We are traveling through Europe via car, and our final destination is Kandersteg, a small town in the Swiss Alps noted mostly for the Belle Époque, a week in winter when the culture, science, and society that flourished in Europe in the year 1900 are remembered and emulated. Except for that event, there seems to be nothing else noteworthy about this quiet mountain town.
Until you look a little deeper.
This is our destination.
The Hotel Victoria is a marvelous building. It was first established in 1789 as the Hotel Ritter. About 100 years later, it was extended with an adjacent building to become the Hotel Victoria. The hotel kept the Edwardian and Victorian architectural style.
That’s not to say it hasn’t kept with the times.
Let you think Hotel Victoria has failed to modernize, that structure on the left is an indoor swimming pool.
Let’s go exploring!
It is October, and we are high in the mountains. (The lowest elevation in Kandersteg is 1,150 meters above sea level). Thus, the weather switches from warm and sunny to cool and cloudy on a regular basis. Not to worry, because we brought plenty of warm clothes. Notice my authentic Bavarian attire. 😎
Kandersteg is about a picturesque and quaint as you’d imagine a Swiss village to be. A stream run through the town under arched bridges made of stone, the lawns are green and manicured, everything is clean and bright, and the background is majestic mountains and green conifer forests.
The church is next to the Hotel zur Post, which is next to Schuhhaus Hari, because everyone needs shoes, right? In the background, we can see the ski lift gondola poles stretching up to the summit.
On the outskirts of the town is an old chapel made of stone. I imagine it gets pretty cold inside during winter. Brrrrr.
Parking is not a problem if you can get your vehicle really, really close to the building.
Feeling a bit hungry? Why not try the Fleischautomat, where you can get meat from a vending machine? Yum! Note: since we do not have a stove, we are not able to experience this Swiss delight.
Need a souvenir of Kandersteg? What could be better than a picture of a cow? Or maybe a pig? That beautiful picture in the center is only CHF 750! While this is tempting, we decide it would be difficult to transport back to San Diego, and we forego the pleasure. Another time, perhaps.
But, it’s getting late in the day, and it’s time to begin the festivities!
Eccentric Fashion Weekend
The advent of the Eccentric Fashion Weekend is shrouded in secrecy. Many of the participant have been attending from its inception and the hotel that host the events has limited rooms available. Thus they have little need to attract new faces. We discovered the event peripherally when reading about the Belle Époque event at the Hotel Victoria and managed to secure tickets.
The Hotel Victoria takes the Eccentric Fashion Weekend seriously. They prepare and serve scrumptious meals for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and late-night snacks.
No, food does not photograph well. But you can see that, despite being nestled deep in the Swiss Alps, we are not wanting for variety.
Even the soup is fancy.
Frequently, we are treated to no-cash bars where we can sip wine and other fancy liquors.
The hotel itself is designed to provide family-and-friends style comfort, with plush furniture and soft lighting.
For this event, the Hotel Victoria decorates their walls with sketches from the Marquis calendar, including Miss Bangcock and Miss Valerie Corral.
This model sports an alienesque headpiece.
Okay, on to the festivities!
Uh, oh. No photographs? Well, it seems, in the past, someone was a bit indiscreet in where they displayed their images, so the event has a no-faces policy.
But that doesn’t mean we can’t photograph folks in face-covering eccentric fashion. And, certainly, we can show lots of photographs of us!
These beautiful ladies enjoy overcast days, balloon rides, and toxic atmospheres. 🙂
Sometimes a guy just needs to relax on a bench under a tree in his orange latex suit.
The folks at the EFW are genuinely friendly and welcoming. Everyone is multilingual and we fit in from the very start. It is unfortunate we cannot show all the wonderful eccentric fashion found at this event, but we can show you what we are wearing.
One of the first events of the weekend is a fashion show, and naturally, we want to be in it. We just happen to have costuming that would fit in the Belle Époque and decide that is a perfect grand entrance to make at this event.
The photographs are taken by the event’s official photographer, who graciously provides them.
I think we are the only models NOT in latex, vinyl, leather, or plastic.
For a casual get-together, booty-shorts and attached leggings are the perfect fashion.
We bought a cake protector to put the bowler in so we could pack it in our luggage.
Dressed for the evening in semi-formal fashion.
This fashionable dress gives the allusion of flirting without actually flirting. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
We have a friend in the adult film industry who clued us in to packing costumes. We bought a clear plastic packing container, then cut it to fit in our luggage. The headdresses fit in the container without being crushed, and TSA could examine them without opening the container. And that’s how you get nice things to Switzerland!
Bootie-shorts with tails. A classic fashion in any era. 😎
We have a two-bedroom suite, with a living area. You can see why.
This is the second bedroom. It’s good there are only two of us. 😛
Sadly, there is nothing else to show regarding the fabulous festivities of the Eccentric Fashion Weekend. You will have to infer the eccentricity from the few photographs we are able to show you. We encourage anyone interested in a wonderful weekend in the Swiss Alps to do as we do, and indulge.
Lest you think the Eccentric Fashion Weekend is a bit too eccentric for your tastes, it was not the strangest part of our adventure.
To get here, we drove from Lake Como, Italy with only a map (no fancy navigator for us!). We noted peripherally the straight roads and assumed that the Swiss had built modern, efficient highways though the mountains. However, we never found those sections of the highway.
Eventually, we ran out of road miles from Kandersteg; there was no more pavement, despite the map indicating otherwise.
We turned around, and saw that all other cars were following a small road into a train station. We joined the queue, paid a small fee, and drove on to a flat car of a train. We set the parking break, and we were soon on our way to Kandersteg, Swiss-style!
We had no idea that “this” is what the straight highway on the map was indicating. Dumb Americans, right?
We have a short video of the ride showing the forest and then the tunnel. Not for the claustrophobic, I think….
And that, my friends, is our Eccentric Fashion Weekend adventure!