The Swiss tourist board has come up with a plan to tear people away from their computer screens by giving away a holiday in a mountain hut. It has been launched through its Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/MySwitzerland) and is entitled ‘Holidays without Internet’. Ironically, my bandwidth out here in the (very relative) sticks of Surrey doesn’t allow me to download the film you need to watch to enter the competition. So it looks like I won’t be a contender.
But that shouldn’t stop you entering, as the prize is “a break in unspoilt nature” for the winner and – this is my favourite bit – 10 friends. OK, they have to be Facebook friends, but most people with a Facebook profile can choose between dozens of these, even if they can’t remember exactly how they know most of them.
During the break there will be no mobile signal or internet access – and I cannot even find a website for the hut itself, the Seewli in the canton of Uri, south of Lake Lucerne. A quick Google search tells me it is at around 2,000m, and I have found an intriguing website (http://www.seewli.ch.vu/e) that seems to say the hut is not open yet, and includes a link to the competition. Perhaps it is a new hut?
Most mountain huts I have stayed in have patchy mobile reception, if any, and no internet acess. Sometimes, there isn’t even an electric socket to charge a mobile or other gadget. However, on one recent ski tour (see March posts) I stayed in the Monte Rosa (Switzerland) and Guglielmina (Italy) huts, both of which have Wifi. This gave my companions free rein to fiddle with their iPhones and have their mobiles on the table at supper – and it was a relief when we moved to the less sophisticated surroundings of the Schoenbiel and the Grand Mountet huts, where you could barely get a signal and all electronics except head-torches were consigned to the bottom of people’s rucksacks.
As Switzerland Tourism says in its press release about the competition, “A stay in the hut won’t be dull . . . During the stay, [the Facebook friends] might even become real friends.” I quite agree: there will be swimming, hiking, picnics, cards, a few bottles of Fendant and lots of stories to tell. And by the way, if you heard about the competition here and you find you’re the lucky winner, I’ll be expecting an invitation…
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