Appenzell

Montgolfier moments, up in the air over Appenzell

Montgolfier moments, up in the air over Appenzell

First a bump, then a mild churning of the stomach followed by a swimming sensation of buoyancy. The earth fell away and I was sucked into the sky. “No smoking. Absolutely no smoking!” warned the guide, pointing at the propane jets. “If you light up, we will all die.” He squeezed a lever above his head and the nozzles spat yellow-white tongues of flame into the innards of the balloon. Air, heated on the go. Our sustenance and stay on this ride. As we floated up, up, up into the air, without wings, in a hot air balloon, Appenzell spread out beneath us like a patchwork quilt.

Betruf: The prayer call of eventide

Betruf: The prayer call of eventide

A long summer’s day in the Alpstein in Appenzell, Switzerland, ends with the Betruf prayer call of the alpine herdsmen. After a long day’s walk in the Alpstein made cold and bitter by unseasonal rain, we arrived at Fahlensee to clearing skies and visited the home of dairyman Albert Räss, glowing invitingly like welcome embers in a warm fire. Accompanied by his lovable Appenzell sheepdog, Räss walked to the foot of a large wooden cross and sang the Betruf as dusk descended on the Alpstein.