Friday, 8 January 2010

NYE in Appenzell

We decided it would be almost impossible to top our previous two attempts at NYE in Europe, being in Paris in 2007 and in Venice in 2008, so we decided to have a more low-key NYE this year.

From our little research, we had found an event in Urnash that seemed suitably odd and interesting for us: the locals get dressed up in various outfits (I won't go into the details) and wander around the town and surrounding countryside putting on a performance and getting a sip of spirits in reward.

The tradition only survived in Urnash, but apparently it was previously more widely spread in Appenzellerland and is starting to make a comeback.

However, after reading more on the Appenzell website, it seems they have so many of these strange and inexplicable traditions around Appenzellerland that we began to wonder if they just made them at random, or to attract the tourists...

In any case it was highly entertaining and we took many many photos. Of course the little kids, in their miniature versions of the outfits and half-hearted attempt at the yodelling that accompanies the performance, attracted the most attention.

Originally we thought we would be watching this event into the small hours of the morning, but it turned out we could get everything out of it we wanted by watching it during the day, which left us wondering what to do at night.

Fortunately we found that some of the restaurants at the top of some of the surrounding mountains were putting on a banquet. Most of them were already fully booked but we found one that would take our booking. We caught the lift up to the top of the (admittedly quite small) mountain and took our seats.

For a long while we thought we would have our 6-seat table to ourselves, until we were joined by a Swiss family, who were very nice, but we mostly kept to ourselves for the duration of the evening.

The 5 course dinner was very good, and we ducked out on a couple of occassions to set off some fireworks we had bought earlier in the day (still very exciting for us Australians who are no longer allowed the pleasure of fireworks).

Once midnight came around we all toasted in the new year, in our best Swiss German, before heading outside for more fireworks and sparklers.

It was an amazing night, since it was a full moon (even a blue moon!) and the mountains all around were quite lit up as a result.

As the fireworks went off in the valley below us, it made an amazing site - we could see for miles around at all the other towns in Appenzellerland celebrating the new year. All in all another successful NYE!


Linda said...

More details about the costumes can be found here:

I'll try and upload some videos soon (particularly of the dancing, which is the impressive endurance part of the festival, as they do it at every house for some 12+ hours...) as well as some more photos of our terribly impressive alp-top fireworks. All 10 of them. Take THAT Sydney harbour bridge!

Linda said...

PS Just in case it wasn't clear, the photos of the landscape from the top of the mountain were lit only by the full moon - no fancy photography tricks here! It was so beautiful, we stayed outside for as long as possible, while the Swiss were in full swing with the yodeling and Glögg indoors...