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Tuesday, June 11: Day 50 – The Story of a Placemat

Before I left on this big international adventure, my daughter, Amy Street, wanted to explore the Amish country in Ohio for a mother-daughter weekend. We had talked about it for years, and we knew that our time in Ohio was growing short. (Coincidentally, I learned that I have many Amish ancestors that are buried in cemeteries on their family farms.)

We also visited Sugarcreek which is called “Little Switzerland of Ohio”. We had a Swiss fondue at Chalet in the Valley.

It was on a placemat at this restaurant that I first heard of Guggisberg.

And on this placemat I saw this very picture of the famous mountain called Guggershornli.

I figure if she can climb it in a dress, surely I can climb it with trekking poles.

I rushed home that weekend and declared to Rob that when we were on our trip and in Switzerland, one of our stops would need to be in Guggisberg. He wanted to know why?

“I read it on a placemat.”

Fast forward to today and despite many transportation obstacles, we are in Guggisberg. The town is green and serene and lovely. Now all we need to do is locate Guggershornli.

We are at dinner discussing how we are going to find the famed mountain. Who will show us the way??

Our bread plate looked like this:

We certainly had our first clue. We asked a few questions and the staff at Hotel Sternen pointed us in the right direction.

We started hiking. Everything was so green and beautiful although it was quite foggy with some drizzle. That did not deter me. (I lived in Seattle for several years, and if you waited until the rain stopped in order to do something, you would not do anything.)

We arrived at these steps. Things were looking up!

Up up and away!!

Then we took a left turn through the lush green path.

Then we turned right, then left, then right and then….


The steps are so much steeper up close and in real life. Note the multiple handrails.

At last. On top of Guggershornli. Let’s all sing it together.

Even though there wasn’t much of a view, it was still beautiful. Soon we heard voices and the sound of a dog. And before we knew it, we were joined by Suse, Annalise and Toby.

They “scaled” up Guggershornli in record time. Annalise and Toby are locals and showing Guggershornli to their guest.

They inquired,”Where are you from?
Our answer: “USA.” “Ohio.”

“And what brought you to Guggisberg?”

“We came here because of a placemat.”

They wanted to know the whole story and were quite amazed that Guggisberg was so well known!!

They left before we did. I watched Toby go down the stairs like it was nothing and in record time. I, on the other hand, took one step at a time slowly and surely. It was my maiden trip to Guggershornli!

It was a very full day of hiking and other outdoor activities. We could tell that different muscles had been used and hoped that we were only slightly sore the next day.

At dinner we ordered a lovely cheese fondue at the hotel. They asked us to sit in the corner booth in a separate dining room. We obliged but we were curious why that was. Are Americans so obnoxious eating cheese that we must be separated from the rest of the diners??

During dinner we heard music upstairs and inquired about it. Our waitress told us that it was a yodeling class. I asked if we could sit in on the class. She went to ask and they agreed to it. We were so excited.

Our waitress led the way upstairs and gingerly opened the door. Twenty-six curious eyes met our four curious eyes.

Rob and I sat out in front as if at a special concert for two. It was quite an amazing experience.

There were 12 men and the music was in four parts. The director was a young woman. She was the only one who spoke some English. She told us that the men of The Yodeling Club of Guggershornli did not read music. They only use sheet music for words.

Many of the themes of the songs are about expressing joy and thanksgiving to God for the land, mountains, and nature. She did not claim to be a music teacher but was a schooled yodeling teacher. I would think that yodeling is a music teacher specialty.

Once we were more acquainted, they started inquiring about us. They had heard that we were from Ohio in the USA but wanted to know what brought us to Guggisberg.

My response: “I read about it on a placemat…” And the story repeats itself.

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