11th Hitchin Guides spent a jam-packed and (mostly) sunny week in Adelboden, Switzerland. Here’s what they got up to, through their eyes and in their own words!
Friday/Saturday – Travel Day:
Our trip started at South Mimms service station, Hertfordshire, on Friday at 12:00pm. After saying our goodbyes, we boarded the coach (which fortunately had free WiFi) and settled in for an almost 24-hour journey to our destination.
The first portion of our “adventure” was spent travelling to Dover, to get the ferry to Calais in France. Once on the ferry, we got an opportunity to sit down and eat, to explore the ship and gaze out over the English Channel (fun fact, the French name for the Channel translates to “The Sleeve”).
We arrived in France and spent the night driving through the French countryside, watching all the wind turbines – there were a lot of wind turbines – finally making it to the Swiss border in the early hours of Saturday morning. Making it to Switzerland after our journey was a fact that elated the guides. We stopped at a hotel at the side of the road for breakfast at around 7:10am where we had a very delightful breakfast before hitting the road again. After driving for another couple of hours we finally reached our destination, a chalet in Adelboden.
Now that we are here, we are all looking forward to the exciting activities to come!
Sunday – Our Chalet:
After we established that apples grow on trees and not in the ground, we got organised (or as organised as we can get) then left for a hike to Our Chalet (A WAGGGS World Centre). We met lots of guides from other countries including;
- New Zealand
We then had an informative tour of the chalet that finished at the gift shop where we bought many interesting things, including a collection of cuddly toys and one rubber duck.
During our time at the chalet, we attempted a puzzle of a map of the UK with one New Zealand Guide, we swapped badges with other Guides, we attended the pinning ceremony and Charlotte got enrolled as a young leader and received a snazzy badge.
Monday – Kandersteg/Oeschinensee:
We woke up at 7:30, had our continental breakfast and then set off for our long walk to the bus to Kandersteg. After an hour’s journey, we arrived, but once we got to the cable cars up to Oeschinensee, we were so excited that we forgot to get the tickets. It was so cloudy that we couldn’t see 10 metres in front of us on the way up! After a walk through a cow field we got to the lake, which we couldn’t see. After lunch (yum) you could finally see the lake and mountains, as the rain had cleared. Some of the guides decided to go paddle in the FREEZING lake. This the decision was then followed by many saying “my feet are numb!!” We then went on the toboggans.
Then we got back on the cable car down the mountain, which was obscured by fog, however the bottom of the mountain was clear so you could take some good photos. We then walked to the bus stop and waited for our bus to arrive. Whilst we were waiting, we met some scouts from Uruguay and Portugal. When we got off the bus then we walked back up the mountain to the chalet.
Tuesday – Jungfrau:
We rolled out of bed at 5.45am and headed down to breakfast, half asleep and totally ready for the day (we wished). We organised our stuff and got ready to leave, with fatter and heavier bags then ever before. We set off and headed to the bus stop. After our half hour long bus journey we proceeded to start the train marathon. Starting in Frutigen, we got the train to Spiez, another train to Interlaken Ost, ANOTHER train to Lauterbrunnen, YET ANOTHER train to Kleine Scheidegg, and to round it off, one more train to our final destination, Jungfraujoch. On our last train we made sure our earlier preparation was worth it by piling on the layers – we all looked like strangely coloured marshmallows.
We started off by following the tour and passing some signs with information about the railway. Passing by the Alpine Experience, we made it to the Ice Palace, which is full of ice sculptures. After sliding our way through, we continued to the outside area. We proceeded to take pictures and eat the ice (which was definitely a very interesting strategy). We quickly visited the gift shop, before making it down to the LINDT SHOP. Everyone was immediately obsessed and bought an array of Lindt chocolate. Finally, everyone was dragged out of the shop and downstairs for lunch.
Then, we started the journey back to chalet. Time to reverse the earlier list. We then jumped on a bus back to the village and started the last walk back to the chalet. We arrived back, and rushed around getting ready for dinner (pizza takes priority over everything). Pizza arrived, and we all dug in.
Wednesday – Woodcarver’s Hike and the Cholorenschlucht Gorge
So today we went to the woodcarvers, the gorge and the swimming pool. We got up early and were rewarded with some more of the awesome chocolate cereal. After breakfast, our VA Rep Manon arrived, without whom we would probably end up in Germany! We then took a 1.5 hour walk to the woodcarver where we took some photos next to the wood carved statues, discovering that the man-statue sings, so we had a bop to some cultural yodelling music. We then picked up our handmade woggles, had a look around in the shop, bought souvenirs and set off to the gorge!
The walk was fairly short and pleasant to the gorge-ous gorge, however, despite getting a bit soggy, we took some amazing photos. After the gorge we went to a picnic area with mini rapids next to the black sand and rocks. We ate our lunch then had a fun time paddling in the freezing river and posing with the rocks. We then set out on a walk uphill to Adelboden town, giving us a great opportunity to look at the great views around us.
When we got to Adelboden, we saw some very nice Canadian Guides, bought ice-creams, went badge shopping, then went off to the swimming pool. At the swimming pool there was two diving boards; a high one and the small one. We had a great time in the pool jumping in from the diving board and then spent way too long in the nice warm showers. We had a fun-filled day today and after we got home, we did duties and had dinner.
Thursday – Interlaken and the Chocolate Show:
We arrived early at Frutigen station and hopped onto a train to Spiez. Once arrived, we were greeted by a beautiful lake of blues and greens. At this picturesque place, we got on a boat, taking across Lake Thun. 1h30mins later, the boat finally came to a halt in Interlaken.
After a short walk we got to a lovely area which gave us the wonderful view on the Jungfrau, we agreed that this would be our meeting place for lunch. We went off in groups for some free time around Interlaken. As soon as free time had finished, we gathered for lunch, and even did a rendition of baby shark and Alice the camel.
Then after many centuries of anticipation, we finally entered the fabulous, absolutely amazing chocolate show and shop. With our mouths watering, we were escorted to the room where the magical, fantastic chocolate was placed in front of our eyes. Then we were given our first of many samples – this one was 100% cocoa. We all willing tried it only to find that it was so incredibly bitter. Only a few of us approved of the rather cocoa like bar. Afterwards, we were given an array of sweeter versions – dark 65%, milk 35% and white 0% cocoa – which was much better as there was loads of sugar in it! Following this, we were given some homemade truffles, and got to do the all-important decorating of chocolate lollipops.
Friday – Engstligen Alp and the Adventure Park:
We had an early start this morning. We had a debate about which side of the road the bus stop was on but after we finally came to the conclusive decision that it was on the right side. We were on the bus for 10 minutes to the bottom of the cable car and set off up the mountain. Then came a short walk to the cheesemakers, with a small pause to stare at the marmots running around. It was rather aromatic on the farm, but cosy and homely. The cheesemakers explained the lengthy process of cheese making, before we were able to try some cheese.
After elevenses, we trekked back to the bus stop and walked to the adventure park. There, we threw ourselves onto ziplines (which felt like hundreds of meters), walking high ropes over the river below and throwing ourselves off bridges – it was a lot more than fun. Once we got back, we had chocolate cake and chocolate fondue to celebrate Lucy’s birthday and it being the last night.