After my short trip to Interlaken, I returned to Zurich for a couple of days. Having only touched the surface a few days ago, I was looking forward to seeing a bit more of the city and its surrounds.
Before leaving home I'd booked a full day tour to the Appenzell region, about 90 minutes from Zurich. Arriving at the meeting point to start the tour, I was pleasantly surprised that I was one of only four passengers on the tour - two Aussies (myself and another lady from Melbourne) and an Indian lady and her son.
Our driver/guide, Heinz, provided an interesting commentary as we headed to our first stop, the Lindt Chocolate Shop in Altendorf, about 35 minutes from Zurich. Tours of the factory itself are not allowed but that didn't worry us as we were more intent on sampling and buying the end products! The range of chocolates available was much larger than the few Lindt varieties we are able to buy in Australia, so it was hard to decide which ones to purchase. Passionfruit centres, coconut, choc chip ... the varities were endless ... but I decided on a few that I'm sure the family will love and Heinz kindly stored them in a cool box in the back of our van for the remainder of the day.
From Altendorf we headed to Stein in the Appenzell region to visit the Schaukaserei (Appenzell Cheese Factory). On 364 days of the year Appenzell cheese is produced here and visitors can follow the production line through huge glass windows. Unfortunately, the day we visited was the one day of the year that production wasn't taking place but an informative video shown in the cinema gave a great overview of the production procedure and the area itself. We were then able to sample the different varieties of Appenzell cheese which was very tasty.
About 20 minutes after leaving Stein, we arrived in the village of Appenzell, capital of the region. The Canton of Appenzell Innerrhoden is one of the most conservative in all of Switzerland and it wasn't until the early 1990's that women were given the right to vote - and that was only after the Federal Court forced the Canton to change their laws. The Appenzeller are proud of their strong farming traditions and proudly wear their traditional costumes at any opportunity.
After a brief chat from Heinz about the village, we were on our own to explore Appenzell. We had a few hours to have lunch, admire the beautifully painted buildings and the pretty streets, and shop for souvenirs. The village is surrounded by rolling hills with typically Swiss chalet-style houses dotted everywhere you look. The cows, which provide their milk for Appenzell cheese, complete with cow bells, add to the delightful scenery.
We returned to Zurich around 7pm after a very enjoyable day learning more about the region, discovering the charming village of Appenzell and sampling some delicious chocolates and cheese. What more could you ask for?
Video: A quick look at the beautiful old town of Appenzell
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