1. High up, high on the mountain,
We’ve founded our Chalet,
Its sloping roof and wide
Shall shelter us without a care.
And each Girl Scout and Guide Shall find a welcome there.
2. High up, high on the mountain,
We’ll go to our Chalet;
Our simple life is free,
Our hearts are light, our songs are gay,
We ever shall remember The joys of our Chalet.
3. High up. high on the mountain,
We’ve founded our Chalet;
And this its dedication
Shall never fail nor be undone:
Each race, each creed, each nation,
Beneath its roof are one.
I remember ‘Our Chalet’ song from my first ever visit abroad when I travelled by coach from Norwich with a group of other Girl Guides and our Leaders to Switzerland, via Paris. Those two places visited on that occasion have remained two of my favourite places – ever. Here’s photo taken for our local newspaper which I stuck into my Swiss notebook :
Finding myself with a free day on the Friday I decided to retrace those early steps and revisit ‘Our Chalet’. I looked up the details online and booked one of the tours offered at 11am and 2pm daily.
The journey to Adelboden involves taking the train via Spiez on Lake Thun to Frutigen from where a Postbus takes you up, up, up, to very snowy Adelboden. I instantly had my bearings even after 47 years and remembered the church on the village street (Dorfstrasse) and the pretty chalet-style shops.
The only difference to me was the presence of an amazing amount of snow. Of course, my first visit had been during the school holidays in August.
The English Church, Adelboden
Dorf Strasse Adelboden
In the tourist office I picked up a map, the details of a walk along so-called cleared paths (more about this half of the day later) and exact instructions as to the location of Our Chalet.
Adelboden from the path to Our Chalet
Arriving at Our Chalet
Sonya from Rwanda The Guest Services Intern was to be my guide for the afternoon. The tour starts with a PowerPoint Presentation on the history of WAGGGS (World Association of Girl Scouts and Girl Guides) and of how Our Chalet came into being back in the 1930s.
Map indicating British visitors to Our Chalet so far this year – the blue drawing pin in Yorkshire is me!
After inspecting the notice boards and maps and displays in the conference room Sonya showed me around the buildings and in particular the main and original ‘Our Chalet’ where we had spent an evening singing campfire songs and meeting other Girl Guides from around the world, all those years ago.
Our Chalet Dining Room
All too soon the tour ended with a visit to the shop and I bought a few postcards (illustrated at the top and to go with the postcard I bought on my last visit). I already had an Our Chalet badge. As I was leaving and saying ‘Goodbye’ to Skippy the cat I was happy to exchange a few words with Sally Thornton Our Chalet Manager. Sally is from Australia, has been at OC since 2009 and plans to retire in April and return to family in Oz.
Sally Thornton, Our Chalet Manager