Today Michel and Raymonde took us on a tour of the area they refer to as “Suisse primitive”. It is an area encompassing 2 part-cantons that still practice their political tradition of voting by raised hand at mandatory gatherings in the town square. Maybe the ‘primitive’ description is because they didn’t allow women to participate in the voting until 1991! The landscape is very green with rolling hills dotted with the typical immaculately kept farmers houses with attached barns decorated with flowers at every window. Again it was a gray, non-photo-friendly day, so for good pictures click HERE. We stopped in the town of Appenzell to admire the traditional architecture and have lunch.
We had lunch at the Marktplatz Restaurant, an excellent meal and atmosphere. It is more than a restaurant tho, the walls are decorated with carved wood panels depicting traditional scenes of Appenzellerland and they also display Scherenschnitte – the art of papercutting. The staff even serenaded Raymonde to celebrate her birthday!
We continued on to the town of Stein and visited the Appenzeller cheese factory and sampled some of their products. Then visited the Appenzeller Volkskunde Museum, the Folklore Museum next door. They had demonstrations of some of the traditional work of the area. There was a cheesemaker and a woman working an embroidery loom dating from the 1850’s.
We finished our tour of the area at The Landgasthof Ochsen where the locals were relaxing to the sounds of the traditional Swiss band. Apparently it was a jam session because people would get up, pick up an instrument and join in, then put down the instrument for the next performer.