Mel in Switzerland!

One of our own WA girls is doing a volunteer stint at Our Chalet world centre in Switzerland at the moment, and she sent us this story about her experiences so far:

Cinder-Mella Scrubbing Floors

Cinder-Mella Scrubbing Floors at Our Chalet

Ever since I was a little Girl Guide, we learnt about the four WAGGGS world centres: Paxlodge in London, Our Cabana in Mexico, Sangam in India and Our Chalet in Switzerland. It was always my dream to visit each and every one at some point throughout my life. Now that I am 20 years old, one semester away from finishing my degree at University,  I am finally getting that chance.

I left Perth on the 30th of November, flew to London, where I stayed for 6 days, before flying to Zurich, then on to Adelboden in Switzerland. This is where I am currently spending my Christmas/ summer break, as part of the Winter Volunteer Team at Our Chalet.

I arrived in London on the 1st  December, at 6:30 am.  Even after being in transit all night, I was still keen to get going and that afternoon I was able to visit my first World Centre, Paxlodge.  Though I only did a tour, and a pinning ceremony, it was still one World Centre ticked off! The next couple of days were just as eventful and exciting as the first.  I went to see Big Ben, Buckingham Palace (though I wasn’t invited in for tea), as well as go on the London Eye, spend a day in the Tower of London, take a cruise down the Thames, visit and spend money at Harrods, visit Platform 9 ¾, visit the Harry Potter Studio Tour (this was the first thing I booked after I booked my flights!).  I also went to Stonehenge and Bath with another of the volunteers going to the Chalet (Danielle lives in Bristol UK).  Too soon, it was time to head out to the airport and fly to Zurich.

The flight to Zurich took less than an hour and a half.  I hadn’t even finished my movie when we landed!  From Zurich, Danielle and I caught the train to Frutigen and then the bus to Adelboden.  We were picked up in Adelboden and driven up to Our Chalet.  Thank goodness we were driven, because I don’t think I could have walked that hill with all my stuff!

Left to Right: Danielle (UK), Ana (Argentina), Charlotte (Canada), Sarah (NSW, Australia), Me, Rachael (UK), Sarah (USA).

Left to Right: Danielle (UK), Ana (Argentina), Charlotte (Canada), Sarah (NSW, Australia), Me, Rachael (UK), Sarah (USA).

The first week the 7 volunteers (or vollies), lived in the attic together.  This was only whilst we completed our training.  Once we were fully fledged staff members, with the scarves to prove it, we were allowed to move into the staff house, Stockli.  Stockli means ‘where the older generation lives to supervise the younger generation’.

Sledding on the Staff training day

Sledding on the Staff training day

Our first main program week was Christmas In The Alps.  We ran program days with activities such as orienteering, hikes to the woodcarvers and to the top of Ensligenalp where we did snow tubing, and various evening programs.  My family had come to visit for this week and we spent Christmas Day and Boxing Day on the ski slopes skiing.  Some of the other vollies came and joined us!

One of the main highlights so far has been the World Ski Cup.  The World Ski Cup for Slalom and Giant Slalom, is held in Adelboden each year.  The town of Boden, which is right next to Adelboden, during this time, turns into a sea of white marquees, people, and a mix of mud and snow.  We were highly excited by the free hats.. and free sunglasses.. and more free beanies… and free flags… you get the idea.

I have also had the opportunity to travel quite a bit whilst I am here.  When we are lucky enough to be able to have days off in a row, we all like to go jet setting away.  My first overnight trip away was with Charlotte to the International Scout Centre in Kandersteg, though only the next valley over it was still an hour on the bus.  I am also hoping to get to Italy sometime in February!

If you would like to follow more of my activities and experiences at Our Chalet please check out my Blog: Marsh-Mel-O’s Adventures on either Facebook or Blogger.  There are many more stories and pictures there than I could ever hope to fit into here!

Thanks Mel for sharing your awesome adventure with us! We are following you on Facebook and the blog. Bravo!

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