When I arrived at Our Chalet to work as an Our Chalet Assistant for the Winter 2016-17 season, I had little idea of all of the exciting adventures that were to come over my 3 month stay here. Both locally in Adelboden and nationally within Switzerland there is a huge range of activities on offer that will suit travellers of any tastes, and listed below are what I think are 5 of the best close by to Our Chalet!
1. Go on a day trip to Lucerne
The Swiss public transport system is very easy to navigate, and I found travelling around using it extremely convenient. One of my favourite places I visited was Lucerne, which is around 2.5 hours from Adelboden by bus and train. When I visited, the Swiss Carnival ‘Fasnacht’ was taking place there, so the city was a riot of parades, marching bands and fancy dress alongside the historical sites such as the Kapellbrücke and the Lion Monument.
2. Take a gondola up a mountain
According to the Our Chalet song lyrics, the Chalet is located ‘High up, high on the mountain’, but if you want to get even higher up the mountains, the Chalet lies close to the Adelboden Oey gondola station, from which you can go up the mountain Silleren. When you reach the top, you can relax by enjoying the amazing views, or if you’re feeling a little more adventurous you can even challenge yourself to do the Climbing Tower high ropes course – just make sure you have a head for heights or some encouraging friends to cheer you on!
I couldn’t mention the mountains without giving a nod to my favourite winter sport: skiing. The Adelboden-Lenk ski region has over 210km of pistes, and includes everything from the easiest blue runs for beginners to the black Ski World Cup run on Chuenisbärgli to test even the most experienced skiers – although I’ve not dared to do the World Cup piste in my time here, I do love to watch people whizzing down it at speed from the blue and red runs that intersect it.
4. Go on a tour at Kandersteg International Scout Centre
Most of our guests here at Our Chalet come from Guiding and Scouting backgrounds, and are excited to be visiting a WAGGGS World Centre for the first time – but did you know that just over the mountain tops in the neighbouring valley lies another centre of international scouting? Run by the World Organisation of the Scout Movement, KISC is about an hour away from Our Chalet using public transport. I went on a tour there with my fellow staff members from the Chalet and found that it was oddly familiar yet also so different to Our Chalet. All in all, it was a really cool experience, and I would certainly recommend it if you’re interested in learning more about international Scouting.
5. Experience Swiss Christmas Traditions
From going to Christmas markets in Bern, to being part of Our Chalet’s Neighbours’ Christmas Celebration, I really got to experience what an authentic Swiss Christmas is all about during my time as a winter volunteer. I think my favourite Swiss Christmastime tradition is also the one that I found the most unusual: having real life candles on the Christmas tree! Although this might be considered a big fire safety hazard by some, putting lit candles on your Christmas tree is the norm in much of Switzerland, and it certainly is very pretty!