While living at Bären – Das Gästehaus, we had daily adventure options ranging from cycling, horse riding, mountain biking, visits to cheese making factories and museums and of course long alpine walks. Other than for it’s mouthwatering Appenzeller cheese, this region is very well known among the Swiss for easy walks along breathtakingly beautiful high plateau paths and treks through the rich alpine flora to stunning summit points and lakes.
We set off early one morning to Ebenalp. A hiking paradise near the Wildkirchli Caves. For those who choose to stay in the Appenzell canton for more than 3 days, a free travel pass is handed to you when you check into your choice of accommodation. We took the train from Gais to Wasserauen and then rode at no charge on the aerial cableway to Ebenalp. On reaching the station at the summit we were in awe as we had stunning all-round views of the Appenzell, St. Gallen and Thurgau hills. We caught a glimpse of Lake Constance as well as views of the Aslpstein mountain range to the south and west.
From the summit we then began our easy hike to the Wildkirchli caves and then onward to Ascher. When you emerge from the cave you walk past a church built in the rock. You stop to pray and then continue to Ascher, a guesthouse built into the side of a mountain during the 19th century. The locals call it “Berggasthaus” which means a Mountain-Guesthouse. It is popular with backpackers as for accommodation it offers a Matratzenlager or dormitory. The kitchen at Ascher is best known for it’s potato rosti. We sat ourselves down, ordered our meals of wurst, rosti and fresh salad and as we waited for our lunch to be served we soaked in the breath taking scenery. The rosti did not disappoint and lived up to the hype we heard from some of the friendly locals who had spent the night at Ascher. A layer of fog set in while we were finishing lunch but thankfully it did not last long. As the fog lifted, we saw the magical rays of the afternoon sun dance on the surface of a lake in the distance. A lake so blue, so captivatingly beautiful that we were instantly drawn toward it. Seealpsee. From Ebenalp which is 1644 meters high, we were told that the hike to Seealpsee which is at a height of 1143 meters, would be challenging but worth it. An hours walk to paradise we were told.
Rested and fed we were prepared for the challenging trek and did not regret it for a minute. The walk down the mountain path although testing, was visually very appealing. Hand gliding and paragliding enthusiasts were seen drifting with the wind, dotting the side of the hills with their colourful chutes. When we reached the bottom we saw bright yellow fields of rapeseeds in the valley and soon came upon the cobalt, cerulean blue waters of the Seealpsee lake. The lake instantly intoxicates you with it’s magnificence. The silence at the lake is electric and you feel much at peace, almost in sync with the calm surface of the lake.
We didn’t want to leave and decided to spend some time soaking in the loveliness of Seealpsee. We held hands and walked around the lake, sat on the banks of the lake and allowed our minds to drift off in the direction of the light mountain breeze. At some point we decided to dip our feet into the ice cold crystal clear water. It was instantly rejuvenating. Embracing the moment and etching it in our forever memory slots, we reluctantly got up to leave as the sun started to set. We opted for the easier trek route down to Wasserauen from where we caught our train to our home for the week in Gais.