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Tag: travel

Dutch Work Party – Return & Reflection

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If you want to read about this trip from start to finish, instead of in reverse order, click here!

And then it was Sunday, and time to go home again… Bags packed, room cleaned, checked out, and it was time to walk into the village for the last time, to go to the station. Goodbye Kandersteg!

I had to take a regional train to Bern two hours earlier than I originally booked, which meant I had some time to walk into town for a coffee.

From Bern my EuroCity was supposed to go straight to Köln, but after standing still before and in Basel Bad for way to long, the train staff urged us to change onto one of the ICEs at other platforms. Just as well I took their advice, since the updated arrival time of the EC would have meant I would have missed my connection in Köln.

In Köln I arrived not much later than my EuroCity should have, so eventually the only train going as planned was my ICE 10 to Brussels…


Even over ten years after the last time I was at KISC, it felt like home again straight away! The staff, my fellow members of the Dutch Work Party, the mountains… Seeing people of so many backgrounds and nationalities work together for a common goal, is truly inspiring, and it’s been a real pleasure and privilege to be part of that again.

It was also nice to wear my neckerchief again for a week, and actually do something hands-on for scouting again, and not just meetings and writing, even though that has its place as well.

So while I fully intend to help out with the 2027 World Jamboree in Poland in whatever capacity, I’ll definitely try to squeeze in another Dutch Work Party before then!

Dutch Work Party – Leisure Time!

Thursday at lunchtime, the Dutch Work Party usually puts down their tools, to then spend the rest of the week however they please! However, even though this time we picked up our tools again on Friday morning, before we decided to do that, we already did enjoy a very relaxing Thursday afternoon!


We brought packed lunches, ready to eat on the car train, since our destination was on the other side of the mountain: Leukerbad Therme! Baths inside, outside, hot, cold, or warm, bubbles and massaging jets, slides, and all this combined with amazing mountain views!

In the evening we walked to Taverne Zur Gemmi, a little up the road from the scout centre. I was very surprised to find some Swiss craft beers here! I had both some Thunbier and Haarige Kuh beers. The landlady told me the latter were made by some Scottish brewers in Interlaken, which isn’t surprising if you see the hairy Highland coo on the label…


After our extra morning of work, we spent Friday afternoon in Interlaken. There is a little craft beer scene there—at least three craft breweries—which I couldn’t wait to discover!

Hüsi Bierhaus is kind of Barrel Brewing’s taproom, so I was able to drink and buy some of their beers there.

At Brasserie 17—not a brewery—I found some more beers from Haarige Kuh.

The last one I would never have entered if it wasn’t for the recommendation of a local beer geek who saw me searching for a brewery: Little Thai is really just a Thai restaurant, but it serves beers by Mountain Madness!

In the evening we had the traditional Swiss cheese fondue, albeit not in the main dining hall with staff and other guests this time, but just us in our private kitchen.


Our last full day in Kandersteg the weather was perfect for a hike in the mountains! Unfortunately many trails were still closed after some avalanches and landslides, so like dozens of others, we walked up to the Oeschinensee, and then a little further up to see a waterfall.

Since we had already cleaned our kitchen and handed in the keys, we spent our last evening at Taverne Zur Gemmi again. Just as well, since they had one more Haarige Kuh beer I hadn’t tried yet!

Dutch Work Party – Working…

From Monday morning until Thursday lunchtime, the Dutch Work Party actually does work to earn their stay, This way we help out the limited number of off-season volunteer staf, affectionately known as Pinkies, because of the colour of the T-shirts they usually wear. Our task for this season was to replace the wooden fence around the “Workhof”.

After tearing down the first part of the fence, we quickly discovered the job wouldn’t be as simple as one might think… Luckily the steel in concrete foundations could stay, so we wouldn’t have to dig in the frozen and rocky ground, but that is where the luck ended. Keeping the foundations also meant we had to make the new wooden beams fit the—as it turned out—each slightly different steel supports. The size of the beams also meant we had to be creative, since a lot of the tools present were not big enough to make the necessary cuts and holes in one go…

After solving all the problems, we managed to finally start constructing the fence. However, when our scheduled time was up, there still wasn’t much to show for all the time and effort we put in… So, during our free Thursday afternoon—more about that in the next post—we collectively decided to work Friday morning as well, and actually screw some planks onto those cursed posts!

