Annual Camp Kandersteg 2014
Written by Aisling McGovern
Weather: fairly mild in Ireland, basically the same in Switzerland until it lashed rain from around eight all night Early rise as we were to meet at Bewley's hotel to get the Aircoach to Dublin airport at 7am. Everyone was (nearly) on time as we all arrived, bright, eager, and wide awake (I'm kidding most of us were half asleep). As we all waited to get our bus, everyone eagerly chatted about how excited they were, and Maeve and Julia shared a very high pitched scream and high five they agreed to never mention again. Keith nearly missed the bus, arriving with minutes to spare. After a ride on the aircoach and everyone eventually waking up, we arrived at the airport at around half eight.
We all lugged our heavy rucksacks to check in, and some had to bring theirs to oversized baggage, but all was calm as we checked who was sitting beside whom. We managed to get through security, but Sean and Amy set off the security alarm, only to afterwards discover it was a hair grip and a paper clip that set it off... After collecting her carry on, Lara discovered she had lost her boarding pass, resulting in about a thirty second panic of 'I'm not going to be able to go on the plane! I'll have to go home!' until our leader Paul reassured her that she would not be left here, she could still get on the plane.
Everyone got a nice unhealthy breakfast in burger king... Killian and Luke decided to bring a baggage trolley all the way to the gate, which involved bringing it down some flights of stairs... We eventually all got to our gate, and double checked we had everything before we boarded the plane (Lara too, even though she had to be last). The plane took off at around 11:20 and the flight was two hours long. All in all it was a fairly fun flight, from Aisling and Colm dancing to Shakira (hips don't lie, obviously) to Tom being convinced Switzerland wasn't in Europe, to mildly okay tasting tartlets that only half of us ate, to many games of cards, to Colm and Conor starting the clap once the flight landed.
Since there was an hour time difference, we got there at 14:20 Swiss time (13:20 Irish time). We all collected our baggage and waited outside the airport for our bus to arrive, for a three hour ride to Kandersteg scout centre. Aisling fell asleep on Sean and may have caused his arm to go numb, Paul, Derek and Killian had lengthy conversations about space, a lot of food was consumed, and we all admired the beautiful scenery (I'm not just saying that because it sounds good it really was beautiful, I promise).
We eventually got to the centre, and dragged our heavy rucksacks off the bus and to a shelter, before having a dinner of beef, couscous and vegetables. We rented out our tents and gear and pitched them, right before the heavens opened. We went to sleep with the sound of rain outside, and we slept like logs.
Weather: rain, rain and more rain
Up and atom... (Derek quotes) Everyone slept in until about half nine. We had a breakfast of either muesli or cornflakes, and got very excited when we discovered the muesli had chocolate in it. We prepared sandwiches for lunch and set off to get a cable car and walk down to the Oeschinensee Lake. Most of the lads and three of the ventures went for a swim, while the girls watched and laughed at the guys screaming at how cold it was. Colm, Jim, Seamus, Luke, Killian, Paul and Gavin went for boat rides and we all ate lunch before hiking back down.
The lads decided that to stop people from walking through our site, they yell ‘photo!’ and make them take a photo with all of the lads, Colm being the photographer. The first time this happened Maeve poked her head out of the tent and yelled ‘hah, gayyyyy’ We stopped in Kandersteg town to buy food, and some people bought real Swiss army knives. We eventually got back to site.
Aisling and Aislinn cooked a dinner of Spaghetti Bolognese. Everyone else got ready for the scout disco (not as good as phoenix disco 2013!). Once the guys made sure that the girls approved of their outfit choices, we set off to the town. The disco was from 20:00 to midnight, but most of us left early because we were so exhausted. Most of the girls and some of the guys were so tired they made an 'unsociable sociable circle' where we just sat down in a circle in the middle of the floor and refused to talk to anyone else. Most people left at about half ten, and immediately fell asleep.
Weather: surprisingly sunny and extremely warm, resulting one of the workers to freak out yelling in the chalet 'guys, the sun is shining! IT IS WARM OUTSIDE!'
Up at nine, we really aren't good at getting up early, despite many threats by the leaders to throw things at us... Today we did a lot of badge work, which everyone was determined to do since Paul said that if everyone got a badge, he would wear a dress to scouts. We all decided to go for the mini adventure badge, resulting in all of us running around the whole centre trying to find the Swiss national flower and animal. Many people asked the pinkies, which often resulted in bad English responses of 'I haven't a clue'...
We all then headed to the village museum, and obviously learnt a lot... After the museum we headed to the pool, and it was the perfect day for it. The sun was shining, it was really warm, and everyone was dying to swim (except Lara and Aisling, they sat at the side and read). Jim couldn't find his swimming trunks and ended up buying a pair so he could swim. Luke tried to do a backflip off the diving board and ended up hitting his head and chest. After fifteen minutes of lying down with an ice pack on his head, he went and tried to do the backflip again (he got it that time to be fair to him).We were supposed to leave half an hour before we actually did, because everyone thought 'one more dive' meant 'one more dive on that board then get into the other pool'.
The ventures cooked dinner of a Swiss dish that involved pasta and cheese (I can't remember the name I’m sorry) and we all headed down to the bonfire, which most people left early from because they were so tired.
Weather: sunny and warm in the morning and afternoon, rained in the evening but cleared up at around eight or nine
Today was Swiss national day, so we started the day with pancakes made by Paul (he swore that the lumps made it better). We spent a good few hours wandering around the different activities set up for us to do, from swimming to minigolf to clown college to making smoothies and everything in between.
