Despite our late night the night before (doing the night walk or Laternliweg), we woke up early on our second day in Schwägalp because beside having to check out of Berghotel Schwägalp (and checking in at Gasthaus Passhöhe) we also had an important appointment which we did not want to miss … i.e. with Mount Säntis! 🙂
(As usual, feel free to move the pointer of your mouse on a picture to display background info or click to enlarge.)
Oh yes … we were going to that place up on top of Mount Säntis … to see the view which was described in the literature on the region as being magnificent. I can still remember my excitement when we were making our way up to the restaurant cum weather station/observatory tower … wondering whether the view would live up to my expectation … or whether I would be disappointed instead.
So, after checking out of the hotel and leaving our bags there for us to collect later in the day … we made our way to the cable car station located next to Berghotel Schwägalp. It was a lovely morning … so there was quite a crowd waiting to go up Mount Säntis … both normal visitors like us as well as skiers.
This was a photo which I snapped near the reception area at Berghotel Schwägalp — of the old cable car which used to depart from the hotel after the cableway was installed in the area in 1935.
We were lucky to get a spot in front of the cable car with an unobstructed view of the surroundings as the cable car made its way up towards Mount Säntis. Although I still feel a slight fear whenever I take a cable car but it was a beautiful ride up and I enjoyed it very much.
Approaching the quite futuristic-looking restaurant cum weather station/observatory tower situated 2,502 m above sea level on Mount Säntis.
Entering the spacious hall in the observatory building, which also has a souvenir shop, cafeteria, restaurant, conference hall and several terraces.
When I got my first view of the surroundings from the large glass window along the hallway, I knew that I would love this place!! The view was really gorgeous!!
On one of the glass windows a line drawing was superimposed on the surrounding view to provide names of the various peaks that one can see from this vantage point. Impressive indeed!
Although the view from the hall was beautiful, we decided to follow the people in front of us onto the viewing area outside …
… so that we could check out the view unhampered by glass wall. It was very windy outside … but as you can see from the view it was really worth it going out.
Yup, it really was!
The view towards the exit/entrance of the restaurant cum observatory … and the different terraces on several levels providing good vantage points onto the surrounding mountains and valleys.
And the view near the bend along the snow-covered path …
… before reaching a door which leads through a tunnel that will take you …
… to those buildings on the right, which is actually a guest house (which happened to be closed when we were there) … known as Berggasthaus (literally, mountain guest-house). A mountain shelter was set up on the site of this hotel as early as 1846 and the owners of this hotel, the Manser family, have been welcoming guests at Berggasthaus for five generations!
The panoramic terrace at the Berggasthaus (closed for renovation until 28 April 2012).
Beside the fantastic view from this terrace …
… we could also see very clearly the track marks left behind by the adventurous who had decided to snowshoe on these high mountain slopes from here …
… as well as several off-piste skiers … skiing down and leaving interesting-looking marks on the mountain slopes!
Since a couple offered to take a snapshot for us (in return for taking a snapshot) … we managed to get a few couple shots of ourselves on Mount Säntis as beautiful souvenirs. Nice! 🙂
After everyone in our group had left the terrace, we decided to stay back to enjoy the solitude while admiring the splendid view spread before us … despite the wind and the chill.
Just as the hubby and I decided to sit down and have a bite on the sandwich that we had bought with us from Berghotel Schwägalp … these black birds which had been flying before we started on our refreshment suddenly seemed to know that there would be a free meal to be had!
They started flying close and waited for some freebies. So as not to disappoint our unexpected guests, the hubby therefore decided to share his sandwich with them.
But for his kindness … the hubby was generously awarded with …
…. their droppings on his bag and gloves!!Eiwwww … naughty birds!! So he had to spend several minutes cleaning his bag and gloves with broken icicle … poor hubby!
Throughout the whole time that we were taking our break, no other visitors came to join us on this terrace. After cleaning up and packing our bags, we decided to make our way back towards the observatory tower cum restaurant building.
The protruding tunnel as seen from the terrace at the Berggasthaus.
Hubby taking another look at the valley and mountain scenery (with the mountain range he is so fond of on the left, the Churfirsten) after coming out of the tunnel as we made our way back to the main building.
And here was the answer as to why we were left very much on our own at the Berggasthaus terrace — fallen snow along the path just before the entrance/exit to the observatory tower cum restaurant building! Ooops …
Because of this fallen snow, the exit to this path was closed to incoming visitors! The curtain was later drawn as well to make sure the exit would not be visible and thus no one would be tempted to try and go out to the passage way outside!
Hmmmm … were we not lucky to have been there before the snow fell? And even luckier that the path was still passable so that we were still able to make our way through to get back to the main building!! 🙂
After checking out the souvenir shop we then went up to the cafeteria on the second level to have another light refreshment. Although the view would was nicer seated outside … we decided to enjoy the warm comfort of the interior seating area for our second refreshments of the day!! hehehe … 🙂
From the warm comfort of the cafeteria, we then decided to go outside again …
… to another path that was still open to visitors. There were several paths leading to different vantage points surrounding the building, however, because of the amount of snow …
… some of these paths were closed. So we had no choice but to go where the paths had been cleared for visitors lah! In this particular instance, up those staircases … where we soon realised that we could have superb vantage point of the area!
The view from the top was just breathtaking, awesome, marvellous, magnificent, stunning, majestic, etc, etc … you get the drift!! 😉
The stairs that lead to the open area at the top … where one can have a 360° view of the area. Basically, this is where you can see the 6 different countries … if you know your European geography very well! 🙂
The building from where we came from … with the hamlet of Schwägalp down below (on the right).
A viewing terrace on the third level where the conference hall is located. We later went to this terrace so that the hubby could check out the view from there.
The snow-covered Berggasthaus, as seen from above.
The half-buried-in-snow anemometer cabin (dating back to the 1880s and with the 123m high transmitter mast behind it) … which became a convenient point to climb for those who wanted to have a better shot of the surrounding mountains and valleys!
But even without climbing that small hill of snow, one could still have a very good shot of the whole area …
… and the 6 countries, I think!! 😉
After all we are more than 2,500 metres high!
The hubby trying to get a good shot of the valleys and mountains that surround Mount Säntis from one end of the viewing area on top.
A close up shot of the Churfirsten mountain range (people ski down the flattest mountain of the range on the far left, called Chäserrugg and which peaks at 2,262m) and the Toggenburg valley.
… and that of the Appenzell Alps (foreground).
After having our fill of the magnificent view from the very top of Mount Säntis, we then made our way down back to the main building. But not before … ahem, ahem …
… taking nice shots of ourselves to show that we had been here lah! hehehe … 🙂
And before we took our leave of Mount Säntis, we made another stop … this time to the terrace that I had mentioned earlier on (where the conference hall is located) …
… so that the hubby could check out the view from that vantage point …
… and take more shots of the area! While the hubby went out onto the terrace, I chose to rest indoor to keep warm!
Once he had his fill of the view … we then made our way back to the cable car station to go back down to Schwägalp.
The beautiful view from the cable car as we made our way down to Schwägalp.
And then back to Berghotel Schwägalp … to collect our bags and then to make our way to Gasthaus Passhöhe … with one last look at the observatory tower up above the mountain top where we spent a fantastic morning and afternoon!
And to cap the wonderful day that we had had on top of Mount Säntis, not only did we take again the Laternliweg (lantern path) that night, but we also decided to take advantage of the abundance of snow in the area and the beautiful sunny day to do some snowshoeing after checking in at Gasthaus Passhöhe … which I will share about in the next post. 😉
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