(Recommended by Deenise)
Herbert & Annaliese Sohler
6944 Eichenberg (Austria)
Tel - 5573/83587 ~ Fax - 5573/83587
Three Single rooms & Three Apartments
Farm situated at altitude of 800 meters with view of Bodensee
Restaurant short walk from farm
Opportunity to assist with daily farm chores or ride on tractor
Washing machine available
...Three apartments on the third floor, all have balconies, two apartments share a balcony. Fully furnished, linens and towels. One apartment has large bedroom, double bed with bunk beds, pull out sofa in living room. One apartment with double bed, crib and pull out sofa in living room. Satellite TV. Very quiet. Ten minute drive down to Bregenz, also 10 minute drive over hill to Scheidegg, Germany, quaint little town. Breakfast varies each day, rolls, cold cereal, several locally made cheeses, jams, soft boiled eggs, salami, pickles and cucumbers, tea and coffee. Frau Sohler speaks English as well as her 8 yr old son Marcus. Three kids, grandparents live on 1st floor. Dairy cows, lots of cats.
...Back to the car, Mom - my navigator, marks our route on the map. We test the 2-way radio's, we throw out some CB lingo and hit the road. It starts to rain as we get closer to Lindau. Doesn't seem to slow the drivers down, but we opt to slow down. Very heavy rain now, it is close to 2pm. Viola, just over the hill we are close to our first stop. Eichenberg!
We cross into Austria, our exit is Lochau, we watch for our turn to Eichenberg. The road winds up the side of the mountain, what beautiful scenery, the rain smells so good. As we wind up the hills we enjoy the different foliage growing. We have a slight problem locating our destination. We do stop several times to ask for directions, one lady who appears to be at least 95 directs me in the right direction. I believe she tried to rent me a room at her house, she kept looking and counting. There were several zimmers throughout the area of Eichenburg.
We find the bauernhof located at the end of the one lane road up a very steep hill. What a beauty hidden away near the top overlooking the Bodensee. Frau Sohler greets us with a warm smile and takes one of our suitcases and heads up the steps. The apartments are on the top floor, three flights up. Deeann & Christi are pooped, as they just got off a plane earlier that day.
We check them both out, quite nice, very clean and fully equipped. Her children are sheepishly checking us out. We learn that we are the first Americans to stay in their home. We find those gifts we packed and share some with the kids. They love the Frisbees, the peanut butter, and Hershey's chocolate bars with almonds.
We unpack and get acquainted with the apartments, 5 of us decide to venture out & find some dinner. We drove pass the Hotel Schönblick and remembered them from earlier Internet research. The weather gods were with us tonight, we stop and are grateful they are open.
They give us a nice table, we all enjoyed the sunset over the lake. Their food was superb, we sampled several biers, lamb chops, schnitzel, and pork tenderloin in gorgonzola sauce with spätzle. Mom & Christi had fresh garden salads, Christi would kill for some ranch dressing about now. Very good food, we topped the dinner off with fresh apfel strudel with wonderful vanilla cream sauce. Totally sinful.
Back "home" we find the two we left ready to eat some of our leftovers we brought home for them. We end up around the table and discuss our plans for Appenzell the next day.
Father's Day, this will be another 1st, and a memorable day for us. Our parents 60th wedding anniversary was the day before, June 15th. We lost our Father January 25th of this year but he is with us in spirit every day. We quickly drift off to sleep and dream about where our path will lead us tomorrow...
Sunday - I awake at 7am to a knocking sound on our bedroom window. It's Vi, she's our wake up call! There is a fog shrouding the hill. We go out on the balcony, it is so quiet outside, and the wunderbar aroma one encounters while staying at a bauernhof. I'm in heaven.
We manage to run 4 people through the shower in under 1 hour. Amazing. We have reserved the breakfast for this morning, we head down one flight to Frau Sohler's apartment. She and Marcus greet us with smiles. They lead us to her dining area, it located on one side of her living room. Very nice wood furniture, all custom built. She has a nice table set for 10. Breakfast consisted of sliced meats, fabulous rolls (several different varieties), nice assortment of cheeses, cold cereal, coffee, tea, jams, and sliced cucumbers. All very tasty. We thank her for her wonderful meal and discuss our plans for the day. She offers some advice and wishes us a good day!
The climb up and down those stairs kept us on our toes. We gather our things needed for the day, don't forget the map!! Back down the steps and off to Appenzell, Switzerland for the day. The drive down the hill is so soothing, the way the curves rock you back and forth in that swaying kinda feeling.... ok, anyone carsick yet?? It's neat to drive down through the fog and descend upon the city, it just appears out of nowhere.
We find our way through Bregenz, what a lot of traffic, doesn't matter what time of day either. We take a few turns, not really sure where we are at, but are heading in the right general direction. We come upon a narrowing in the road, we slow and realize it's a border crossing. It's amazing how you just end up where you are supposed to be. We soon see a road sign and find our bearings on the map. Another slow winding road up over the hill. But what a beautiful view back down into the valley, the sun is behind us at this time and it's 10am. We're in heaven!
