Excellent but long journey – taxi to Leeds, train to London, tube to Bank, Docklands Light Railway to London City, flight to Zurich and then three trains. I finally arrived here in Schiers. Seems strange to be back here again, especially as I don’t have to work this time.
There’s a lovely family of Canadians from Vancouver staying as Workawayers so we all had dinner together. Unfortunately, they are leaving tomorrow. They are travelling to Glasgow to visit family.
I’ve been home now for 24 hours so that’s the end of my daily posting on My Swiss Diary. Who knows, I may be back again next year? Thanks to everyone who kept me company on this adventure!
Leaving Rossgasse On My Way to Schiers Station Early on Sunday Morning
Today I did my last everything … ironing, cooking, cleaning, serving guests. Then I took my cases to Chur Railway Station where there’s a service that checks you in for your flight and relieves you of your bags so that you can travel by train unencumbered to the airport. I’ll next see them tomorrow lunchtime in Manchester. After a quiet afternoon chatting with a new guest, Agnes and I served the evening meal outside again on the terrace.
… But then this evening I discovered the handbook Agnes must have meant me to read in advance of my starting to work here : The Sunlight Book of Housework. It was on the book shelves in my room! Surely a hint as to how the housework here must be done!
Now, I’m intrigued to see all the jobs I did :
A bit of brushing and sweeping
Cleaning the wash basins
A bit of mending
Serving the Guest Breakfasts and Sometimes Dinner
Popping the Laundry in the Washing Machine
Popping it in the Drier
All the Ironing
Plus all those travels and hikes … I’ll be glad to get home for a rest!!
Tomorrow Agnes is arranging to pick up a car via the Swiss Mobility programme and she wants to take me to some places that I haven’t been yet! That will be lovely as on Saturday I have to clean my room and bathroom and pack my case. In the afternoon I will take advantage of the Fly Luggage arrangement via Swiss Railways in partnership with Swiss Airlines. On Sunday I fly home and my Swiss Adventure will be over for this year. But another year … who knows?
So after the morning jobs and lunch and a rest I took off for a final walk down to the road and into Schiers. You can get a good view of the house from the road and also check that the donkeys are OK!
The Chalet from the Road below
The Farm Below our Chalet
Our Donkey Neighbour
Schiers Main Street
Looking forward to tomorrow’s trip. Agnes has two weeks holiday from her job in Landquart so it will also be nice for her to get out for a while. In the meantime the guests will dine with us this evening.
We have no guests for two days so having caught up with ironing and having done several machine loads of laundry yesterday I’ve had a pretty free day today. There’s now another heap of ironing but I’ll get on with that later. I could have made another excursion today but decided to mooch around the chalet reading and resting and generally catching up with emails and texting after the weekend’s activities. I did pop down to the little Co-op supermarket at the other end of town.
I can post plenty of sights of Switzerland and have been doing so but there are also some very distinctive smells and sounds which are impossible convey over the internet. (I suppose I could search Youtube for some cow bells and you’ve already heard the yodelling!)
The cows in the field opposite
Opening the dining room and kitchen windows this morning we could sniff the freshly mown hay. Hiking through the pine woods there is also a damp pine needle smell.
Damp woodland smells
Then out in the open meadows there is the smell of all those wild flowers. Honeysuckle and roses are the most distinctive.
Neighbours loading up the hay – 21st century style
The most prominent sound here at the chalet is the tinkle of cow (mixed with goat) bells. There’s a donkey in the field opposite as well and he/she brays from time to time. Then there are the church bells that seem to ring around noon every day.
And there’s the birdsong when out on the mountains and meadows. Unfortunately we can also hear the road, which, although some distance away can be quite loud at times, presumably due to the nature of the valley formation. I do love to hear the sound of a train coming and always look to see the red carriages disappearing up or down the valley.
When out hiking you can always hear the sounds of rushing water as the streams and waterfalls tumble their melted snow water into the valleys below and the gentle tinkle of the spring water piped into an often fancy water trough.
Alpine Water Trough
In addition to dear Raki, Hera and Lucy the chalet is also home to a rather large number of inanimate cats. They come in all sizes and colours and even shapes and are made of all sorts of materials and some are even 2 dimensional. Here are just a few which I took without moving from the ground floor.
A Pussy Bank?
Just throwing in the lovely posy of flowers for good measure!
Earlier this week I looked out of the kitchen window and noticed two old men standing outside the house and looking up at it whilst talking to each other. Then I saw Agnes approach them and join the conversation. It turns out that one of the men was involved in building the house back in 1948. It’s a lovely wooden house – old but not ancient. When Agnes bought it about three years ago it was divided into two separate dwellings so, although she has had the ‘ground’ floor opened into one with a lovely long hall, the first floor rooms are quite separate from one another and there are two staircases.
Agnes’ loft area is one large open space at the top of the house. The East side was totally uninhabitable so it was the first area to get the renovation treatment and now is equipped with two guest bedrooms – single and double – and a modern bathroom. On the ‘ground’ floor the modern kitchen and dining room are open plan and that’s an area where ‘staff’ and guests can mingle.
I put ground floor in inverted commas because literally on the ground floor are the workrooms, laundry, washing lines etc.
The Wooden House nestles into the hillside
The Double Room is ready for guests
Raki is probably my favourite of the Rossgasse cats. Poor Raki was found in a bin in Zurich by Agnes’ daughter’s neighbour. The neighbour had enough cats already but was on the look out for someone to take him on. So, Agnes stepped in. Raki is disabled from brain damage but able to get around in a clumsy ‘drunken’ fashion; hence his name. Raki is a Turkish alcoholic drink. One of Agnes’ favourite holiday locations is Crete and raki is also called by that name in Crete. “Cretan tsikoudia (which is also known locally as raki)“
When the food is being distributed Raki can MOVE! He hobbles along so quickly. He could, of course, also be called Lucky. Not only is Raki a survivor from birth but he has a penchant for lying in the road outside the house. About 6 cars a day come along this road and he doesn’t always move out of the way so the cars stop and someone gets out and lifts Raki to the roadside out of danger.
Raki in the road
It is now my job to make the Bircher Muesli each evening ready for breakfast the next day. On previous visits to Switzerland I don’t think I ever had this dish for breakfast. In the past I have had it as a supper dish – but I could have misremembered. Anyway it is a very popular dish with our present guests who are from Germany.
On Monday evening Agnes and I made the Muesli dish together. On Tuesday she entrusted me to make the whole thing. For this all measurements are approximate – a handful of this, a squeeze of that, any available fruit either grated or chopped, pour in some milk, some cream, some yogurt and taste, adding more sugar if needed.
The oats go in first
I think it was a success!
Here’s Lucy – what a combination of colours. Lucy is the lady! She is very feminine and knows it. She always wants to look her best.