Paul, Colm and Jim decided to figure out everything that rhymed with ‘hah, gayyyy’ including: What’s the opposite of night? Hah, dayyyy What’s your name? Hah, Colm coonayyyyyyyyy What do you do when you buy something? Hah, payyyyyy (in most cases) Oh who’s that? Hah, Maeeeevveee After lunch a fair few of the lads had their faces painted in the Irish flag by Colm (obviously a masterpiece).
After a dinner of sausages and rosti, everyone except Aisling and Maeve (Aisling was sick and Maeve stayed with her) went off for the evening to a number of things. First off was a ceremony celebrating scouting in Kandersteg. We then all went on the parade through the village down to an open area near the train station, making as much noise as we possibly could (which was a lot).
There then was alpine horns and long speeches that nobody paid attention to. We then walked back to the campsite to watch the fireworks, and after telling Maeve and Aisling everything that had happened we all went to bed.
Weather: fairly mild in the morning, sunny in the afternoon and rain in the evening
Today was our day trip to Thun and Bern. We all got up at eight to catch out train at a quarter past nine to Thun, where we visited a medieval castle and exhibition. Trish and Seamus 'accidentally' got locked in one of the towers and there was a spectacular view of the city.
We then got the train to Bern, and had free time to roam around the markets and shops, admiring the weird but hilarious names of the shops there and secretly buying thank you presents for Derek, Paul and Trish cuz let's face it, they're saints for putting up with all of us for this long... We then got the train back, after Tom losing his ticket and us thinking we were on the wrong train at the transfer and four Americans opposite Aisling, Sean, Derek and Dan talking about how terrible Dublin is (offence..)
We got back to our site. After us realising that our shelter was only booked until today, we used our pioneering skills to build another one in the dark and rain. We all went to sleep with the sounds of thunderstorms outside our tents.
Fairly mild with light rain in the morning and afternoon, and lashing rain in the evening
Today was David's birthday. After various sleepy happy birthday wishes, we had breakfast and everyone except David and Gavin (Gavin's back was acting up on him and David stayed with him) we got a cable car up Allemenalp (steepest cable car in Europe) and hiked up to the top of the mountain then back down.
We had a bit too much fun with electric fences, making a really long chain before someone touched the fence and shocking all of us. The ventures also set off on a hike up to a hut where they would stay the night (actual beds... the jealousy was real)
Once we all got back, we had another dinner of sausage and rosti since it was so popular, and Aisling had to take the pepper away from Paul who put far too much pepper on the rosti while it was still cooking, causing Lara to get extremely angry at him and give out to him for also adding cheese to it (he said it was delicious, most people disagreed...).
The lads all went off to make a bivvy they'd sleep in for the night while the girls played cards and asked the leaders, and the leaders asked the girls quite a lot of hypothetical questions. The best one was Paul's, asking what we would do if we got up and all the leaders were just gone, and Aislinn replied with 'we'd understand'.
After birthday cake for David, the lads went off to their bivvy and the girls went to sleep.
Weather: Sunny most of the day Lazy day....
Late getting up and once the lads came back we all headed off to the pool for an hour or two. Most of the girls didn't swim and read/sunbathed. Gavin fell asleep in the sun, resulting in burning his entire back. People got their now-engraved knives and other put theirs in to be engraved. We all lazed around, wandering around the village and site until the ventures cooked dinner of sausages and rosti/fried potatoes.
Lara and Aislinn went off and made English friends, while Maeve and Anna went off and had dinner with THEIR English friends. Maeve and Sean then had a t-rex war, running around with just their hands sticking out of their t shirt arms. We went to bed early enough, as we had to be up early the next day.
Tuesday 05/08/2014 – Wednesday 06/08/2014 (we basically didn't sleep so the two days are just put together)
Weather: sunny and warm...
Today was our last day *sobs* We were woken up at half seven, resulting in Maeve throwing hiking boots at Derek. We packed away all our stuff and took down our tents, which took longer than expected since Julia, Maeve and Aisling had to wipe the floor of their tent clean with baby wipes. We packed all of our gear away and brought our bags to the weather shelter where we would be staying until our coach got here.
We all then lazed around for a while before going down to the village for the last time, and stocking up on food. Amy had to get her Swiss army knife re-engraved twice, since the first time they put down 62nd kilmacup and the second time 62nd klimacud... they eventually got it right. We then went for dinner in des alpes, which unfortunately Trish was sick for .
The lads then decided it would be a good idea to start singing happy birthday before Jim and Aisling gave the leaders their presents (a t shirt and chocolate for Derek, a calculator phone case and chocolate for Paul, and a dream catcher and chocolate for Trish). We headed back to the centre and had free time.
Some of the lads and Paul played volleyball against an English team and Maeve, which they progressively got better at. We then all settled down in the shelter. Aislinn decided to sleep on top of all the bags. We were all freezing, but a few games of werewolves distracted the coldness before we tried to sleep for around an hour before getting up and into our uniforms. We slept like logs on the bus, only seeing parts of the beautiful sunrise.
We all then sleepily checked in our gear and went through security. Sean left his cutlery in his carry on and had to empty his entire bag, and only Sam set off the security alarm. We didn't have time to get any food so once we boarded the plane, we were all tired and starving. We were served with pain au chocolates and chocolate for our food which we all devoured. We then landed and got our gear, and after many hugs, we said goodbye to an amazing few days.