As I come to the end of my first month working as a Vollie at Our Chalet, I can’t believe how much fun has been packed into the past four weeks, and the strong friendships that have already been formed! The staff team here feels like a family, and it seems to me as if I have known everyone for far longer.
So, my name is Rachael, and I come from the west coast of Scotland, right beside the sea. Although I would previously have described my house as being on a hill, it certainly does not compare to the steep road we have to walk up to reach Our Chalet! On the hike back from a trip to town I have to stop for several breaks; just to admire the view of course! What a view it is though; each time I look at my surroundings it is hard to believe I’m really here.
Chocholate box chalets
It looks like a scene from a storybook, with snow-dusted mountain peaks all around, and cute little chocolate box chalets dotted throughout the valley.
At the moment, there is still some snow on the ground but we have been having such glorious Spring weather that I expect it will melt away pretty quickly. Fortunately we’ve had plenty of opportunities to make the most of the snow while it lasts, doing everything from igloo building, snowshoeing, tobogganing and for me personally, attempting to teach myself to snowboard!
Work hard play hard
We work as hard as we play here though, and I’m becoming highly proficient in such household tasks as floor mopping, sheet folding and mirror polishing.
Last Tuesday, as a reward after our busy week hosting the Helen Storrow Seminar (when we met many amazing girls from all over the world), we had a Staff Adventure Day and took the cable car up Engstligenalp to have a go on the cross-country skiing course there. For most of us, including myself, it was our first time attempting this style of skiing, which meant that quite a bit of falling over ensued! We got the hang of it though, and went around the whole track. It feels exhilarating when you’re moving fast, and I loved picking up speed on the downhill sections – even if I did collect a few bruises taking some spectacular falls!
Another new activity which I have discovered during my time here is Geocaching. Introduced to me by my Swedish Vollie friend Karin, I have fast become a fan. There are small ‘caches’ hidden all over the world, and the aim is to solve puzzles to find the co-ordinates of the box. Then you track it down and sign the log book inside.It is just like a treasure hunt, and very exciting when you find one! So far, I’ve found two and there are several more nearby. It’s a great way of exploring the area, as you take paths and visit places that you otherwise might not have seen.
With two months to go, I can’t wait for the adventures yet to come. As the Spring truly arrives, I hope to visit a few mountain tops, see more of Switzerland and meet many more international girl guides and girl scouts!
You can read more about my Swiss adventures on my personal Blog here.
Rachael Bamford (Scotland, UK)