Dutch Work Party – Warmup Day

The first Sunday of a Dutch Work Party is usually spent getting (re)acquainted with the other participating scouts, and a simple hike in the area. Considering the recent snowfall, we decided we wanted to go snowshoeing.

After waking up in the white Alps, having breakfast and preparing a packed lunch, we started looking into the different options for the day.

Plans and mountain conditions don’t always go well together though, and our first choice—going up with the Sunnbuël gondola lift and follow a snowshoeing trail from the top station—fell through: the trail was closed because of the high avalanche risk. The alternative we then picked, was a lower trail starting in the valley.

After strapping the snowshoes to our backpack, the five of us headed off. The trail started out snow free, but sure it would be covered higher up? It wasn’t… We reached the viewpoint—the highest point of our trail—without ever needing to put on our snowshoes.

Back in the centre of Kandersteg, we rewarded ourselves with some pastry at the Marmotte tea room, and a beer in the bar of Hotel des Alpes, affectionately called “Dessie’s” by KISC staff and regulars.

While we were there and on our way back to KISC, it didn’t stop snowing, so by the end of the day, there probably was enough snow on the trail to use snowshoes…

Dutch Work Party – Back to Switzerland!

For the first time in a little over ten years, I’m off volunteering at the Kandersteg International Scout Centre again! I joined the Dutch Work Party for this four times before—spring 2008, autumn 2008, spring 2010, and autumn 2013—but studies, work, relationships, and just bad timing kept me from returning… until now. As the only participant from Belgium, I offered to travel to Kandersteg by myself by train. This conveniently also enabled me to plan a extended stop in Bern for some beers…

As usual for trips to the east, the first leg of the trip was an ICE to Köln. You’d say by now I know how to get in Brussels Midi station on time, but thanks to the Brussels public transport company, this turned out to be quite a challenge: the metro broke down four stops before the train station, so when it still wasn’t moving after five minutes, I decided to call an Uber for the last bit. With only a minute to spare, I eventually made it onto my ICE

After grabbing some breakfast in Köln station—it was only a quarter past eight by then—I boarded the EuroCity 7, going straight to Bern. No solo seats on an EC, but the passenger who was to sit across from me from Koblenz, never showed up! My seat was all the way back in the last carriage, so I noticed the door with a view to the back, giving me the opportunity to do film from it, like train vloggers do!

Since this train also had a dining car, and I would be travelling until well after lunchtime, I decided to take full advantage of it and already get a taste of Swiss cuisine with some Ghackets mit Hörnli and a Möhl Shorley.

Due to accumulating delays however, my comfortable EC 7 was terminated at Basel, so I had to change onto an Intercity for the remainder of the trip to Bern.

After eventually arriving in Bern and putting my bag in a locker, I headed to VERSA for a proper coffee! The delay meant I didn’t have to spend a lot of time there killing time until the bars would open, and playing tourist was reduced to a minimum as well.

The first bar on my list was OnTap. They had quite an interesting list of beers from all over the world, but I of course had to start with something local: A Slice of Red by Riot Act Brewing, a brewery in Zollikofen, a suburb of the city of Bern.

Next up was Biercafe au Trappiste. As you can imagine, they do like Belgian beers here, and it was actually the only Swiss location to celebrate Cantillon’s Zwanze Day, today! Unfortunately the event would only start at nine in the evening, and even flashing my tattoo didn’t help to get an early taste of the Zwanze 2024… Still, I had to drink a Cantillon as well!

The final bar before getting back on the train, was the beer minded metal and rock bar Ebrietas.

Bag picked up, back on the train—an SBB RegioExpress this time—and an hour later I arrived in a rather cold and very white Kandersteg.

From the station it was then a twenty minute walk to my home for the next week: the New Chalet of KISC.