Posted by JaneGuides on September 6, 2013
Patsy and Penguin were the mascots for an exciting trip to Switzerland for 6th St Austell Guides and their Leaders. Paula Volkner, the leader, said that she would never have had the courage to take a group such as this abroad without the support that Guiding gives, and that although Cornwall seems a long way away from anywhere, it is well worth the effort to get to such exciting places.
The girls tell the story in their own words:
We arrived at Poltair School on Friday 9th August very excited. We loaded the holdalls into the coach - many of the holdalls were light as a feather, however others were as heavy as a rock! We looked smart as we all wore our guiding uniform and our international neckerchiefs. We said our goodbyes to our relatives and then posed for a picture for the paparazzi with Pasty and Penguin, our mascots for the trip.
We had cake on the bus because it was Alice's birthday and we all signed a card for her too. We boarded the ferry at 10pm and looked around the boat. Soon the crossing was finished and we all then jumped on the bus again looking like zombies at this point and went to sleep for most of the night.
We got to Berglick Chalet at 11:30am. It was Pete's birthday too! We unpacked, settled into our allocated rooms, had lunch and packed our bags for the swimming pool. We needed to cool down as the weather was beautifully warm and sunny. By Beth
On our first full day in Adelboden we took a peaceful walk from our chalet to the Engtligansfalle Waterfall. The scenery was beautiful and the weather was perfect for walking. Throughout the day we walked 8 miles which took us 3 hours including many photo opportunities, with Pasty and Penguin, who at times found the walking just too much! We witnessed our first herd of Swiss cows with their big bells and ate wild strawberries found by Pete. Once we finally arrived at the waterfall we took the time to rest, look back on where we had come from and listen to the lovely sound of the waterfall. I think this was an excellent start to our holiday as it allowed us to take in the spectacular views and wear in our walking boots! By Abby
On Monday we woke up early to start a busy day - we were off to the Jungfrau, nearly the top of Europe. It took us an hour to get to the train station on the coach and took two hours to get up the mountain on the scenic train where we had reserved seating. We jumped out the bus and were given a Yorkie chocolate bar to boost our sugar levels and water to hydrate ourselves so we didn't feel ill at the top with the altitude (which luckily no one had problems with). The journey on the train was eventful, having made several changes to reach the top. We took many breathtaking photos of the landscape. When we got to our destination most of us got hit by the low temperature and started putting on our hats, scarfs and gloves. Once we had managed to fight the crowd we went up the lift to the Sphinx, which is the highest viewing platform being 3,571m above sea level. We all stepped out on the open grid platform where photos were taken rapidly and we all gathered together and had a snack to eat. We then moved on to the Ice Palace seeing many different sculptures of: penguins, dogs, bears, birds and Sherlock Holmes. After that we went out to the snow where everyone turned into little children with Pete starting off a snow ball fight while around us people were zip wiring, skiing, tobogganing and going down on snow tubes. We all got a chance to go on the toboggans which was great fun and it was only a matter of time until we came flying off, leaving us lying in the snow. It was really funny to experience but also great to watch when people weren't so successful. Penguin was very happy to be in the snow and play but his mate Pasty didn’t like the cold at all. And that was it, time had flown by, with just time for 8 Senior Section girls to renew their Promise in the snow at the top of Europe and it was time to catch the train. By Sophie
On Tuesday we visited one of the 4 Guiding world centres called 'Our Chalet'. When we arrived we were greeted by a staff member who gave us a briefing on the history of Our Chalet. It was really interesting to learn about why Our Chalet is located where it is and who the leaders of this World Centre were. After the briefing we were split into 3 groups and were taken to different buildings around the site for a tour. The tour provided us with a good idea of what Our Chalet was like and what it was used for when it was first built. The last stop of the tour was the gift shop where you could buy badges, postcards and other souvenirs about Our Chalet. The site and views were beautiful and it was well worth visiting. We all thoroughly enjoyed visiting Our Chalet and learning the history. By Chloe