The drive to Appenzell was filled with wonderful scenery. Mom commented how the fields looked like "A quilt of greens." She's right, it does look like that, just spread out over the hills. I could retire here, or anywhere around here for that matter.
We arrive in Appenzell and find a large parking lot right next to the river, just before you cross the bridge into town. They also have a public toilet, which is our first tourist stop in Appenzell. Fortunately we don't find our names penciled on the walls, we wash our hands and our on our way. We cross the bridge and spot a chocolate shop, ohh, we turn and follow the smell. They have a wonderful assortment, many hand made. Susie makes a purchase, we are on our way. Next purchase, a Gnome, a small vinyl one.
We meander up the streets, window shopping along the way. It is Sunday, so most shops open around 1pm, some our open. It's close to noon, we have a couple of diabetics on the trip, so we try to eat at the same intervals to keep everyone on track. We find a nice gasthaus right near the center of town and all ordered the schnitzel. Husband and wife run this place, both are cooking and waiting tables. We got there just before rush hour, they were busy by the time we left.
We make a few more purchases and head for Stein, they have a wonderful museum and cheese factory. We load up in the car and make one "no turn is a wrong turn", and are on our way. Mom is directing me on the map, she is trying to watch the beautiful hillsides pass by. I come upon a small sign with and arrow and Stein. I make a quick right turn, Mom is looking for it on the map. I am not sure if I had taken the bike route, but this road is narrow. We are passing houses, so I know at least other cars have driven down here. Then lo and behold, we arrive at this corner and look to our left, there is the museum. What luck!
Appenzeller Volkskunde Museum is well worth the time, each floor covers the different trades from the Appenzell province. A man makes cheese while you are there, you can taste it as he progresses. They explained the cow bells and their meanings. One area covers fabrics, the have a loom, you can watch a lady make "Swiss dots" fabric, (does that take you back or what). She also makes many other wonderful fabrics. They have an embroidery loom. Just amazing. Another floor is painted furniture and wall murals.
Next door is the cheese factory (Appenzeller Schaukaeserei) they have a small cafe if you are hungry. The smell of cheese is very over powering in this place, just a warning. The girls couldn't handle more than 5 minutes, then they had to go outside. We made some purchases, and found a wonderful apricot cheese. The mission anywhere we go is to find anything apricot for Mom, she loves them! We bought some of the cheese and later discovered that we needed to buy much more, it was wonderful. We never found it again. :-(
We finish up our spending spree, it's now 3pm, we need to head back home. We have taken a route that will loop us near the lake and back around towards Bregenz. The towns are splendid, such colorful flowers and the sky is blue. We couldn't have asked for better weather. As we near Saint Margrethen, we can see the Bodensee. The hills are covered with vineyards, very pretty.
Bammm, we are at the corner, I am waiting to turn, Susie is behind me, she thinks I go. But I don't, she hits me. Quick check on the radio, no one is hurt, thank God the airbags didn't inflate. We pull over quickly and check everything out, no damage. Now we are really ready for that bier, but still 20 minutes for the apartment. Can you spell STRESS... We come to Bregenz and run into a traffic jam, hello tourists. It takes us awhile to get through this mess and head up the hill to our home.'
Everyone is tired, hungry but want to eat at the apartment. I stop to purchase some frozen pizzas from the gas station. They are very tasty for frozen, we enjoyed them with many biers. Time for some R & R. What a wonderful day we had. We watch the footage of the tape for the day. We study the map and familiarize ourselves with the route we have selected. Tomorrow Liechtenstein... with a quick stop at the grocery store in the morning!
Monday - I awake to the sound of the girls telling me how loud I snore. I don't know what they're talking about... I don't hear a thing.. :-)
The effects of the <bump> yesterday are felt. Susie is very sore this morning, the rainy weather doesn't help the joints, guess who forgot the absorbine jr.? Moi!
Mission for the morning...find a grocery store and purchase some delicasies. The afternoon we had planned on Liechtenstein. We had another wonderful breakfast, sliced meats, variety of rolls, cheeses, pickles, cereals, hot coffee and tea. Then off to the store to shop.
We find a rather large store in Bregenz, fresh sliced meats and cheeses. We all gather our own taste of items and head for the check out. Here is where we learn another lesson. When purchasing fruit or fresh veggies, prior to reaching the checkout. Place your selection in the plastic bags and put on the scale by the fruit, select the number item for you purchase, a label prints, put it on your sack so the cashier knows the price.
We make a quick run back to the apartment and fill the fridge, by now it is almost lunch, so we grab a light snack before we top off our day with a train tour of Liechtenstein. Susie found the site on the internet. They offer a 2 hr open train tour of the small country. We grab our map and head off. The weather Gods are not helping us out today, the rain has not let up and very low clouds. We drive through customs and I must say the customs officer seemed very observant and had several cars stopped.
We spot a Tourist Info, stop in to pick up a map and brochures. The next thing we notice is the traffic, a long steady stream. We have trouble finding the TI in the city of Vaduz, there is a lot of road construction. We stop an elderly man to ask where we can find the train. Parlait vous francais.... he only speaks French. My brain is clicking all the way back to high school, 1 yr of French. All I could respond in French was that I didn't speak the language.
