk. What is the marking of the E4? Are they leaving plenty of signs or is it still just a guess as to the direction?


    Rob Watts

  2. Hi Rob

    Very few signs for the E4, at the beginning at end of the Jura Howenweg, none at all where I am now just to the South of the Rhine.

    Best wishes


  3. I had to Google 'Bill and Ben the Flower Pot Men' - but I see what you mean!

    That Indian sounds horrendous. Bet you're craving some of my good cooking, or even Mum's meat and two veg.