Images and text by Louise Gooding
It was only natural that at some point the The Woolf would again team up with the Book Fairies of Switzerland and share in a bit of literary fun!
With the summer holidays drawing to an end, ‘Woolves’ Susan and Louise, along with Book Fairy Ellie and two visiting fairies from London and Toronto, were lucky enough to receive a donated stack of books from the lovely Bergli Books to hide whilst hiking along the Heidi trail, a family-friendly themed hike in Pizol, Switzerland.
For those who don’t know the story, Heidi was a children’s book written in 1881 by Swiss author Johanna Spyri, and based on the real life of Heidi Schwaller. As a girl, Heidi went to live with her goat-herding grandfather in the Swiss Alps. She soon makes friends with a young boy, Peter, and his blind grandmother, and the adventure begins …
On the trail, your mission is to seek out all of Heidi’s lost goats. At the lowest gondola (‘Berg’) station, each visitor is presented with a stamping card to keep with you throughout your adventure. For each goat you find, you pop the card in the goat’s mouth, pull on its horns and, in true goat form, it takes a nibble out of it, leaving you with a little indentation.
To get to the trail, you must first take a gondola up the mountain. There are a few extra-special themed gondolas with gingham curtains, an illustrated copy of Heidi for your perusal and lots of cuddly marmots, goats and of course Heidi and Peter—so make sure you wait for one of these. Of course, being with Book Fairies, we added an extra book for someone to find and take on their journey. We left a copy of the gorgeous Treasured Alps, Threatened Alps cuddled up with Heidi and Peter.
Along the trail you find not only the goats, but more interactive stations, a barefoot walk, a giant swing seat, animated storyboards, a grilling area, restaurants and, of course, beautiful scenery and nature.
We hid 20 Swiss-themed books along the trail for others to find, take home, read and hopefully hide again for someone else to enjoy. As Heidi is so ingrained in Swiss culture, there seemed no better idea than sharing a little more Swiss culture with those on the trail that day.
Over the past year, the Book Fairies have built a great relationship with publishing house Bergli Books and decided to contact them to see if they would be happy to help us on this mission.
Bergli Books specialises in books that focus on Swiss culture, history and traditions, publishing books for both children and adults in English, German, French and Italian. Their books are not only great for visitors but also the Swiss, who can enjoy learning about the origin of certain traditional drinks, or the best tried and tested swimming lakes or maybe a little more about the flora and fauna that can be found in the mountains.
It was fun to leave a little something behind and occasionally see the delight in people when they discovered the books and realised they could take one home to enjoy. Part of being a Book Fairy is catching this magic and the smile spreading across a person’s face.
With thanks to Bergli Books for donating copies of:
The Trailing Spouse: Reimagined
The Monster Book of Switzerland
Drink Like the Swiss
Treasured Alps, Threatened Alps
Bergli Books: www.bergli.ch
Heidi trail: pizol.com/experience-summer/hiking/27/heidi-trail?lang=en_GB
You can read The Woolf’s first interview with Book Fairy Ellie here.