Houses of the Bernese Oberland

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I stayed in a small village in the Swiss Alps called Gimmelwald for a few nights, and thought I would make a post about the houses of the village that are typical of the traditional style of the area. Here are some general tidbits about what you are looking at:

-The picture of the building with the picnic tables out front is the hostel I stayed at, which was once a family home. You can also see pictured the sign outside the hostel that gives you some info on it. This place had possibly the best atmosphere of any hostel I stayed (in literal terms too, the air is really fresh up in those mountains). Everyone who stayed there is generally looking for something similar in coming there and so got along really well. Most people are gone during the day but the place fills up at night, there being nowhere else to go in town, and talks about their hike that day as well as swapping travel stories. It was also the only restaurant and bar open that time of year, the only other not opening until June, and so many locals come there to hang out as well. It gives you the feeling of being a lot more connected to the place you are in to be sharing the space with local people. As well, the hostel staff were a mix of both people from the area and internationals. Every hostel has it’s positives and negative though, and the downsides of this place were that you had to pay for showers, the rooms fit a lot of people into a small space, and there was a guy snoring incredibly loudly every night I was there.

-Many homes of the traditional style will have the family name above the door, and/or a good luck saying.

-Many of the homes are split down the middle, being shared between two families.

-A number of homes in town have small shops selling souvenirs, alpine cheese, or eggs on the ground floor. One of which is the honesty shop. The door to this store is just open, and there is no one there. Everything has a price on it and when you take something, you are asked to put your money in one of the envelopes provided, and write on it what you took and the price. Another shop that was in a family home asked you to ring the doorbell, and the owner would come down and let you into the store.

Overall this was one of my favourite stops of the trip so there will be more pictures to come from my time there.


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