This year, we’ve taken to following a theme on a monthly basis and, if you haven’t noticed it yet, WeHike’s March 2017 puts the spotlight on the Swiss Alps.
We’ve said a lot of things about Switzerland’s majestic alpine peaks and the surrounding regions. We’ve also highlighted some of its unique attractions. But with such an awesome landscape just brimming over with so many beautiful sights and experiences, it’s hard to run out of wonderful discoveries in the Swiss Alps.
Recently, we’ve caught wind of yet other unique offerings from one of the top Alpine attractions in Europe, as follows.
Room with No Walls
There’s a lot of talk about having a world with no boundaries and breaking personal boundaries. How about experiencing a physical place that’s just that? No walls, no boundaries… That’s what the Null Stern, an open-air hotel, is all about.
Translated from German, the lodging’s name means “zero stars” – quite a cheeky poke at the hotel industry’s ratings system. Guests at the Null Stern will only have to deal with a bed, its covers, and pillows (plus minimalist-looking lamps and furnishings) when booking for a stay at the said place, which is found in the middle of the Swiss Alps (Graubünden) and is nearly 2,000 meters above sea level.
The hotel began accepting bookings just last year in July. Despite the unusual setup, the accommodation is said to be fully booked for the entire 2017.
“The star is not the hotel but each guest,” Daniel Charbonnier, Null Stern co-founder, said in an interview. “We got rid of all the walls, and the only thing left is you and your experience.”
A night at the wall-less hotel will set you back for about $210. Although the hotel has no bathroom, there’s a public bathroom down the mountain and could be reached after a 5-10-minute walk. There’s room service, though. Guests can arrange for dinner or breakfast in bed while enjoying the panoramic view of the landscape.
Fresh Air in a Bottle
Those wanting a whiff of the Swiss Alps can now take a deep breath of the fresh, alpine air without even hiking to the famed region, thanks to London-born Swiss resident John Green.
Appreciative of the difference between mountain air and the urban atmosphere, Green decided to sell the “champagne”-like air of the Swiss mountains after enjoying life in Switzerland for 2 decades. He has since set up a website for this entrepreneurial endeavor, selling Swiss air in three jar sizes. One pint is sold at $97, a quart is peddled at $167, and a ¾ gallon container is sold at $247. To reassure his clients the product is indeed legit, a certificate of authenticity accompanies each jar.
When asked where he collects the said Swiss air, Green merely said he got it from “a babbling mountain stream, fed by melted water from a famous glacier, near a very famous mountain,” as he revealed in an interview.
Buyers, however, are provided with GPS coordinates of the extraction location.
Green’s entrepreneurial effort is not merely for profit, though, as he has earmarked 25% of the profits from his products for the benefit of child-focused charity World Vision.
A Ring of Fire
If your hike happens to be around Saanerslochgrat at Gstaad, you might notice a fiery situation there, thanks to the telltale sign of smoke billowing to the sky and a certain sound. It’s part of the bi-annual event called Elevation 1049, which is a collection of creative installations by various artists.
Up close, the burning installation, which comes with a sound piece and is set up by Douglas Gordon and Morgane Tschiember, is actually a ring of fire and is named “As close as you can for as long as it lasts.”
“The piece is a sculptural and performance-based tale of the lonely traveler, as well as a call and response between the two artists involved in the piece,” a report on the installation noted. “The howling work is meant to trigger primal fears of dangerous animals and the dark woods, drawing visitors closer to the warm fire.”
The installation began on February 4 and ends on March 19, 2017. You still have a week left to travel to check it out.
Ever heard or experienced any of these three Swiss Alps offerings? Do these make you want to swing by for a hike? Share your own unique experiences with us!
By the way, here’s a fantastic parting shot of a video of the Swiss Alps (Hübschhorn East ridge and Simplon pass) by Gab707. Enjoy!