In many ways my week in Appenzell was a continuation of the Te Araroa hike in 2016/17. Who would have known that three years after that I would be joining one of the people I walked around two thousand kilometers with in his home town, or that there would be another TA hiker there as well?
Appenzell is a small Canton (region) in the north-eastern part of Switzerland and also a town within this Canton with only about six thousand people. But for that many people they do amazing things with their own cheese’s, whiskey’s and the largest family owned brewery in Switzerland. Its history is spectacular, its landscape is spectacular and its people are as well.
And getting there is easy. Catch a plane to Zurich, walk about two minutes to the train station and catch a train to Gossau and then a connecting train to Appenzell. At which point I would like to say a few words about Swiss transportation. Zurich airport is one of the better airports I have ever been in. The trains were so good that I took photos of them and at one point when I noticed there was a stain on my seat my first thought was that I had caused it.
Unfortunately, by the time I arrived in Appenzell I was pretty tired due to a lack of sleep the night before. This didn’t last long though as I was picked up at the station by Mr Frodo and whisked up to his family’s hut where his family, friends and Scott where sitting around a table drinking beer and schnapps celebrating the Swiss national day. There was a barbecue going with various types of sausages and meats and, weirdly, quite large explosions going on the background.
This turned out to be because of the teenagers of Appenzell having their own celebration in a field down through the forest. Part of the fun was letting off carbide bombs which was what all the noise was. In New Zealand there would have been Police showing up with the armed defenders squad. In Appenzell we sat around listening for a while and then took our beers down to look at the view from the field they were in and say hello. As soon as the adults turned up the bombs went quiet and they all came over to say hi and laugh and joke. As far as I know nobody said anything, not that I speak Appenzell dialect, and there was no feeling of disapproval or tension so maybe this happens every year? Who knows.
It was a great night though. There was singing, a small amount of yodelling and some whiskey. There was also raclette. A cheese that we fried on the barbecue and had with bread. Mr Frodo later told me that Swiss dishwashers have a special raclette setting. I think we made it home at about one thirty in the morning.