We spent one night in the Appenzell region. Before going to our lodge on Ebenalp, we did the barefoot walk. We planned to do a lot more hiking here, but the weather did not cooperate with these plans, and some of the trails we were looking forward to were closed due to avalanches. The full album can be seen by clicking the picture below.
Raul and Lauren originally had hopes for a five-hour hike today on Ebenalp. Last night, however, they found out that several trails were closed due to an avalanche last week. They had decided to have a go on some trails which were open, but as luck would have it, a thick cloud enveloped the mountaintop all morning, making it impossible to hike a great distance. And since clouds are full of moisture, it would have been an unpleasantly wet trek in any case.
After dining on a breakfast of bread, jams, and the regional Appenzeller cheese, they decided then to simply walk back up to the mountain summit to take the cable car down to the train station and thence proceed on to their next destination, Luzern.
Signage on the trails gives approximate lengths of hikes in minutes, but with the weight of their backpacks, it took Lauren and Raul double the posted time to navigate the trail.
Sadly, they had put off taking many pictures the previous night thinking they would take them in better light the next day. The joke was on them because the cloud cover resulted in a visibility of about ten yards this morning. On the bright side, this is a reason to return here on a future trip.
Once in Luzern, they set about securing lodging for the next three nights. Despite travelling before the commencement of the high season, they are finding it surprisingly difficult to travel without reservations. Hotels they planned to patronize have often been full.
With their bags stowed at their hostel, they enjoyed a relaxing dinner on the banks of Luzern’s Reuss River and a stroll through the medieval Old Town.
On the way back to the hostel, they explored Luzern’s Rail City, an underground shopping mall at the train station, and purchased some snacks they have come to enjoy. Sadly, these will not be available to buy in the U.S., so that sucks. This is why one should not try foods which are not available where one lives. Best case, you hate it; worst case, you love it and can’t have it at home.
Also on the way home, they caught the last ten minutes of a high school soccer match. It was a close game, so the crowd was very excited and the play spirited.
|Day 08||Wednesday 23 May – ▲▲▲Happy Anniversary!||Luzern|
|08:00||Hike Route 10, 5 hours|
Take cable car down to Wasserauen after picking up bags from Aescher
Depart Wasserauen on R 1152
Total duration: 3h 1m, trains approximately every hour
|16:06||Arrive Herisau, transfer to IR 2426|
Check in at Backpackers Luzern, S₣82 double room, no breakfast (3 nights)
Tel: +41 360-0420
Dinner at Nix in der Laterne, make reservation
Tel: +41 240-2543
Lake Luzern info
The adventurers left Salzburg with the first light of day. They wished to get to Switzerland as early as possible. Once they crossed into Switzerland, they needed to validate their Swiss Pass, which allows them to use all public transportation in Switzerland without having to buy tickets. This is extremely convenient, but they missed their connection in St. Margrethen while they waited for their pass to be validated. They arrived in Appenzell a half-hour behind schedule as a result. Still, they made time to do the Barfussweg (Barefoot Walk) and caught the last lift of the day up to Ebenalp.
The Barefoot Walk features a variety of materials on which to walk, such as large, smooth stones, sharp gravel, wood chips, grass, mud, tree stumps, and some stretches of asphalt. The path took them through farms in the Appenzeller countryside, and they were treated to a peaceful symphony of cow and goat bells ringing from all the surrounding hills. There were also stations of very cold alpine water using principles from a Swiss therapist, Sebastian Kneipp, who advocated the use of varying water temperatures and pressures for good health. Lauren and Raul think Kneipp had a good idea, for they experienced the invigorating properties of mountain water for themselves on this walk as well as in Hallstatt when they dipped their feet into a cold stream after the long hike to the waterfall.
They experienced a rarity in Swiss punctuality while travelling to the Ebenalp lift. Two trains they waited for were several minutes tardy. This is why they were on the very last lift of the day to Ebenalp. Once up on the mountain, they could only hope that Berggasthaus Äscher would have beds for them. Had they been turned away, they would have faced an arduous hike down the mountain in the fading light with all their belongings on their backs. Fortunately, there was room for them at the inn, so they unloaded and ate a hearty dinner of rösti, a traditional Swiss dish akin to hashbrowns. Raul ordered his with melted Appenzeller cheese and two fried eggs on top, while Lauren had hers plain. Raul says it’s because she’s boring. Lauren realized that Romanians eat their salad with the main course, and not before, because they don’t drink water during the meal. Lauren has learned to spread out the meager eight ounces she is given throughout a three-course dinner.
At the moment, Raul is enjoying a kaffe lutz (sp?), which is an alchemical concoction of unknown composition. It probably has some spirits and coffee in it, and it’s hot, which is good, as it is unseasonably chilly and also quite cloudy.
Berggasthaus Äscher is one of a score and eight mountain inns in the area surrounding Ebenalp which serve as a refuge for the mountain-top adventurers. Äscher is uniquely situated in and under a cliff. The cliff prominently forms the back wall of the building. They are sleeping on a mat in an upstairs space for eight to ten souls. The sleeping quarters have no external heat source. The only heating in the building is a wood-stove in the dining area. Thus, they will rely on their own bodies’ warmth to get them through the night.
|Day 07||Tuesday 22 May||Ebenalp|
Swiss rail network map
Swiss rail timetables
Ebenalp hiking map
Depart Salzburg Hauptbahnhof platform 3DF on IC 118
Total duration (to St. Margrethen): 5h 10m, €51,90
|11:38||Arrive Bregenz, transfer to platform 1AB on S 3 (Train-No. 5769)|
|12:03||Arrive St. Margrethen, transfer to platform 1 on S 2 (Train-No. 23250)|
Depart St. Margrethen
Duration: 1h 16m
|12:50||Arrive Herisau, transfer to R 1127|
|13:24||Arrive Appenzell! Find somewhere to deposit bags|
|13:33||Take train to Jakobsbad for Barefoot Walk, next train 30 minutes later|
|13:45||Barefoot Walk (Barfussweg), 1,5 hours|
|15:19||Return to Appenzell from Gontenbad, next train 30 minutes later|
|15:30||Take train to Wasserauen, next train 30 minutes later|
Take Ebenalp lift up the mountain, last lift at 17:00, S₣9,50/13,50
Hike and check in to Berggasthaus Aescher, dorm bed S₣45, cash only (1 night)
Tel: +41 071-799-1142
|16:30||Hike Route 1, 50 minutes|