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Appenzell: A taste of traditional Switzerland

cowbells, Hampi Fassler’s shop, Appenzell, Switzerland
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cowbells, Hampi Fassler’s shop, Appenzell, Switzerland

One of our favorite places in Switzerland is the traditional Appenzell, in the eastern part of Switzerland, south of Lake Constance. It is hill country at its finest and best known for its colorfully painted wooden buildings, the musical sounds of yodelers, dulcimers, giant-sized cowbells, and alphorns, and dairy farmers.

Appenzell, Switzerland
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Appenzell, Switzerland

The canton, or federal state of the Swiss Confederation, is divided between the larger, Protestant, and more industrial Appenzell Ausserrhoden to the north and west and the Catholic, traditional, and agricultural Appenzell Innerrhoden to the south.

pharmacy, Appenzell, Switzerland
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Lowen Pharmacy, Appenzell, Switzerland

In 1991, the Swiss Supreme Court forced Appenzell Innerrhoden to grant women the right to voting locally, a process that takes place with in an open-air parliament held outdoors in the historic town square, Landsgemeindeplatz, by the raising of hands.

voting square, Appenzell, Switzerland
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Appenzell, Switzerland

voting square, Appenzell, Switzerland
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voting square, Appenzell, Switzerland

Our hotel , the Hofweissbad Appenzell und Gesundheit, is a resort and spa.

Hofweissbad Appenzell und Gesundheit, Weissbad, Switzerland
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Hof Weissbad Hotel, Appenzell und Gesundheit, Weissbad, Switzerland

 our guest room at the Hofweissbad, Weissbad, Switzerland
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our guest room at the Hof Weissbad in Weissbad, Switzerland

It was beautifully renovated in 2009 and with wellness facilities for restoring and maintaining good health (gesundheit) and several fine dining options, as well.

Hof Weissbad, Switzerland
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Hof Weissbad, Switzerland

It is a short walk from the train station in picture-perfect Weissbad, which is a short train ride from Appenzell.

chapel and house, Weissbad, Switzerland
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chapel and house, Weissbad, Switzerland

Their breakfast buffet is a showcase of local cheeses, meats, eggs, beverages, and mueslis. Dinner might include the tender local Kalb-Bier, inspired by Japan’s Kobe-Beef. Professional cheesemakers demonstrate traditional techniques four days a week.

salad, Hotel Hof Weissbad
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salad, Hotel Hof Weissbad

soup, Hotel Hof Weissbad
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soup, Hotel Hof Weissbad

 

 

 

 

 

 

dinner at the Hofweissbad, Weissbad, Switzerland
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dinner at the Hotel Hof Weissbad

dessert at the Hofweissbad, Weissbad, Switzerland
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dessert at the Hotel Hof Weissbad

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Most area accommodations also provide an Appenzell Card with stays of three or more nights, good for local transport and attractions such as museum and pool admissions, a cheese-tasting, a toboggan run, an audio walk, and a bicycle rental. Both the Town Hall and Baroque parish church, Kirche St. Mauritius (Moritz), were built in the 16th century.

Appenzell. Switzerland
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Appenzell. Switzerland

The Tourism Office on Appenzell’s main street, Hauptgasse, offers all the usual information about the area as well as guided tours, some of which include a taste of local foods. They can also book a yodeling lesson with someone like Thomas Sutter.

clock tower, Appenzell
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clock tower, Appenzell

yodeling lesson, Appenzell, Switzerland
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yodeling lesson, Appenzell, Switzerland

Though I’ll never be a good yodeler, I discovered a knack for Talerschwingen, spinning a 5 franc coin in one of the three different-size milk bowls to add an accompanying hum.

cream bowl, part of a yodeling lesson, Switzerland
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cream bowl, part of a yodeling lesson, Switzerland

The Appenzell Museum, a showcase of area culture and traditions, including its colorful costumes collection, is inside Town Hall.

ladies' traditional costume, Appenzell Museum, Switzerland
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ladies’ traditional costume, Appenzell Museum

beautifully painted bed, Appenzell Museum, Switzerland
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beautifully painted bed, Appenzell Museum, Switzerland

Appenzell Museum, Switzerland
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traditional painting. Appenzell Museum, Switzerland

The pedestrian-only part of the town is lined with shops featuring local arts and crafts like the lace and embroidery that is part of a cottage industry.

traditional lace, Appenzell Museum, Switzerland
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traditional lace, Appenzell Museum, Switzerland

Löwen Pharmacy and other buildings are colorfully painted to indicate the products inside or perhaps a significant cultural or historical event.

