Just north of Lago di Como is Lago Lugano – a beautiful emerald lake surrounded by ever increasing mountains. We have travelled this way before and found it just the same – a tiny little office in a tunnel on the east side of the lake marks the border and then… we were in Switzerland! What follows is the road we remember most from our last trip – the steady climb in elevation, with hairpin turn switchbacks and staggering views, both looking above at the mountain peaks and then gazing below into the valleys.
We stopped for lunch in Bellinzona and treated ourselves to our first Swiss meal – schnitzelbrot! It was so delicious (and we were so hungry!) that we ate it before I could snap a picture… We will have to savour the memory.
One of my favourite things about this trip is something I have noticed every time I have done it, by car or train. The landscape and structures shift gradually from the stone common in Italy to the wooden style seen all over Switzerland. (I noticed this as we drove from South to North in Slovenia too…)
We managed to drive through three countries today (only in Europe…) as the highway on the east side of Switzerland passes through the western edge of Lichtenstein. We also had a tiny glimpse of Germany, just before turning off the highway and following the winding twisting narrow and exhilarating back road (via Oberriet) to Eggerstanden.
We remembered it very well from our last trip, and it is still one of the most scenic and lovely roads I have ever travelled, but I barely had a chance to take a photo as we needed all eyes glued to the road to navigate cyclists, hairpin turns, cliff faces, mountain goats, cows, sheep, errant farm vehicles and speeding locals – yikes!
We were in Appenzell by 9am and spent an hour wandering in and out of the shops – they are a charming collection of souvenirs and specialties which entertained us all. In spite of the rain it was as lovely as ever. The windows and flowers and colourful paint become a sort of living art work. (A ton of pictures – I couldn’t resist!)
For our ongoing scavenger hunt: windows and doors…
Art is in every direction…
When we had taken enough photos we went into the Appenzell Museum to see some of the cultural history and traditions on display. It was amazing! I am so glad that we made it for the last bit of our morning as I have missed it on my previous two visits. There are six floors and each one is filled with interesting exhibits: art, furniture, tools, toys, clothing and religious objects – it gives a great overview of the different aspects of life here in northeast Switzerland.
Before leaving Appenzell we had just enough time to stop at the brewery – too bad they were just closing up for the lunch break, as beer is one of Mr. Martini’s hobbies. We stopped off in the gift shop for a few souvenirs – next visit we will try to have a tour.
Tomorrow: Eggerstanden, Ebenalp, and Eggli Restaurant. Hope you can stop by to see the (many more) pictures!