/ Europe2011

Our Chalet

The World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) has 4 World Centres: Pax Lodge in central London, Our Cabaña near Mexico City, Sangam in Poona, India and Our Chalet nestling high in the alps above the resort town of Adelboden here in Switzerland. Liz has visited Pax Lodge and Sangam so a trip to Our Chalet was one of the two essential visits of this holiday.
The drive down from Bern through Spiez was scenic and once south of Spiez we entered the alps with stunning views of farmsteads clinging to the steep grassy foothills. It's a main road to Adelboden so driving can be a little twisty and turny but easy enough.

Our Chalet is just a mile or so out of town and at an altitude of 1300m, 4000' so we did have a few climbs, the last bit up to the Guiding centre itself would not be recommended for larger vehicles! The chalet itself was gifted to the Guide movement in 1932 by Helen Storrow, and there have been several additions to the site since then, including a new second chalet in 1999. A beautiful walk through floral alpine meadows (something Brian has always wanted to do, probably since watching "Heidi" at some impressionable age) leads past the campfire circle to the small Baby Chalet and the even smaller camping hut. The views from the site across the valley to Adelboden are most impressive.

We weren't sure what to expect. These centres are working hostels where girls from all over the world have busy activity programs, so we thought that we might be resticted to a quick 'Hello; and photo-shoot before having to head out. Luckily we arrived at a fairly quiet period and were greeted with great hospitality. We met the American girls and leaders who had travelled over from Alaska, Missouri and Texas and were given information to allow us to do a complete self-guided tour of the site. The wardens then opened the shop especially for us and, of course, we thanked them by buying plentiful souvenirs.

On back to Interlaken (Bönigen) and it should be a straightforward run back though Spiez and onto Interlaken. However we've avoided buying a vignette so Swiss motorways are barred to us and Tomtom decided the best non-motorway route was all the way around the Thunersee. An impressive drive especially the last part coming down into Interlaken where the winding road passes under rock tunnels, the sort of route beloved of Bond films.