Welcome to Hoffstetten - Courtney Stevens (Switzerland)

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[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]I have been with my second host family for 1 week now and I have been very busy! I am currently living in Hoffstetten and I seem to be in the middle of many mountains; from the front of the house I see mountains almost every direction I look! And as I sit outside writing this I can hear someone practicing the Alphorn in the distance, feeling jealous yet? My current family is Markus and Irene Trauffer-Greub and their two boys Remo (12) and Silvan (10). Markus is a plumber and Irene works at the Ballenberg Open Air Museum. When I arrived here they had just gotten home from camping holidays and were getting ready to send to boys off for the week and get back to work. Last week Silvan was at a farm on the Alp and Remo was at his Grandparents. The boys will be home with us next week then they start school already the following week!

The past week has been busy; we went up the Brienz Rothorn to drop Silvan off at the Alp, we went to the Rosenlaui Gorge, spent a day at the Ballenberg Open Air Museum, I went to Thun for a day, and we celebrated Switzerland’s birthday!

My first day in Hoffstetten we went up the Brienz Rothorn in a steam train to drop Silvan off at an Alp. As usual the walk to the top (from where the train drops you off) was exhausting but well worth the effort. From the top we walked down the little winding path through pastures with cows grazing to where Silvan would be staying for the week. This Alp farm milks about 18 cows and all together they have about 30 cows. They spends 5 weeks at their highest location on the Alp and 3 weeks before and after that they spend at a lower location on the Alp, the rest of the year they spend on the home farm in the town. When the cows are on the Alp they use the milk to make Alpine cheese. The Alp farm consists of 4 different buildings built into the mountain, the house, the barn and kitchen, the hen house, and the cheese cellar. These buildings are really neat because they are very different than the rest of the buildings that I have seen here, and they are generally built into the side of the mountain rather than being fully above the ground. From the farm we took the train down the rest of the mountain. When we got back to town we had milkshakes with Remo then sent him off on the train to his grandparents…

Courtney Steven is a Perth Junior Farmer on exchange in Switzerland. Click here to read the rest of her blog post (http://travelingcourtney.blogspot.ca/2015/08/i-have-been-with-my-second-host-family.html).

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