Camping Hobby 3, Unterseen near Interlaken, Switzerland

The attentive camping guest becomes aware of the fact that animals have a high value on the Camping Hobby as soon as he enters the very well-kept campsite, idyllically situated in the countryside: Lovingly self-made signs warn of potential cross-traffic on four paws. Depending on the season, whole flocks of birds romp around loudly bickering for the delicacies laid out especially for them, watched suspiciously by cats Züseli, Peppi and Züsibüsi. Until just a few years ago, the male German shepherd dog Tiger was keeping an eye on the goings-on. A picture in the information showcase at the reception still commemorates the watchdog with a weakness for cheese.

No images were found.

»I deliberately left the picture hanging, for deterrent purposes,« says the owner of the campsite, Heid Blatter, with a wink. She has been running Camping Hobby in the second generation for more than 40 years. It was her mother, Lily, who in the 1950s - armed with a large portion of pioneering spirit and the hope of earning a few extra francs on the side to feed the big family - opened a campsite in the middle of a green field. Since she regarded the whole thing as a hobby, she simply called the campsite »Hobby«.

At that time, the mostly British, Dutch or French guests simply looked for a free spot on the meadow. There were no plots or pitches yet. The tents did not have zippers yet, but had to be closed with ribbons and sometimes laboriously unknotted again. All campers shared a water tap and a toilet. Camping life was simple, but an affordable holiday experience for the whole family.

The times of water bucket and queue in front of the toilet are long gone. Today, the meadow of yesteryear presents itself as a modern and very well maintained 4-star campsite, where guests from all over the world feel equally at home with their tent, caravan or motorhome. What remains is the unique view of the Eiger and Mönch. And the warmth of the hosts. While pioneer and »Camping Grosi« (meaning camping grannie) Lily has meanwhile retreated behind the scenes due to her age (where she often bakes cakes or cookies with a whole host of guest children), daughter Heidi is at the front line from April to the end of September, working for the well-being of guests. With straw hat and waving skirt, she cycles across the square, answering questions here or making sure that the night's rest is kept with sympathetic severity there.  »My guests appreciate the quiet location and the fantastic view of the mountains,« she enthuses, »that's why many of them have come for decades and now come with their grandchildren.«

Actually, she too would already be retired. But she doesn't want to stop. At Christmas alone, she devodedly writes hundreds of personal Christmas cards to her guests. »Should I just sit around all day? A life without my guests? It's out of the question!«

(Text German version: Bettina Fuchs, photographs: Camping Hobby 3)