Thursday, March 01, 2012

The Belle Epoque Experience

When I learned that some well kent Glasgow Ladies were heading to curl outside in Switzerland, I asked if they might record their experiences for Skip Cottage Curling. Kirsty Letton sends the following. She writes:

"We were very fortunate to receive an invitation to visit Kandersteg during the Belle Epoque week at the end of January this year. We were asked to be part of the Open Air Curling event that was just one of the events in this week of many and varied activities. Anne Airey was asked by Herbie Ingold from Bern – an old friend from Highland week days - and she was happy to oblige, bringing Morven Findlay, Anne MacDougall and Kirsty Letton as her team.

L-R: Anne Mac, Morven, Kirsty, Anne A.

Now we didn’t really know what we were going to. We had read a brief description in the Scottish Curler and on Bob’s Blog from last year but there was a lot that we had to learn!

The Belle Epoque is a celebration of 100 years of tourism in Kandersteg. The programme for the week is amazing and we were only just realising all the things that were going on when it was time to leave! Kandersteg becomes transformed during that week with the majority of the locals and visitors wearing clothes reminiscent of the Beautiful Era.

We were well warned about this and we did try ...

... but perhaps didn’t quite achieve the glamour of some of the others!

There were so many activities taking place every day. Ice skating - outside, tea dances, bridge, musical evenings, historic village walks, more candlelit ice skating, old time skiing and telemark skiing, concerts, and organ music.

There were ice hockey matches.

Bobsleigh races!

And of course the curling!

This isn’t just a week for curlers, this is an opportunity to enjoy a very different holiday with so many choices as well as open air curling. We thought that we were competing in a serious competition – but forget that. This is fun! And you don’t have to come with a full team – just come and join in. It is hoped to curl outside all the time but this is so dependent on the weather.

We were forced inside on one day as it snowed, and there is a lovely three-sheeter next to the ice hockey arena. But the next day we were back outside and the conditions were fine.

It was fun but measuring was still an exact science!

Anne gets a lesson.

An 'unusual' delivery.

The gluwein was always on hand to warm us up.

The week comes to a close with an exceptional Ball in the Victoria Hotel which was truly outstanding. This is an optional extra – but what an evening to bring the week to a close. We met some lovely people and were well looked after by all the locals, particularly Casi and Mimi Platzer of the Victoria Hotel where we stayed, and Andreas and family from the Adler Hotel. Doris Wandfluh of the Tourist board had a very busy week but must be very pleased with the outcome.

We had a lovely time meeting up again with Herbie and Doris Ingold (that's Doris in the photo above) and look forward to returning to Kandersteg next year. January 20-27, 2013, are the dates, and next time we will be better prepared to take part in, and enjoy much more of the programme. Put these dates in your diary and experience the Belle Epoque in Kandersteg, see here."

Photos © Kirsty Letton