Ebenalp-Aescher-Wildkirchli

IMG_7540The Berggasthaus Aescher – Wildkirchli in Switzerland is  a 170-year-old mountain inn built into a cliff and is definitely a must visit. I remember browsing through a travel article one day and I came across this uniquely situated inn with endless views of the Swiss countryside and snow capped Alps. At that point, my heart was set to go there one day… and go there I did!

I had originally planned a trip to Zurich and seeing that it was only a couple of hours away, I knew I had to make it happen. I wanted to stay there at least one night but unfortunately, they weren’t accepting overnight guests anymore so I decided to plan a day trip instead.

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Appenzell is definitely a hiker’s paradise where you can enjoy breathtaking panoramic views of the mountain landscape of the Alpstein massif, surrounded by colorful meadows of Alpine flowers and impressive rock formations.

Getting there…

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By public transport: You can easily reach Wasserauen via Gossau or St. Gallen. The train to Wasserauen from Zurich takes about 2 hours.

 

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These cows greeted me on my ascent to Ebenalp.

 

The Wasserauen train station is where the cable car up to Ebenalp is located. There are also several hiking trails available from this stop and you can park your car from here as well. The hike up to Aescher takes about 2-3 hours each way depending on your hiking skills and the number of stops you’d want to make along the way (there are plenty). Make sure to dress right, wear the right shoes and stay hydrated because it is a long and fairly challenging hike!

A popular meeting place for hang gliders and paragliders. Tandem paragliding is also offered here.

The Wildkirchli Caves are one of the popular places of interest in the region due to the archaeological finds that were discovered here. One of the trails leads you to a cave that cuts through the mountain

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The trail inside the cave can seem to be dim at first but it is actually well lit so take some time to adjust your eyes once you get inside. It can also be a little muddy and slippery, so watch your step and make use of the handrail when feeling slightly unsteady on your feet.

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Prehistoric stone tools found in the caves provided evidence that man lived in this area between 45000 to 30000 BC.

These caves were formed by underground streams for over millions of years. I loved the coolness and stillness inside and the quiet respite it offered to locals and hikers.

Hermits used to live in the area as well. A recreated hermit’s house located at the opening of the cave presently serves as a small museum. It sits on the site of the old hermit house and offered sanctuary to hermits until 1851 when the last hermit died.

Just outside the cave is a chapel carved into the side of the mountain which was established in 1621. They still occasionally hold church services here.

One of my favorite parts of the trail is this wooden bridge hanging on to the side of the mountain.

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When you look down, you can see the valley floor through these wooden planks so be  warned if ever you try doing that!

Hermits and herdsmen began selling food and drinks on Alp Aescher as far back as the 1800s until it gradually evolved into Berggasthaus Aescher.

And finally!!! Here we are!!!

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The picturesque Berggasthaus Aescher.

Is it worth it?

ABSOLUTELY!!! There are several mountain inns around Ebenalp offering delicious and traditional Swiss food, local drinks and cozy accommodations. I will definitely recommend staying a night in the area!

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