13 April 2007

Trip to Heidi Land

This post is dedicated to my nieces,
who love Heidi in both book and movie form.

Last November I gave Lucia, my oldest niece, a copy of Heidi by Johanna Spyri for her 8th birthday. It was a book that I had loved as a child and read over and over again. And since I was moving to Switzerland, I wanted to give her something that was from where I was going.

Lucia loved it. And has now read the book a few times. So my mom got the movie version of Heidi and now all of the nieces, including the two who cannot read yet, love it.

When Lucia found out my parents would be coming to visit us, she instructed them to go to where Heidi came from.

And so we did.

We drove to the village of Maienfeld in Canton Graubünden. Johanna Spyri, the author, spent several summers with her family in this village from 1845 - 1852. Not much has changed since then, so the descriptions in her book are still quite accurate. She kept the village the same and simply inserted the characters into it.

Following the numerous directional signs, we drove on a very narrow, winding road to the Heidi Hotel. We parked the car and walked the path to "Heidi Dorf."

Up the hill from the larger village of Maienfeld (seen below), it is a small cluster of a few houses. Many of them still occupied.

The house called "Heidi Hof" has now been turned into a museum. It was already standing when Johanna Spyri would have spent her summers there. In the book, it is where Heidi would have spent her winters. And again, the descriptions in the book are very close. It is obvious the author was familiar with this house.

Inside the house is a recreation of what "Heidi's Bedroom" would have looked like. Including a duvet filled with leaves and a bed made of hay.

And the house even had an indoor toilet! How terribly modern, eh?

As part of the display they included a wheelchair that was typical from that era. Of course, it is the type of wheelchair Klara would have used...

And the views from the house are amazing as well...

Alongside the house is a path leading up to "Grandpa's House." It was uneven and steep. The sign stated it was an 1 1/2 hour hike up to the house. We decided not to hike it that day.

Perhaps when my nieces come to visit we could hike the mountain? (Hint Hint)

Even for those who are not Heidi-Enthusiasts, it is a nice day trip with spectacular views and many hiking options. How could it not be, given how beautiful it is even from the motorway?


Greg said...

The Heidiland rest stop has a wonderfully tacky bell tower. Every hour a door opens and Heidi comes out with a goat and a farmer. All this while the Heidi song is being played. It's quite funny.

The Castle tower, Schloss Brandis, that you can see in the middle of Maienfeld is a restaurant with very good food. They bring you a second plate (or more perhaps, I didn't go past two) of your dinner if you haven't had enough to eat after the first plate. We had our Swiss wedding reception there.

Maienfeld also produces some of the best Pinot Noir in Switzerland. However, you 'll find that the wine from the nearby, less-known villages (ie Jenins) are almost as good, and a lot cheaper.

Global Librarian said...

I had no idea there even was a Heidi Song!

Waldo Oiseau said...

Hi, I'm friends with Alicia, and read this post of yours. How wonderful ... I loved "Heidi."