Here comes my 100th story – hooray – and I would like to take you to the mountains to cheer.
Shortly after the lockdown was lifted here, my hubby and I were ready to go exploring again (<— click for some awesome Swiss landscapes we saw). Travelling to a region in the Bernese Alps where we have not spent that much time yet, the weather and the time was perfect for hiking.
So we went. Starting in one small village up through forest, wildflower meadows, along a mountain stream, at some point sharing the path with cows munching on rich pasture, and then reaching the height overviewing the whole Alpine valley and spotting a house…
We were indulging in the views and a little surprised by this beautiful house. The houses and huts in such higher areas are for cow keepers and herders during summer and you can often see the wearing out of the houses by harsh weather conditions. But this one even had something like a lawn. Silent and in awe by the beauty we sensed, a voice said what we thought in a broad Bernese mountainous dialect: “Eifach schön hie obe!” “Simply beautiful, isn’t it?”. For sure it is.
Such a pretty house and what a view from here, too, we added. To our surprise, the man, who has retired long ago, but still is an Alpine herdsman looking after a herd of youngsters from June to September, warmly invited us to a beer. Passing many such places while hiking since 15 or so years, this has never happened to us before. A bit reluctant at first as we were actually hungry and arrived here with empty stomachs, we gratefully thanked for the kind invitation and agreed to have a beer with him.
Hansueli quickly wanted to go into the house, because he was cooking his meal, as he said. The typical Swiss menu he had on the fire needed to be stirred: Elbow maccheroni with minced meat (Hörnli mit Ghacktem in Swiss German).
When you thought he also brought the beers with him. No way. Instead he opened a little cellar just beside the stairs you see in the pic above, asked us to come in and choose our favourite. So hospitable. „It is well stocked for the summer season.“ he told us and smiled. There was even non-alcoholic beer on offer.
Now we sat, had a beer, and chatted away. Our ears perked up as his dialect was particular and rare these days, characterized by the life here, as I guess. Hansueli used words to describe landscape features I have never heard before. It was so much fun to listen to him and learn from his knowledge. What’s more, it was so good to sit down and have a conversation with a complete stranger after the lockdown. I could have asked a million questions. Luckily, we exchanged mobile numbers and still keep in touch today.
Since his lunch was almost ready, we were also welcomed into the house. It felt like travelling back in time…
Nothing goes to waste, do you see how a tin works perfectly as a flower vase? Isn’t it cute how Hansueli collected his own flower bouquet? I think it is all delightful and reminded me of my grandparents’ farm and life.
The next day was a public holiday and Hansueli would be picked up by his wife to celebrate the birthday of his daughter. They have such a cool tradition in their family, we learnt. They do a secret Santa at the end of the year, but it is “only” to find out who has to cook for whom on her or his birthday. The whole family then comes together on that birthday, but the secret is only lifted shortly before the birthday so that everyone knows where the table will be set. Since the birthdays of the family (four children, hubbies and spouses, and a growing number of grandchildren) are scattered throughout the year, they sit, eat, and have a good time together every few weeks.
It was time that we had some lunch, too. But not before walking a detour Hansueli recommended us to take. Explaining the way, I sometimes had to ask again to be sure we take the right path and turns :0). He sent us a little further up to enjoy the view just a little longer. Thanks so much, Hansueli! Merci vo Härze <3!