In the afternoon we went to the woodcarvers. Before we even got inside the shop we saw a wonderful carving of a bear and lots of other spectacular carvings. The shop was even more impressive than I imagined, there was almost every possible gift that you could have given. There were music boxes, dream catchers, decorative spoons and much more. We collected our woggles or our trefoil badges. By Sam
On Wednesday we took part in white water rafting. First we arrived in a car park to collect our wet suits, shoes, helmets and life jackets and then we travelled to a location near the river. Once we were arranged into groups we were briefed to ensure our safety whilst on the river. Unfortunately Pasty and Penguin couldn’t join in this activity as we didn’t have any life jackets for them! Once this was complete we began rafting, I was at the front with Chloe and we had to set the rowing pace for the others in our group that were behind us, we also had to row at the same time which required a lot of team work. Occasionally we would approach a rapid and we would have to sit inside the raft rather than on the edge, it was really exciting. Rafting was really tiring but great fun! At one point we had the opportunity to get out of the raft to lie in the safety position and swim down a calm part of the river - the water was freezing. Overall white water rafting was a brilliant experience and a lot of fun. Easily one of the best days of our time in Switzerland! By Katie
In the afternoon we went to the chocolate factory, it was great fun! First of all we watched the chocolatier make some caramel-filled mountains which were very nice. We found out about the history of cocoa which, surprisingly, I found extremely interesting. After that we watched the chocolatier make a chocolate shoe in a plastic mould. In fact it was like a Cinderella shoe. We also had little chocolate lollipops filled with some sort of nut crème. We got to decorate them with some sweets and I put smarties on mine. In conclusion we all, including Pasty and Penguin, our mascots, had a fantastic time and we all thoroughly enjoyed the visit. By Daisy
In the evening we visited the local ice skating rink for the ice disco. Some of us were nervous of falling and others were whizzing around the rink at top speed. We helped one another to build confidence and skate. A brilliant end to a very busy day. By Zoe
Thursday started off with a trip up a cable car to the toboggan run, this was just brilliant, and the second go was even faster. After we enjoyed twisting and turning on the toboggan, we decided to walk down to the lake. After a good 20 minute walk through cows and woods, we finally made it to the beautiful lake, where we sat and ate lunch, had a paddle or a swim if we really wanted to. But the remaining girls who didn't want to go swimming just sun-bathed. Then we had to walk back down the mountain to the bus where we travelled to Kandersteg Scout Centre to look in the gift shop. It looked really nice outside and was very clean. All in all we had a fantastic day, which left us all exhausted! By Ellie
Friday: We started the day with birthday celebrations for Ellie who was 12, these continued when we got back from our day out with water games and birthday cake. Today we went to visit the mountain cheese farm. The bus took us near to the waterfall we went on Day 1, then we boarded a cable car to take us up the mountain. At the top we were split into two groups as we were too big a group all to go to the same place. We saw the cows that produced the milk and then followed the whole process that is gone through to make the cheese. Although quite smelly, the tour was really interesting and Adam even helped to stir the whey. At the end of the tour we were asked if anyone wanted to buy some cheese. After that we went down and saw how the cheese was kept to mature in the barn, where Pasty and Penguin managed to get a photo. By Hannah
After we had visited the cheese farms, we headed back to the restaurant where a variety of mountain games had been organised for us. Groups of 4 tried each of the games, to compete to be the winners. Games included: hammering nails into a tree trunk, throwing balls at cow bells to make a noise, milking a cow (not a real one!) and more. Whilst milking the cow you had to sit on a one-legged stool and wear the traditional hat. Each team had to record their results which all got added up at the end. Emily, Hannah, Molly and Gemma were in the winning team - if it wasn’t for Emily’s throw at the cowbells they wouldn’t have won. After the games we were treated to chocolate fountains, with fruit to dip in. It was yummy! By Emily
Paula herself sums up the holiday:
As the leader of the group I was just like to add that it was a fantastic holiday for us all, and an achievement for me, as I have never been abroad before! It just shows you what opportunities Guiding can offer to not only the girls but Leaders as well.
Paula Volkner and our mascots, Pasty and Penguin!!