The stylish Cafe Odeon opened in 1911 and was quickly a destination for big names of the era, like Albert Einstein, Benito Mussolini, and Vladamir Lenin. The weather was warm through most of the trip and especially so in the Swiss Plateau thus cool drinks were very welcome while the general lack of climate control in town was not.
We've been to Soglio several times before and keep returning to the peaceful village on a mountainside in southeastern Switzerland. The narrow Bergell valley features sleep cliff sides, looking out toward the plains of Italy, and bounded to the north by the steep Maloja Pass.
North of the Maloja Pass, further into Switzerland, is the Engadin valley and source of the river Inn. Large lakes take up much of the valley floor in the Upper Engadine with little space carved out for a road. We made a quick stop in touristy St. Moritz and the small town of Sils Maria, where I spent a week several winters ago. Since then it was featured in the film The Clouds of Sils Maria, starring Juliette Binoche and Kristin Stewart. Much of the film is set in the area and uses a local weather phenomenon as metaphor.
A grand luxury hotel rests upon a prominence above the rest of town, which aside from several hotels that close seasonally can be rather quiet. We ate at the one establishment open in the late May, the burger place by the sports fields.
The area is quiet and so sparsely populated it can feel as though there are only a handful of residents and hotel guests in the whole village. Sheep and cowbells are more commonly heard than vehicles away from the one main highway down the valley. Strangely church bells do continue all through the night, marking the time every fifteen minutes.
Appenzell is a Swiss town (and the name of the surrounding canton) a little over an hour outside of Zurich that feels worlds apart from the city. Nestled against the foothills of larger Alps just to the south, the picturesque valley supports local beer, cheese, and liquor that have some level of fame.
We had visited the area a couple of times before so had some lay of the land and knew of places to revisit. I was excited to climb Ebenalp, and see Wildkirchli again, the subject of many postcard photographs of the region. Mom wanted to revisit some of the local shops, especially crafts featuring local cow-centric themes.
Walking and driving around the area quickly posed a large contrast from the infrastructure of the central United States I had just left. Trails are well maintained, signed, and stocked with doggie bags. Roads are relatively narrow and well maintained, encouraging driving safely at reasonable speeds.