My family started visiting Hasliberg in the Swiss Alps when I was still in high school. We rented a friend’s summer house the first year, but after that we always stayed at the Hotel Gletscherblick, a small family-run establishment that was around a century old at that point. My parents continued to go for the rest of their lives, my sister has gone regularly, first with my father (after my mother’s death) and then with her family. After my first year in Sierra Leone we all met there — what a change it was for me after Africa! I subsequently went a couple of times on my own to write, lastly in August 2001 (where I hung out with the coolest 105 year old woman). Of late, I’ve been craving a return with my dog. This year I finally managed it.
(This is our entry in the guestbook when we came in 1975.)
Lucy was a trooper as she traveled by taxi (from our home to JFK), plane (was an angel on the flight), train (two of them), and bus to get to the hotel. And as I’d been led to believe, Switzerland is incredibly dog-friendly. Lucy has been able to walk about just about everywhere — even in the airport terminal! The hotel has been lovely — she is welcome in the restaurant and they brought towels for her after our first wet wander. Sure, she’s been a little nervous with so many changes to her usual routine, but every day she is more acclimated to it.
For me it has been excellent. My purpose in coming here for two weeks was to write without the distractions of home. The hotel room is perfect — unchanged since my last visit. There’s a spacious desk, a wall of windows looking out on the mountains (and that glacier), reliable wifi (so far, at least), and is quiet. I’ve been writing every morning and going out on hikes every afternoon. I wanted solitude and got it — that is, solitude with dog. As others of you no doubt know, an animal companion can be just what is needed in these situations — live company that doesn’t talk and so doesn’t distract. (By the way, I lived in Germany as a child, all of my family is German, and so I speak the language comfortably. In fact, I recently got my German citizenship though not in time to get an EU passport for this trip.)
I’m not sure how many posts I will do because this isn’t an exotic destination. My family moved a lot when I was a child. We vacationed all over; this was the one place we returned to repeatedly and so it means a lot to me. I also think it is a great place for anyone who wants a true Swiss Alps hotel — simple, but comfortable — and an excellent retreat for writing. I highly recommend it.
And so, to end, here are a few shots of our travels so far: