M I R T E W A S H E R E
Why was Mirte here?
The idea behind this trip was to win a writing contest. A friend told me about it, so I applied, made sure my article would be published and packed my bags to fly first class to Geneva. It was the first (and only) time I got to sit first class in a plane. MySwitzerland – the heart of all Swiss tourism boards – made sure me and the other competitors were being treated very well.
THE REAL LIFE FAIRYTALE
It’s doesn’t happen that often that I travel through Switzerland. But when I see the opportunity to do, I’m always exited and amazed by her beauty…and her history.
All I had to do was get to know the two mountain villages Arosa and Lenzerheide, two identities in Graubunden that are only separated by one mountain, to find a original story line. However, after fifteen years of discussing politicians, meetings between mayors and fights among the tourismboards, these two villages would become one. Not if you ask the local people, who have been living their peaceful lives for many generations and are definitely not up for changing anything about that. But they had no choice. A brandnew super high tech gondola worth twenty million Swiss Francs would be built. Voilá, it looked like I had found my story.
Arosa is a very small and traditional mountain village that you can reach by driving up a mountain road with 360 sharp turns or by taking a little train with an amazing view. Her people are mostly families that have been working and living there for many generations. Walking and hiking through the beautiful and idyllic scenery gave me the feeling that this is the most peaceful place on earth. Till I met some local people. They would do nobody harm, that was not it, but they were angry. They didn’t ask for more tourism, they didn’t ask for a big gondola ending up at their side of the mountain. But the building had started already. I heard many stories and started to feel sad for them. The charm of hiking up this mountain to visit friends and family on the other side in Lenzerheide seemed completely destroyed. All by the needs of more luxury.
After a few days, I became curious about Lenzerheide. What kind of village would that be? How big is it? What are the differences with Arosa?
We took the train down to the valley, enjoyed the beautiful views that Switzerland is famous for, and went up to Lenzerheide by bus. Arriving there is as much impressive as it was arriving in Arosa. A big turquoise coloured lake divides the area in two parts. The valley is a bit more open and you can see that the amount of tourism, thanks to the more easy way to access it, is way higher. Big luxury and beautiful hotels, fully in tradition with the well known Swiss culture, receive you well with open doors.
Instead of being angry, the local people – who are not as local as the people in Arosa – are only happy about the connection. The lift will improve the wishes of every skier, hiker and adventurer. Besides, a new part of the mountain will be more easy to access from both sides which only creates new opportunities for mountain lovers.
Almost convinced that I would agree with the honest stories of the people in Arosa, I suddenly started to agree with the points made by locals in Lenzerheide as well.
There was nothing bad about the gondola project. Arosa’s culture would not disappear all of a sudden and the two villages would still keep their identity. Both will be easier to reach, both will grow a bit and from both sides people will discover all of it. Just like me. Sure, I have to admit, the charm of all those stories will be less easy to pass on…but they are still there. And they always will be.
I wrote the story for the writing competition with a lot of dedication, fully reliving all the memories of the people I had met. They made me think about how things can look and feel so different once you know the story, an honest inspiration.
Did I win? No. I didn’t. But the experience was more worth than any price could have be.
Camera button pressed by @mirtewashere or marked otherwise.
It’s really easy to find a nice place to stay in Arosa or Lenzerheide. There is only one ‘but’: it’s expensive. So do your research and make sure you find some that fits. One good thing about it is that no matter which appartement or hotel you pick, you can assume it’s been taken well care of.
The Swiss Franc is a steady coin, but check it’s value before you go. Also remember that everything is very well organised. When you catch a train or bus you can’t be late, they always leave on schedule. It sounds a bit boring, but it’s pretty impressive to see how Swiss people do it. One thing you should probably avoid is talking about the prices in shops, hotels and restaurants. They will feel offended and that is not working out well.