away in appenzellerland

Next week we will be chasing the last of summer to Turkey’s Bodrum peninsula where today’s weather forecast “plentiful sunshine.” We have planned a week of nearly nothing except beach time along the Aegean and will end with a few days wandering the sights in Istanbul. I cannot think of anything I need more than this to top of my summer as Zürich’s summer forecast was essentially plentiful rain.

Luckily, our Pacific Northwest heritage helped us survive even the rainiest of days this summer without too much complaint, especially since we were cozy in our apartment listening to the sounds of the rain falling on our skylights. The many days of inclement weather also inspired us to take advantage of every break in the clouds, whether to explore new sights around Switzerland or just lounge on the terrace.

DSC02116-4It was during these moments of sunshine earlier this summer that we set out to explore a new region of Switzerland: Appenzellerland. The green rolling hills, classic Swiss pastoral setting, and panoramic views have clearly been on my Swiss to do list for a few years (as originally mentioned in this post) and I was especially interested after a friend explored there last fall and confirmed its beauty. So a few days after my family arrived in July we headed off for a day adventuring in Appenzell.

As we were exploring with a baby in tow, our plan for the day was focused on finding the best views and doing a little exploring without too much intense hiking. We decided on Ebenalp as it is one of the classic sights, provided for easy access up a gondola, and had a short loop around the top passing through a cave, small mountain chapel, hermitage, and the quaint Aescher Gasthaus perched on the cliff’s edge where we had a small lunch and rested up mid-hike with some mountain cheese sandwiches.

Valerie and baby Anna were super troopers, and the picturesque green rolling hills punctuated with steep cliff sides made the trek well worth it.

After our hike and ride back down the gondola, we rested up (some more than others) and stretched out while waiting for the train back to Appenzell town.

We ended the day with a refreshing ice cream stop and a loop around the colorfully painted town, all while enjoying the strong scent of Appenzell cheese from the nearby factory, before heading back home.

Unfortunately Martin missed this excursion, but we had so much fun that we went back for another afternoon this summer and stopped by the Appenzell Schaukäserei (show cheese dairy) to see how the cheese is made. It was a spectacular sight to see so many wheels of cheese stacked for aging.

All in all, Appenzell was definitely worth the visit and I am hoping to go back for some more hiking and exploring this fall. In the meantime, I’m still snacking on the special varieties of cheese and thinking of all the happy cows grazing on those rolling hills.

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