While it seems like a cliche to say that Switzerland is a country full of fairy tale landscapes, Heidiland is literally a paradise on earth. An ode to Heidi, Switzerland’s most famous fairy tale character created by Swiss author Johanna Spyri, this one is located in the wine village of Maienfeld. A place that takes you back to the 1880s, the Heidi trail forms for an engaging day trip from Zurich.
Easily accessible by train and road, the actual Heidi village is a short walk from Hotel Restaurant Heidihof. Tickets to the trail are available at the gift shop which is a haven for all Heidi and Johanna Spyri fans. The shop is filled with several souvenirs of Heidi including original merchandise, artefacts and magnets. The shop is also houses the Johanna Spyri Museum which displays the entire collection of Heidi’s books which were translated into a whopping 55 languages. It also has the details of all the movies that were made from the book and a section also displays original props and costumes from the movie.
The trail starts with Heidi’s winter house followed by her Alps cottage which was where she lived with her grandfather in summer, the town hall and her school. Each one of these is impeccably recreated giving visitors a perfect taste of her beautiful life in the countryside. Heidi’s house is replete with spinning wheels, rustic kitchen equipment and antique wooden furniture gives one an insight into the times and life of the past.
The Alps cottage again gives visitors a peek into the life during summers with scenes of cheese making, the food laden pantry, cow milking and her grandfather cutting wood recreated.
The Town Hall stable depicts horses, carriages and mountain goats all of which were intrinsic to Swiss rural life.
The village school which Heidi and Peter attended too is recreated with little anecdotes related to school life during those times.
Apart from being utterly picturesque and hauntingly beautiful, the Heidi trail is just not about the story of arguably Switzerland’s most famous fairy tale. The trail also gives visitors valuable insights on the country’s rural life, traditional rituals and practices that were prevalent in the 19th century.
A detailed version of this article was published in ZeeZest.