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Exploring Appenzell region

Appenzell region actually consists of 2 half-cantons - Appenzell Innerrhoden and Appenzell Ausserrhoden. It is considered to be one of the most conservative areas of Switzerland. For example, women got voting rights in Appenzell Innerrhoden as late as in 1991!!!


Both Appenzells were in my cantons challenge list and I managed to visit both in one day. I decided to do a hike that starts from Appenzell District (capital of Appenzell Innerrhoden) and ends in Urnäsch (a small town in Appenzell Ausserrhoden).

Appenzell District with its colorful houses is a definite must-see. It is full of tourists and tourist shops but it is just lovely. You can try the famous products from Appenzell - pastries (Biber, Chäsflade, Chrempfli), beer, cheese, sausages etc. You can read more about it here.

After walking around in Appenzell District for a little bit, we started the hike. There is a 5-km stretch that is meant for barefoot hiking and most of there people were doing it barefoot, including us. It…
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Kartause Ittingen and Frauenfeld

I have visited another canton from my cantons challenge list - Thurgau. The destination in Thurgau was Ittingen Monasterz (Kartause Ittingen) which is not an active monastery anymore, but has a hotel, restaurant and two museums.



Museums are integrated with each other. One displays the history of the monastery and how the monks lived there. The other one is an art museum, displaying modern art.




You can get English audio guide which gives general information about the church and also about the history of the monastery.


The restaurant is quite special - they try to use as much as possible from their own gardens and from 5 km radius. They also brew their own beer and make their own wine. The restaurant is extremely popular. We were lucky to get a table without a reservation.


I can really recommend the restaurant and the beer (didn't try the wine). The church is also really worth seeing. The art displayed had rather questionable value but this is just my opinion. You need about 1-2 ho…

Fribourg

After hiking around Schwarzsee we went to check out the capital of the Fribourg canton - also called Fribourg. Fribourg is said to be one of the best preserved medieval towns in Switzerland.

We started our visit from visiting Magdalena hermitage a little bit outside the city. There is a parking spot in Räsch where a short trail starts to the hermitage. You just need to follow the signs "Einsiedelei".

What you see are the caves carved into a sand stone by two hermits. The visit will not take much time but is definitely worth it. There is information available with floor plan but it is unfortunately only in German.



From there we continued our trip to see the monasteries of Fribourg. There are several still operating monasteries there. Visitors can enter to the churches. We started from Montorge monastery from where you have a fantastic view over the city.




 From there we continued to La Maigrauge Abbey. The church there is really old and simple.

Later we also visited the c…

Hiking around Schwarzsee

If you are looking for a hike that has nice mountain views but doesn't require much effort (read: going up and down) then hiking around Schwarzsee (Black Lake) is a good option. The hike is about 4 km and you can see the mountains, the lake, forest and also traces of beavers (dams and fallen trees).

For me there was another benefit as well - I could mark Fribourg canton as done in my Swiss Cantons Challenge.



We added a little side tour and went to see a waterfall that was signposted. At the moment with all the melting snow the waterfall is quite impressive. Probably during summer it will not be as spectacular.



The only tricky thing about Schwarzsee is getting there. In winter time it's a ski resort which means it's quite high up. There is no railway going there. The road that goes there passes by small villages and although the distance isn't long, you can't drive very fast on this road. Still, going through all those villages is also very nice and offers some n…

Luzern - a must see for a tourist in Switzerland

I had my parents visiting over a long weekend and of course I took them to the iconic places of Switzerland. One of those was Luzern (also known as Lucerne) - a place that probably every tourist visits.

We of course walked around in the city center but we also went to the Gletchergarten (Glacier garden) - a museum that displays holes in the rocks formed by melting glacier in the ice age. There is also a small garden with alpine plants, museum about glaciers and a mirror maze. It is definitely worth visiting.

The Glacier Garden is right next to the famous Lucerne lion.

Even if you don't plan to visit any museums, the city itself offers plenty of wonderful views and is very nice place to stroll around. One day is enough but if you want to stay longer, there are plenty of hiking routes and nice small villages to visit in the surroundings.


Germany. Hiking in Black Forest

Black Forest or Schwarzwald is a place full of mystery and legends. There are numerous fairy tales and horror stories about it. The massive forest has scared people for centuries. But don't let all of that put you off. It is actually a wonderful area for hiking.



We hiked through the Ravenna Gorge. The route is described here. To get there we took a train from Freiburg to Hinterzarten. In the end we extended the hike and went to Titisee where we had ice cream as a reward and took a train back to Freiburg from there.



You can see a lot during this hike - old saw mills in Spoon Valley, glass blowers workshop with an opportunity to actually see the glass blowing, cuckoo clocks workshop (right next to the glass blowing), beautiful walk along Ravenna river, farmlands and forest. Titisee where we ended our hike is very touristic with many hotels, restaurants and souvenir shops but with sunny weather it's nice to sit in an outdoor cafe and relax a bit. If you don't like masses of …