The Camino Frances
Friday, October 19, 2012
Appenzellerland is a kind of fantasy land. The village of Appenzell is a wonderfully preserved piece of the Swiss past. The facades of all of the buildings have wonderful paintings, especially the pharmacy which has medicinal herbs painted on arched panels covering the shutters. The main church of St Maritius is over the top with a decorated sanctuary and gold everywhere. I liked the church and convent of Maria the angel much better. The cemetery is quite unique. Each and every plot is planted, some with a kind of rug of evergreen, others with flowers.There are also pieces of stained plexiglass instead of headstones, and angels and knick knacks galore.
The main square is called the Landsgunendeplatz, and is the scene of local parliament. All elections and parliamentary business are publicly debated here and voting is by a public show of hands. Apparently this was the last area in Switzerland to allow women to vote - about 10 years ago. Unbelievable! You can check it out, and see wonderful pictures at www.appenzell.info, and there is an icon to click for english.
After lunch and wandering around, we took the train one station to Gontenbad, then walked to Gonten along the barefoot walking trail. It is some kind of local tradition, and they have a website, of course.
There were about 2 dozen people that we encountered walking barefoot along the trail, not counting the cows who crossed our path. One little guy, about 2 years old, was covered in mud, and enjoying himself. Some of the adults had mud up to their knees too, and there were baths where you could wash your feet. The walk was a leisurely hour, then we reboarded the train to make our way back to Wettswil.