You’ve seen the pictures. You know that hotel on the side of the mountain. A popular hiking spot, there’s more to Aescher and the Wildkirchli area than you might think. I spent my last night in Switzerland at the Hotel Alpenrose in Wasserauen at the foot of the mountains, which I highly recommend if you want to be one of the first up the mountain in the morning. Catching the first cable car with about 4 other people, the views on the 6 minute ascent are incredible to say the least. Cows graze just underneath you, their bells ringing out onto the wild expanse of open sky.
You have a choice of route to take from the top – so many areas to explore – but must head down the mountain toward the Wildkirchli caves to reach Aescher.
There’s a perfect intersection of cable route here for shots of the Ebenalp cars as they continue their ascent – look up and you’ll realise that you’re already quite a way down. Enter the prehistoric caves which were inhabited around 40,000 years ago and pass the chapel, following the narrow path as it hugs the edges of the mountain, and at particularly dangerous areas prone to rock slides, you’ll pass through sheltered areas full of carved names from passers by. After a few more corners, the building will come into view, with a Swiss flag proudly sitting on the edges of the cliff, and sheep grazing below with their bells echoing out into the silence that surrounds you.
Stop a while at Aescher and soak up the view. Weather can change quickly here so take advantage of the early morning sun, as I did, before continuing to another location to further explore.
Signs will guide you to the popular routes; you’ll pass a few people, but not many if you decide to go a little more off the beaten track.
You’ll find you’re more likely to pass herds of grazing sheep and the odd roaming cow than you are to run into a bunch of people, and even once you’re back at ground level, you’ll still have the mesmerising sound of the bells ringing in your ears.
Here’s a sneaky preview of the descent to Wasserauen, shot with my GoPro Hero 6; the best is yet to come but I’ll leave that for you to discover for yourself. Just make sure to check reduced hours toward the winter months and the regular cable car timetable before you travel.