On the Swiss shore of the Untersee arm of the Lake of Constance, between Schaffhausen and Kreuzlingen, is the town of Steckborn, population nearly 4,000.
Steckborn marks the start of a 2 1/2-hour walk, east to the town of Ermatigen, called the Fable Trail.
Like many of the trails to be found in Thurgau Canton, the Fable Trail climbs hills, skirts fields, meanders through forests, follows streams and overlooks lovely scenic vistas making the effort well worthwhile, but where it differs from its competitors is that all along the trail there are large signs recounting famous fables by Aesop (c. 600 BCE), Jean de la Fontaine (1700s), Gotthard Ephraim Lessing (1800s) and Hermann Harry Schmitz (late 1900s).
Had it been desired a case could easily have been made to extend the path all the way to China, as fables are universal and their authors many, including those we don´t think of as fabulists, like Hans Christian Andersen, Ambrose Bierce, James Thurber, Leo Tolstoy, Dr. Seuss, Leonardo da Vinci and George Orwell, just to name a few.
Having too much time off and having spent too much money and having too much fun in St. Gallen in recent days (at least, according to my wife, aka She Who Must Be Obeyed) and as the weather was perfect for a stroll, I decided to go for a walk just for the sake of Walking.
The 18 signposts told tales like the Bear and the Fly, the Hare and the Tortoise, the Crow and the Fox, the Rooster and the Worm, the Bird in Borrowed Feathers…
Passed a farm with Angus-Aberdeen steers, Appenzeller barnhens, Diepholzer geese and mountain-missing goats.
In the village of Oberfruthwilen, in the window of a half-timbered house, a Pomeranian puppy mournfully pressed his nose to the glass keenly feeling the absence of his beloved masters.
On a hilly street above the centre of Ermatingen stands Ribis Fischlädeli (Ribi´s Little Fish Shop) with a hooked trout painted on the window and a boat mast and anchor thrusting out from above.
Ermatingen Secondary School is proud to present their musical Lola in June.
En route to the station is a large stork sign proudly proclaiming the birth of bouncing baby boy Santiago Danilo born on 14 May 2015.
Behind the station Angels East shows off its stonework artistry, while the cafe in the station serves a friendly coffee and Gipfel (croissant), offering the latest in tourist information and local gossip.
All seems reminiscient of my beloved Canadian classic, Stephen Leacock´s Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town.
Much like the Country Mouse would say, who needs Paris when all you need is right here in Thurgau Canton?