My Appenzell weekend (and cows)

 

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One of my favorite weekends this summer was when we went to Appenzell. This magical like place in Northeastern Switzerland. Jenny had picked the route and I met her friend Becca during the trip, who I ended up being pretty good friends with during the summer. It was a lovely weekend for the trip and early in the morning we took the train towards St. Gallen . We were going to to hike up to Seealpsee lake and have a brief picnic and swim before hiking to the top and taking the last gondola down. Becca & Jenny slept most of the way and they missed a beautiful views. 

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But who can blame them? The life of an intern is hard.  ;)

The fluidity of Jenny’s well-organized hike would later deceive me into thinking that I could just get dropped off at the train and start hiking. When I would try to organize a hike later, I realized I have to actually remember what the route is called and how to get to it…especially if my phone stops working. But alas, another tale for another day. We got off the train and Jenny led the way to the start of our trail. We were already pretty stunned by the mountains around us, but it got better.

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We’re getting quite close to approaching the lake in the picture above. This very iconic mountain that I would later recognize on their beer labels. But what we were definitely aware of was the amount of cows! During the whole hike, we could here their cow bells echoing even if we couldn’t see them. Even sometimes we would be quite high up and there’d be a little building and we’d hear the ringing of nearby cows.

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These cows do some great things for the milk, cheese, and chocolate in Switzerland. We saw this adorable little building offering milk shakes and of course we had to have a glass. I’m lactose intolerant, but I thought that the freshness of the milk from the kind-hearted Swiss surely would be better. Less chemicals, happier cows, etcetera. One strawberry milkshake, please!

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Well, ok, for one thing: Milkshake apparently does not mean milk shaked with ice-cream in Appenzell. It’s kind of like stirring flavoring in with very fresh milk. Doesn’t it look simply delicious on a warm summer day?! Just surrounded by the mountain air on a perfectly clear day?

Another thing is that fresh milk actually has more lactose than commercial milk. I was in so much physical pain from this drink that day and for almost a week afterwards that I thought something was seriously wrong with me. I don’t know how I even made it work. On Monday & Tuesday. I remember I just curled up in bed after work and tried to sleep. It wasn’t until after I got better that I realized that it was from the milk because I would associate such an innocent-looking glass of milk with crippling pain. I eat cheese all the time, but probably drinking a full glass of milk after years of not drinking milk during a hike was a bad idea.

I digress.

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You remember this don’t you? I posted during the month we actually went. Isn’t it just too picturesque to actually exist? The water was so blue and beautiful. We did end up swimming for a very little bit, but it was actually a pretty mild day and even cooler by the lake. It was like swimming in refrigerated water. We were all squealing with the bitter cold, making the people next to us giggle. One of their little boys was completely naked playing the water! You can get used to water that cold if you just stay in long enough, which I did, but I still only stayed in for a bit before joining the Jenny & Becca for a nice picnic of cheese, tomatoes, and fruit next to the lake while we listened to some music. I guess I would rather be cool while I’m hiking for hours than swim though.

After a little over an hour we needed to carry on so that we could make the gondola. After a steep hike where I was trailing behind an impressive distance, we came upon this adorable little building with puppies, bunnies, and sheep. It was right next to a restaurant further up. You can see someone in red on the porch in this picture. We were really baffled why there was a building this high up in the mountains. For me, at least, it’s always like we’re heading it to this pristine nature that seems like you have to prepare all day for. But Switzerland makes the mountains so accessible. The trails are always so well-maintained and well-marked. And, anyone who wants to go this restaurant can just take the gondola up from the train stop. Wouldn’t that be lovely if we were able to do that everyday?

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It was so lovely at the top. I was reminded of The Sound of Music. Overlooking all the other houses near by. The atmosphere fading the the green grass of the mountains into different blues. How does it do something that beautiful when its such a bright green beneath your feet? Here’s a picture of Jenny taking it all in. Oh, and yes, there were cows at the top. They don’t even know how good they have it.

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I think we made the second-to-last Gondola. And down we go!

‘Til next time (maybe next year!), faithful reader.

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