Finding affordable accommodations in Switzerland is not the easiest task in the world. When we were headed there in October 2012, we searched and searched for a place that wasn’t too far South from the majority of things we wanted to see, and didn’t cost an arm and a leg.
We fortunately found an airbnb.com rental in Eggiwil, which is a municipality in the canton of Bern, Switzerland. Eggiwil is about 45 minutes Southeast of Bern, and about 30 minutes north of Lake Thun. There is nothing on the map that would draw you to this particular area—it is truly “Nowhere, Switzerland”. Oh, but what a beautiful “nowhere” it is!!
We programmed the address of our “farmstay” into the GPS, and were surprised when we left sight of all small villages and started heading up rolling hills on a paved, single-lane switchback road surrounded by rolling greenery. As if the farmland pastures weren’t gorgeous enough, the backdrop was painted with some of the most breathtaking territory we have ever set our eyes on. As we made our way higher in elevation, we passed endless cows at pasture with traditional cow bells hanging from their neck. We rolled down our windows just to take in the bells, and sang to ourselves “the hills are alive…with the sound of music”!
We turned into the driveway that led to our rental, perched high on a hilltop without anything to disrupt the view!
Ella immediately got out and did what any normal child would do—she rolled down the hills.
We met the two Swiss brothers who own the farm property together, which they manage with their very capable (and hearty) Swiss-farmer wives.
The main house is inhabited by one couple and the livestock (located on the left half of the first level to provide heat for the upper human-living levels), and the other couple lives in a separate house across the driveway—which is where our small one-bedroom apartment was located. The view was grandiose, to the say the least.
Neither couple spoke a lick of English, and our Deutsch certainly wasn’t any better! We had acquired the rental though an English-speaking man who lived in a nearby city and had somehow arranged to rent out their apartment for them online. He handled our booking, although we never met him. The lack of communication wasn’t a problem, even though at one point they enrolled the help of their English-speaking daughter via cell phone, as well as an English-speaking neighbor who came by for a chat. Otherwise—all communication was done without completely understanding one another! The most that usually needed to be said was requesting for them to restart their router—over and over—as their internet was constantly going haywire.
They were kind enough to let our kids wander around their farm, watching them in the middle of their hard labors.
They showed us through the cow quarters, as well as let the girls hold a few piglets from their new littler of pigs.
Each morning we would awake to the sound of cows grazing just below our apartment deck—filling the air with a gentle ringing of bells that provided a peaceful alarm clock to start the day.
We spent 5 nights in this hilltop retreat, wandering out most days to explore the neighboring cities, villages, and attractions.
This area captivated us, and we never tired of soaking in the view. These farmers work hard, but they do it in such a spectacular location—who could complain?
Staying far from any big city or village—up a winding road on a hilltop dotted with farmland—is not for everyone. However, these are the peaceful and authentic experiences that fill us with grins from ear to ear. It was certainly worth the trek and every bit of inconvenience!