Steve and I spent a very relaxing two weeks in Switzerland this September. We traveled the first two weeks of September last year as well, and find those weeks to be the perfect combination of good weather and diminished crowds. Problem is that those weeks are also very pleasant at home and we miss out, but we’d rather have good weather on holiday and crummy weather at home.
The 29th (Saturday) was an easy travel day. We had an early afternoon flight – we just don’t do crazy early flights if they can be avoided. We arrived to Zurich around 5pm and took the train to Appenzell. We stayed at the Hotel Appenzell, which we would highly recommend. The room was the nicest we had the whole trip, and our room had a beautiful view of the town square and the hills beyond.
On the 30th we took a short train ride to Ebenalp to catch the lift up for hiking.
This was our first day, and we were ‘taking it easy’ to see how I would do. I was about 4 months pregnant at the start of the trip and not out of the exhausted phase yet. I was slower than normal, but generally felt very well. We wished we had brought our serious hiking boots almost immediately. We had left them at home thinking that we wouldn’t use them since we were taking it easy, but we would have been much happier even on the flat trails as they are quite uneven.
We hiked along the ridge over to a farm as a destination. At that point you could see the next mountain hut, Schafler, glistening in the sun.
We decided to give it a go, going as slow as I needed to. We are glad we did as we had many excellent views and the walk wasn’t bad at all. Yes, we got passed a lot, but speed was not the goal. The grazing animals made for good company.
At the top we were rewarded with something to eat and the first of many good apple juices and ciders we’d have on the trip. The non-alcoholic apple juices are produced by the brewing companies that make the hard cider, and they are lightly carbonated (generally). They are extremely good.
We walked back down to the top of the lift and had to decide to take the lift down or walk down. We decided to walk as there was a cave and hut on the way we wanted to see. The cave and hut were quite a sight, the hut would be an amazing place to stay the night, but only if you were a VERY light packer and could schlep your bag up and down the trail from the top of the lift (you could just take a day pack up and leave your bigger bags at the train station at the bottom of the lift).
It was at the cave where we heard our first English of the trip. This was a surprise to go 24 hours in Switzerland without hearing ANY English.
On the way down we did pass some people, including a family with an incredibly whiney 11 or 12-year-old boy. I can’t remember if he was whingeing in English or some other language, but the sound of a too-big kid whining is universal.
An hour or so later as we were STILL walking down, we were doubting the decision to walk it and REALLY missing our hiking boots, but remembering how unsightly it is to whine we kept our frustration to ourselves. We were so happy when we finally got down. We could hardly walk at this point, not from exertion but from using all those wierd leg muscles you only use downhill, that hadn’t been used in a very long time. It would be 4 days until I could go down stairs without pain…
So, tally for the day, 280 metres of climbing and 1058 metres of descent. Not bad for an old preggers woman, eh?
PS: Yes, I know these blog posts are slow in coming, but I’m pregnant and we’ve both had the flu since. Please forgive us. If you’re nice I might even put up posts from LAST year’s trip to Spain and Greece.