If it wasn't for James Watt, the world would be missing out on Greif, the Little Steamboat That Could!
To be precise, James Watt did not exactly invent the steam engine, but he vastly improved its functions. It was only thanks to this clever engineer's improvements that steam engines and steamboats were able to flourish.
Remnants of the age of industrialization can still be found all across Switzerland. There are the converted factory buildings which now house fancy loft apartments or platforms for culture and arts. Or rail tracks which are used infrequently for excursions on antique trains. Even the majestic steamboats on Lake Lucerne, Lac Léman or Lake Zurich present a window into the past.
And then there are Greif and Heimat, two lovely little steamboats on Lake Greifensee near Zürich.
DS Greif - The Oldest Steamboat in Switzerland
When we keep our apartment’s windows open on a sunny weekend, a charming "choo!" sounds can be heard about once an hour as one of the steamboats docks in Greifensee.
The history of Greif has its beginnings in 1895. This is the year when the steamboat was being commissioned by Escher-Wyss, the most prominent Swiss shipbuilder at the time.
Some readers surely have been to Zürich's Schiffbau to attend a concert at Moods or to see a play at the outpost of the Schauspielhaus? Well, the name says it all: Schiffbau was the very building where Greif was built! At 119 years of age, she is currently the oldest steamboat fired with coal which is still in operation in Switzerland.
And the best part about DS Greif? The Sunday route from April through October costs only 15 francs. So if you want to hitch a ride from Maur, Greifensee or Niederuster across this pristine lake, just get a ticket onboard and you are ship ahoy!
But please, grant good ol' Greif some extra time, because you will be floating at 19th century speeds...
(Photographs courtesy of Harry, greifensee-der-see.ch)