Although I am just about vegetarian, I dont have the discipline to be successful at the vegan lifestyle. My wife is a Wurst-eating German but was happy to try out the Bergidylle (mountain idyll), which I had found on the internet. It advertised macrobiotic breaks in the beautiful Fribourg region of Switzerland.
With the stunning efficiency for which the Swiss transport system is renowned, we were whisked by train and bus from Geneva (a short hop from Southampton) to the tiny village of Schwarzsee. There, our hostess Edeltraut Peissard picked us up and we scrunched our way up and up through ever deeper snow until we reached the indeed truly idyllic apartment which was to be our home. With an incredible view over the mountains (1200 metres up and with hardly another house for miles), two beautiful rooms and a cosy wood-burning stove, it was a perfect hideaway.
Breakfast (included in the extremely reasonable price) was our first taste of Edeltrauts strict Rohkost diet. Not only does she not eat meat or any dairy products, she also only eats raw fruit and vegetables and looks enviably trim and healthy on it. The trolley wheeled into our room was groaning with every possible variety of nut and berry, each impeccably annotated with a neat yellow label explaining its provenance (mainly from Bergidylles garden). A minor crisis was averted when we admitted we couldnt do without milk in our tea and also didnt fancy rice water on our muesli. Edeltraut wasnt at all judgemental and undertook a major expedition into town in search of milk.
The breakfast was such a revelation that we ordered the optional evening meal, which turned out to be a variation on the Fondue idea, whereby we dipped raw vegetables into a hot broth. Challenging on the old molars, it was nonetheless delicious and something unique to savour. It was a relief, too, that the accompanying basket of goodies contained various organic wines and beers.
We feared wed be blotting our copybook by requesting a visit to the extremely carnivore establishment at the bottom of the mountain, the Mösli-Restaurant. But, keen to support the local economy, Edeltraut drove us down there (for some obscure reason it has a Rolling Stones theme) and cheerfully provided torches for the return hike quite a challenge after a few schnapses.
Wed been enjoying walks round the lake and visits to various waterfalls and ski-lifts, but the greatest treat was Edeltrauts half-day snow-walking extravaganza. The tea-tray size shoes, complete with lethal spikes, enabled us to get right off the beaten track and up into the clouds, feeling quite like Hillary and Tensing as we scaled peaks that would otherwise have been inaccessible, and looked down with scorn on the skiers below.
And all his hardly more that a couple of hours away from home. Wed go back tomorrow.
Find out more at www.bergidylle.ch
From the Hampshire Chronicle