Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Appenzeller Land

It's been a while since the whole family got to take a day trip somewhere together. This past weekend we packed up and ventured out to see Appenzell, a small town on the East side of Switzerland. The weather has been so dreary in Zurich since about October of last year. We were so excited to finally see some sun. So, with cameras in hand and Stella on the lease we caught the train and waved goodbye for an afternoon of cheese, dog collars, and cowbells.

I am sure I have said this before, but East Switzerland is awesome. This is the really traditional part of the country where things haven't changed since way before your time...ok, maybe more like they haven't changed much. It has that small town feel where everyone walks the streets smiling, saying "Grüezi" like they actually mean it. Plus, its got those rolling hills that go on forever, with cows grazing on the greenest grass you've ever seen, and then the Alps in the background still with a little snow at the very peaks. Sehr schön.

First thing to do was to make sure and grab lunch before 2pm when everything magically closes until dinner time. We of course order from the section "Appenzeller Spezialität". I end up with a plate of cheese, a piece of bread hidden under all this käse, and an egg on top. I am not complaining. How could a plate of cheese not taste good? Josh got the standard Appenzeller Schnitzel mit Butternudeln, again smothered with a hunk of cheese.

Afterwards, we waddled the streets window shopping looking for these special, handmade dog collars that are from this part of Switzerland. We found the greatest store where the owner was hammering away at the metals cows that line the collar. Too bad they didn't have a pug-sized collar with a narrow width but a longer length to fit around their chunky necks. No fancy, Swiss collar for Stinky (insert frown here). She would look so cute in one. I should have gotten her a little cow bell instead or a pair of suspenders from Joshie.

Also on my list of cool Swiss things to own is an authentic cowbell, like one of the huge ones we saw at the Alpabfahrt last year. All worn and crazy heavy with the colorful leather belt. Too bad we stumbled upon a store after they already closed up shop at 4pm. Yep, 4pm on a Saturday. Now that is Switzerland for you. Who cares about making a sale. Gotta get home to the family.

Even without bringing any souvenirs home, it felt good to get out of Z-town and discover something new. This is definitely the life of an expat. Gotta take in every minute that you've got here!

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