Lowen Pharmacy, Appenzell, Switzerland
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Lowen Pharmacy, Appenzell, Switzerland

Colorful metal signs are crafted in shapes that indicate shops, restaurants, services, and studios of local craftsmen inside.

Appenzell Hotel, Switzerland
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Appenzell Hotel, Switzerland

bed sheet sign, Appenzell, Switzerland
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bed sheet sign, Appenzell, Switzerland

handyman sign, Appenzell
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handyman sign, Appenzell

A small chocolate bar emblem at the Bazar Hersh is a reminder that Milton Hershey’s family came from Appenzell.

Hershey building, Appenzell, Switzerland
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Hershey building, Appenzell, Switzerland

Appenzell is known for it high quality hand crafted products,

gold jewelry, Appenzell
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gold jewelry, Appenzell

Huge cowbells on elaborately decorated straps hang in the window of Hampi Fässler ‘s shop. His other hand crafted metalwork products include traditional leather shoes belts and suspenders, hand crafted by this family for seven generations.

Hampi Fassler’s shop, Appenzell, Switzerland
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Hampi Fassler’s shop, Appenzell, Switzerland

Dog collars have become increasingly popular.

dog collar, Hampi Fassler's shop, Appenzell
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dog collar, Hampi Fassler’s shop, Appenzell

Hotel Adler’s Haus Bakerei is a popular stop for freshly baked treats like birnebrot or birnweggen (pear bread), biberlis (gingerbread filled with marzipan) , or Appenzeller Chäsflade (cheese bread). Hotel Adler is in a house from 1562 and has a restaurant and special fondue area, as well as accommodations.

mold formaking biberlis, Appenzell
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mold formaking biberlis, Appenzell

marzipan in the making of biberlis, Appenzell
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marzipan in the making of biberlis, Appenzell

biberlis, Appenzell, Switzerland
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biberlis, Appenzell, Switzerland

Hazelnut turnovers known as chrempfli are another traditional favorite.

chrempfli, Bakerei Chremfli, Appenzell
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chrempfli, Bäkerei Chremfli, Appenzell

Mösler’s is one of the best places to discover the unique flavors of the spicy Appenzeller cheese.—classic, surchoix, or extra—made with a secret mixture of 42 herbs .

Mösler's cheese shop, Appenzell
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Mösler’s cheese shop, Appenzell

Mösler's cheese shop, Appenzell
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Mösler’s cheese shop, Appenzell

Appenzell is also known for its variety of sausages like alpenklubber, Südwooscht, Schüblig mit Speckwürful, and the ever-popular Mostbröckli , raw meat preserved in salt and seasoning, smoked and dried, all found at family-run Melzey Weller’s.

Melzey Weller’s, Appenzell
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Melzey Weller’s, Appenzell

mostbröckli, Appenzell, Switzerland
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mostbröckli, Appenzell, Switzerland

Melzey Weller’s, Appenzell
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Melzey Weller’s, Appenzell

Beermaking dates to 1728, Enhance your meal with Vollmond (full moon), Weizen (wheat), or Hanfblüte (hempflower).

Appenzell beers, Switzerland
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Appenzell beers, Switzerland

Top off the day with some Appenzeller Alpenbitter, 29% alcohol, and made with—you guessed it– 42 secret herbs. Prost!

Appenzeller Alpinbitter, Appenzell
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Appenzeller Alpinbitter, Appenzell

A picturesque ride through the countryside takes you to places like Hotel Bären in nearby Schlatt, where you can have a typical Appenzell dinner made with farm fresh ingredients.

Gasthaus Baren, Appenzell, Switzerland
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Gasthaus Baren, Appenzell, Switzerland

Don’t be surprised if you have to stop for cows in the road along the way.

Swiss traffic jam
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Swiss traffic jam

Gasthaus Baren salad
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Gasthaus Baren salad

Be sure to try some local wine, like this Appenzeller Riesling.

Appenzeller Reisling, Gasthaus Baren, Switzerland
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Appenzeller Reisling, Gasthaus Baren, Switzerland

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