Rappenlochschlucht!
and Bowser is afraid of the robot vacuum cleaner

Bowser spends about half of his awake-time here in Vorarlberg playing with water. He either goes swimming in a lake, a cold mountain stream or – with bad weather – an indoor swimming pool. Most days, however, he simply enjoys himself with a big bucket filled with water in the garden of his grandparents. We wanted to find out if he also likes to just look at water. More precisely: look at waterfalls. And so we went to the Rappenlochschlucht. Actually, it was just on our to-do-list, but I have to build a story around it somehow…

The Rappenlochschlucht is a gorge near Dornbirn, the biggest town in Vorarlberg. It’s a nice piece of nature and therefore home of several walking trails. We went there on Monday morning and walked around for about two hours. Following a huge cast iron water pipe we soon reached the actual gorge: a narrow passage between steep rocky sides. From there we walked over wooden bridges above waterfalls and climbed stairs along rocks to eventually end up at a dam with an artificial lake. A very nice walk in the shade on a hot summer morning.

We just had to follow this cast iron water pipe to get to the Rappenlochschlucht.
We just had to follow this cast iron water pipe to get to the Rappenlochschlucht.
I guess this part is the actual Rappenlochschlucht…
I guess this part is the actual Rappenlochschlucht…
…or this.
…or this.

Bowser had a good time. He walked happily beside us, singing songs, jumping around and pointing at the water shouting “water!” Now that may sound obvious and not special at all, but Bowser is still some sort of a baby, so for us parents every new word he learns is something worth bragging about. And lately he’s getting quite good at it.

There go Anna and Bowser.
There go Anna and Bowser.
Apple juice dripping on my head.
Apple juice dripping on my head.

While Bowser starts to talk more and more – or more intelligible for human beings at least – he still speaks animal language as well. Every time we feed the pigs he grunts happily with them, and also the cows are always politely greeted with a “moo”. But especially Inka, the dog of Bowser’s grandparents, is a true friend. She and Bowser share nearly everything. If Bowser doesn’t want his food anymore, he throws it on the floor so Inka can eat it. If Inka wants to go outside, Bowser opens the door for her – it’s one of his new tricks this summer – and they both run off together, barking and giggling.

Now, Bowser doesn’t do all this for free: he expects something in return. In particular Inka’s water bowl is something very interesting. Bowser can’t resist pouring all the water over the kitchen floor. He’s done this a hundred times already, but now his grandpa found the ultimate solution to prevent this from happening again: he put the robot vacuum cleaner in front of the bowl, so Bowser stays away. It works perfectly because of Bowser’s incident a few days before with the same vacuum cleaner.

He found it standing in the hallway, pressed a button because he obviously couldn’t resist, but didn’t expect what happened next: the robot started making noise and followed Bowser around. Bowser ran away screaming and is afraid of the thing ever since. Every time he sees it standing somewhere, he points at it anxiously, walks around it while keeping a fair distance and searches for my hand to hold tight. He sometimes even wakes up in complete panic at night. We think he might have nightmares about the vacuum cleaner.

The robot vacuum cleaner guarding Inka’s water bowl, protecting it from Bowser.
The robot vacuum cleaner guarding Inka’s water bowl, protecting it from Bowser.

But anyway… we didn’t take Inka, nor the robot vacuum cleaner to the Rappenlochschlucht. We did take Teresa and Ignaz, though. Ignaz is Bowser’s younger cousin and Teresa Bowser’s aunt, although Bowser himself doesn’t seem to agree with that fact and keeps calling her “oma”. I think he has a point: Teresa is a good grandma-name.

Teresa and Ignaz.
Teresa and Ignaz.

Anna and Teresa went to the Rappenlochschlucht before, but that was a very long time ago. Back then, when they were still kids, they experienced it as something very spectacular. Going back there as adults now was apparently less exciting than they remembered it to be. I liked it, though. It’s a very nice and relaxing walk, especially in the morning before the tourist crowds arrive. It looks nice too, but perhaps that’s just my humble Dutch opinion – I’m easily impressed as soon as I see rocks, mountains or waterfalls. And Ignaz? He just slept through the whole walk, so I guess he wasn’t impressed. Then again, he’s only two months old; he probably has other priorities.

Look, a spider web!
Look, a spider web!
A waterfall, and a rainbow as well! What a day!
A waterfall, and a rainbow as well! What a day!
After our two-hour walk at the Rappenlochschlucht, we drove to Dornbirn to have lunch and ice-cream.
After our two-hour walk at the Rappenlochschlucht, we drove to Dornbirn to have lunch and ice-cream.
This is where we had our lunch: the so-called Red House, built in 1639 and apparently one of the oldest buildings in town.
This is where we had our lunch: the so-called Red House, built in 1639 and apparently one of the oldest buildings in town.
Bowser looking over the main square in Dornbirn.
Bowser looking over the main square in Dornbirn.

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