We find a place to park and start out on foot toward the downtown section. The place is swarming with hormonal high schoolers. The girls are checking out the male scenery with smiles on their faces. In fact I have some footage on our tapes of some of their observations. I see the TI sign way down at the end where we just walk past, more exercise. I ask the nice lady, her reply was the train did not run on days that it rained. What a disappointment, we certainaly didn't want to drive around in all the traffic. I do notice the Stamp Museum is very close to the TI office.
We decided to do the tourist thing and shop. Susie takes off and finds her favorite perfume. She comes back with a smile, with the exchange rate a good price too. After we make our way down to the end, we find a cafe and something hot sounds good. The rain hasn't let up.
We finish our tea and head toward the car. It is close to 4pm by now and we want to head back toward our apartment. Dinner tonight is the Gasthof Krone in Eichenberg bei Bregenz am Bodensee, just down the hill from the apartment. Another wonderful view of the lake. Each of us picked a different meal from venison to turkey schnitzel. I tried the zweibelbraten, it was to die for too! Melt in your mouth. Mom tried the gemuse rösti with emmenthaler melted over the top. Everything was delicious and we were stuffed.
Back to the apartment for some more biers and discuss our plans for tomorrow... a drive over to Meersburg and take the boat to Mainau for a tour of the floral island. Are those weather gods listening... clear skies, warm weather.
Tuesday - No rain this morning. We have decided to eat leftover’s from last nights wonderful meal. Susie, our chef of the family, starts breakfast. Another fabulous meal and we clean up. Today we are going to Meersburg, then take the boat over to Mainau. I have not been in this area for 21 yrs, down memory lane, and Mainau is a 1st time for me too!
We are on the road by 9:30, traffic is steady through Lindau. This area is filled with vineyards and orchards. We drive west and arrive in Meersburg within 45 minutes. This looks like a nice town to spend some time in, but we only have the day. Drive through the town and you end up at the car ferry. Plenty of parking, you can walk back towards the town and catch “Fritz’s” boat. I believe they made 2 trips over by noon and picked up twice on the island.
The ride across the lake was great, not really windy, we sat on deck outside. Fritz was really nice to look at too. :-) The temps were near 70, we arrive at Mainau around 11:30.
It seems if we had been there 3 days earlier the roses would have been at their peak. Several petals had already dropped, but the landscape was breath-taking. Very well planned and just beautiful, nice way to spend a leisure day and get some exercise. My favorite was the butterfly house.
It is time to head back down to the dock and wait for the boat. There is a light sprinkle and the wind is picking up. We don’t have to wait long before Fritz is back to pick us up. We decide to sit inside for the ride back, besides the view of Fritz is much better.
Once we get back to the car we head for the hallenbad (swimming pool). We passed one in Meersburg, and a hot sauna sounds good. After a few “no turn is a wrong turn” we find a place to park and head for the cashier. We ask a few questions, pay our fees and head for the locker room. We make a few jokes about our suits and head for the pool. It’s heated, but outside.. fortunately the sun is shining but the temps are about 68. They had these nice water jets all aroung the pool, so we massaged those sore spots from the slight car accident earlier in the week. We are all enjoying the men in speedos and relaxing. I decide to check out the sauna, the two younger girls come with me.
We find the hallway towards the sauna, as we round the corner we see a window in to the sauna. There is a young gentleman laying there, naked, with his family jewels right there. The girls both gasped "eeewww”, I decided the sauna might too warm for us and headed back to the pool. The others asked why I had a smirk on face when we came back so soon. Need I say more.. :-)
We spend about 2 hrs at the pool and it is now close to 5pm and we need to get on our way. We decide to find a place on the way back to eat our dinner. I being the lead driver had to watch for a place that looked good. I drive through a couple of towns and spot a sign near a camping ground. The place had the word See in their name. We drive down the road and see the parking lot is semi crowded, I also notice they have a brewery, Augustiner.
We try a variety of entrees from calamari to pork ribs. Food was good, bier was great, service fantastic. Good choice, sorry I can’t remember the name.
The drive back to our farm was pleasant, the weather was clear and the sun was setting to our backs. This is our last night at the farm, Deeann and I head down to Frau Sohler’s apartment to settle our bill. She invites us in for a treat. She gets some shot glasses and a bottle out of her cabinet. She explains that her grandfather makes this pear schnapps as she pours three shots. Proßt! I could feel the burn all the way to my toes. Wow!
She offers the bottle so the rest can have a drink. She tells us we will sleep like babies. We take the bill back upstairs and all of us settle up our portions. What a deal and what a find. We have a few more shots and take her back the bottle and our payment. She is surprised we didn’t finish the bottle. We thank her for her generosity and say goodnight.
We spend our last evening around the table sharing laughs and reliving the past 3 days. We discuss our plans for tomorrow, our next destination and one of my favorites - Lermoos in Tyrol.