Appenzell, Centre of two small, half-Cantons.
"Canton of two parts, Ausserrhoden and Innerrhoden."
Originally, from about the 10th to the 15th Centuries, Appenzell was part of the lands governed by the Abbey at St Gallen. Independence was gained in 1513 and Appenzell joined the Swiss Confederation.
This section includes a visit to Appenzell, the town, the village of Uernasch and last but by no means least, the Mountain of Saentis.
The two half-Cantons, Ausserrhoden is mainly north and west of Appenzell and Innerrhoden is to the south. The southern boundary includes at least some of Mt Saentis.
The Half Cantons are completely surrounded by the Canton of St Gallen.
They are located in a rural part of Switzerland, the Innerrhoden is well known for the cows and the cheeses that are produced there. Tourism is a major factor as well. In fact Appenzell, the capital of Innerrhoden draws tourists all year round to its old buildings and narrow streets and sense of History. A statue stands in the main square that recognises the tradition of public voting with a show of hands.
The Ausserrhoden is more industrialised and its capital is Herisau has several painted wooden houses and a church dated from 1520 with Rococo furnishings.
"One small delightful village near Appenzell."
Yes, Uernasch, less that 10 kms from Appenzell and on the way as we drove from Mt Saentis to Appenzell, stands a village of outstanding beauty, blink and you miss it. Unless that is you have a Swiss guide with you.
Who is a Swiss guide, well most of the people who are members of Virtual Tourist and live in Switzerland and who know their way around the Country, they are the Guides I talk about.
Naturally we stopped to enjoy the architecture and the outstanding floral display, that somehow is a natural in many Alpine Countries.
Uernasch celebrates the arrival of New Year's Eve with a tradition that shows off the "Ugly" and the "Beautiful" where masks are worn by the revellers.
"On a Clear day you can see forever."
The day was warm and the sunshine brought out many visitors to take the easy way to the top of Mt Saentis or Mt Santis, the parking areas were busy, the line ups could be daunting except that the cable car takes about 80 people at a time to the top station.
The top of the mountain is 2500m above sea level, or 8,200 ft, provides an unprecedented view around the whole of North East Switzerland.
The Bodensee or Lake Constance is to the north, the north east includes Bregenz in Austria, further east there are the mountains of the Bregenzerwald beyond Feldkirch and Liechtenstein. To the south east lie Sargans and further away Chur and the Graubunden area and eventually into Italy.
To the south the Mass of the Alps as they sweep further south, hidden in there is Flims. Moving to the south west there is Schwyz, Lucerne with Mt Pilatus sometimes visible and out of sight is Bern. West is Lake Zurich and towards Basel and the Countries of France and Germany.