Friday, August 14, 2015

A Retro Chalet Among the Alps, Complete with a Side Order of Bosnia-Herzegovina

When I last left off on the trip to Europe, we had just arrived in Switzerland and spent the afternoon in Zurich, a very cool place.  Our next stop was a retro, 70's style chalet in a tiny little hamlet in the Swiss Alps called Alpnachstadt, just outside of Luzern.  The place was not modern by any means, not how it looked and not how it was run, but as I think back now, it was definitely the coolest and most comfortable place we stayed in the entire trip.

The pictures above depict the road where the chalet was...a quaint little village surrounded by beautiful snow-capped mountains. The school's group has been staying there for years now and it is, from what I am told and from what I could plainly see, pretty much the same as it was from many years ago. The Hotel Roessli is run by a burly, gruff Swiss woman and her young, twenty-something year old son.  The dad passed away a few years back and so now the youngster has taken his place in the family business.  

Though outdated in decor, this large chalet in the middle of nowhere was charming, albeit a little strange.  They sell items like pillows that the mom makes and other knick knacks found throughout the chalet and the keys to the rooms had to be put into boxes whenever you left the hotel.  There was a curfew, 11 p.m., and if you happened to be outside of the hotel after then you were in trouble.  Oh, and you were locked out of the lobby in the morning hours before breakfast, as I found out that first morning when I tried to get to that area early to pick up the place's only Wifi.  

The charm of the place, though, made up for its few oddities.  The expansive wooden structure housed many suite-like rooms on three floors towards the back of the building, overlooking the Alps, and a old-fashioned beer garden-like dining room on the main floor served as our familial atmosphere spot for breakfast and dinner.  It was nice to all be together for those meals, enjoying one another's company in such a beautiful place.

The rooms were quaint, and just like you might imagine a chalet would look like.  Wood paneled walls, nooks and crannies everywhere, a little room for zie toilette and another for zie shower, and mine even had a balcony...what a view!  The retro feel of the place didn't really was by far the most comfortable and coolest place we'd stayed in.


Being a small, family-run business, the Hotel Roessli had a cast of characters that could have made up a sitcom, from the mom and son to the cooks in the kitchen to the bartender in the pub and especially the very strange waitress whom we called Bosnia-Herzegovina.

She was tall and thin and had a beehive hairdo just like Amy Winehouse.  She spoke with a heavy accent that sounded a little Slavic, but none of us were sure.  One thing was for sure, and that's that she wasn't Swiss.  Ivan tried talking with her, to be friendly, but he had a hard time understanding whatever it was she was saying.  I could tell from the way he was answering her very poor English.  I was standing within earshot of them though, as they spoke, I thought she said she was from Bosnia-Herzegovina.  Thus the name.  

From that moment on, Bosnia-Herzegovina became fodder for my own, made-up stories to give Ivan chuckles.  It turns out, she was in Switzerland to pursue her singing career, doing, of course, Amy Winehouse tunes.  She'd come to Switzerland partly to escape her abusive husband and terrible agent Fang.  She took the waitressing gig at the Hotel Roessli because they were going to let her perform on Wednesday nights at the bar in the hotel and she thought it would be a stepping stone to bigger and better things.  

For the remainder of our trip and even until now, Bosnia-Herzegovina's name comes up every once in awhile.  We were saying we'd wished we had her to perform at our European slideshow back in June, or perhaps a Europe trip reunion somewhere here on Long Island.  Well, wherever she is, I'm sure she's packing em in either still in the mountains of Alpnachstadt or maybe even somewhere in Transylvania.  Either way, we all miss her!     

I wish I had a video of Bosnia-Herzegovina performing Rehab or some other Amy Winehouse smash, but I'm just going to have to leave it up to your imagination what that train wreck is like.  In the meantime, check out my past posts on my trip to Europe and stay tuned for more...

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