STAFF: A peak into peaks! – Angie (CA)

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Hi Everyone, I’m Angie from Vancouver Canada.  I’ve spent my summer here at Our Chalet as a summer vollie and could not be more excited about it! 

Angie in the clouds

Falk and Helen Storrow could not have picked a more perfect place for the chalet nestled in the heart of the mountains. It is this very aspect that I have enjoyed the most about being here; with the mountains so close it makes it so easy to get to the top and admire Switzerland’s beauty from a new perspective.

It is my personal challenge to hike over 20,000 meters over several peaks and I am well on my way to reaching that goal.

The first peak I summited was Bunderspitz within the first few weeks here. At 2546 meters high it is the third highest peak I’ve been to and one of my favourites. You really get the sense of being high above the world and the view on a clear day is unparalleled. Even on a cloudy day when all you can see are your feet on the rock below, the feeling of bringing yourself that high simply by continuing to place of foot in front of the other is so rewarding. It shows you the power that you posses and that you are capable of so much more then you may realize sometimes. I think it is my favourite simply because it was the first peak I summited here and it got me hooked, giving me the desire to climb to the top of as many mountains as I possibly could in my time here.

Angie - Bunderspitz

My second favourite peak that I’ve been to is Faulhorn. At 2680m it is the highest of my peaks and is located near Grindelwald and I like it because it is the only one have have done on my own. It is wonderful to share a summit with someone but is amazing in a completely different way when you are able to do it on your own. Knowing you have only yourself to encourage you and only yourself to look out for you, allows you to become self reliant in a way like no other. At points you are tired and all you want to do stop and turn back but you have dig deep to find the strength to continue. Basking in the impressive glory of the Swiss alps and the Eiger gives new appreciation for the world and all that it is capable of.

Angie - Ammertenspitz

My third favourite peak is Ammertespitz. Sitting at 2613 meters it is the second highest peak I’ve summited. The day Kathleen and I hiked it was the perfect day for hiking; a combination of sun and clouds resulting in a prefect temperature and would even suit Goldilocks. The morning was tough as we had a long way up to go. Once we reached the pass right before the peak our excitement came over use and we made it to the peak quicker then expected.

We marveled in amazement at the surrounding mountains and enjoyed lunch in one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. I took my classic “I’ve reach the top of a mountain” picture and we carried on to a white-blue-white trail (the hardest level of hiking trail) which took us to two more peaks before heading back to the chalet for dinner.

As of now I have hiked to 16,970 meters leaving me with just over 3000 meters to go! At the beginning of the summer 20,000 meters seemed like an unimaginable task but with the end so near I am so proud I’ve push myself to hike on days when I really just didn’t want to. I’m so thankful to have the opportunity to live amongst these mountains that allow you to see what the world looks like from the top of it.

Angie - top of the mountain

Angie Skidmore (CA)
Summer Volunteer 2013

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The Circus is the greatest show on earth!

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Monti_1Did you know the circus began more than 2000 thousand years ago in ancient Rome with chariot races and equestrian performers? Jugglers, acrobats and mighty warriors drew crowds as large as 250,000 people.

Some hundreds of years later, the British introduced the modern circus to London and Englishman John Bill Ricketts brought it to America in the late 1700s. He established a building in Philadelphia appropriately named “The Circus.” Elaborate events were attended by famous American’s such as President George Washington.

As the circus evolved, the big red and white canvas tent was introduced and clowns became popular right before the Civil War. When PT Barnum came along, the modern traveling circus was born. PT caravanned with animals and a sideshow of human oddities, like freaks with tattoos and women with beards. The invention of the train made it easier to transport lions, tigers, bears, and elephants from town to town.

Monti_2You’re probably wondering why I’m telling you the history of the circus
…well the reason why is that we the Our Chalet Staff went on a group trip to one of the best Swiss circuses –  Circus MONTI in Adelboden on the 29th July.

I had never ever been to a circus before so as soon as I discovered that we were going I was super excited and I’m glad to say it did not disappoint.

As we stepped inside the big yellow and red tent, the smell of sawdust and the strong sweet aroma of cotton candy and popcorn only aided to building up the anticipation.

The theme of this circus was two clowns trying to get closer to their dream to be able to fly one day. In their search they found unexpected worlds they never knew that existed. These worlds folded upon them as a Popup Book.

The show was a dazzling array of acrobatics, comedy, stunts and lots of beautiful costumes. I was hooked from the moment the show began. It opened with amazing tricks with the Diabolo.

One of the best parts just before the interval was the plate spinning as it had the whole crowd on the edge of their seats!

There was lots of screaming around me, Aisling who I was sat next to at some points grabbed my hand and then would start shouting at me to go save them as if I should just get up and join in!

Monti_3It’s hard to describe, the magic of the circus. As the music played and the performers flew through the air I couldn’t help but be drawn to the top of the tent and the lights and equipment that was holding up the tent and the performers.

I found myself watching the workers moving around props and setting up and taking down each act (some workers were also performers of course) and I couldn’t help but wonder if most people realise how much work goes into making the magic happen.

The best part about the circus?
The most magical thing is the fact that when you step inside that tent you are transported to another world.

For a few hours it’s hard to even remember what the world outside looks, feels, or even smells like. For those few hours you are a child completely immersed in the magic.

– Rachael Evans, Summer volunteer –

Rachael Evans (UK)
Our Chalet Assistant – Summer 2013