Playing Heidi in the Entlebucher Voralpen

The juicy rolling hills and jagged little summits of the Entlebucher Voralpen in Central Switzerland are part of a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve where natural beauty abounds. Like studs across the landscape, cosy farmhouses dwell - some of them available to rent as holiday accommodation. 

I immediately think of Heidi: the 18th-century chalet we have booked sits in a steep meadow on Glaubenberg, where it is flanked by bright wildflowers and woodland. Facing it, the jagged teeth of the Entlebucher Voralpen rise and fall like dragons teeth. Our drive here brought us through juicily bulging green hillocks studded with shingled farmhouses. Dramatic weather, with storms sweeping up the valley, painted the sky inky blue then steel grey, and gilded the landscape with ghostly golden sunbursts. 

Known as the "wild west" of the Canton of Lucerne, the area is a UNESCO Biosphere. and in the bucolic scenery of hills, summits and moorland, colonies of animals and plants dwell. Our chalet is close to Entlebuch, a pretty town scattered with butchers and dairies that sits between the Kleine Emme and Grosse Entlen rivers. 

Our first day dawns wet, but a walk along the Eremitenweg between Gfellen and Alp Brüderer enchants with sights including a parade of cows on their climb to the Alpine pastures; the dusty Älleggbach waterfall; and the canton's oldest chapel dating from 1725. We're in the shadow of the gnarly Schimbrig and Schwändlifluh peaks and sheltered by wildly tangled woodland. In the afternoon, there's a break in the weather, and we promenade along the leafy riverbanks in Entlebuch. The chalet is a cosy spot to return to as rain once again sweeps in, and a panoramic one when a sunny evening allows us to dine outside. At night, all is still, and we fall asleep as perfect darkness descends. 

I start the following day with an invigorating round of sun salutations on the terrace, drinking in the clear air. Then a stroll along the 'Energieweg' in nearby Finsterwald, which winds through panoramic woodland and across broad meadows, and takes in wind turbines and the site of gas drilling in the 1980s and 90s, gives us a nice leg stretch before our journey home. Always in view, colourful meadows where dandelions frolic around tumbledown farmhouses, and powerful little mountains basking in sunlight.

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