"Take a chance" ...
… is the motto of Alexandra Fux. Because sometimes it's better not to know what the future holds.
Alexandra, 45, was born in Valais. She works as a psychologist, careers adviser and adult educator. At the age of 20, finding pure academic study too abstract, she completed her studies at the farmers' domestic college. In 1997, Alexandra spent the summer working a mountain pasture in St. Galler Oberland, where she met her future husband Cyril. In 2008, the couple moved for work reasons to the canton of Uri, an area they had previously only ever driven through.
The Bergheimatschule (farmers' domestic college)
At the foot of the Geissberg stands a roadside inn that, more than 400 years ago, served as a stopover for the Gotthard traders. Surrounded by an unspoilt natural landscape of meadows and dry-stone walls, this idyllic spot in the village of Gurtnellen today offers family accommodation and a range of courses and classes. On arrival, visitors are greeted by the college's resident flock of ducks, who help keep the snail population down.
Alexandra and the Bergheimatschule
In 2015, Alexandra and her husband Cyrill were about to return to Valais. They had handed in their notice to their employers in Uri and were planning to spend an Alpine summer together. Then came the offer to take over the running of the Bergheimatschule. Alexandra's gut feeling was to accept.
Over a period of three months, the house was renovated, teachers recruited and a timetable put together. Since 2016, the couple have managed the school from January to June and even teach some of the classes themselves. They also look after guests, care for the animals (hens, Japanese quails, ducks and four mountain goats), tend to the garden and do all the administration. Alexandra's hands are full, but as she says herself: "I hate having nothing to do."
From July to December, Alexandra and Cyrill run the Bergheimatschule as a hostel for groups and a learning centre.
Looking to the future
Alexandra's greatest challenge at the moment is to secure the centre's future. The farmers' college has met with a positive reception, but bookings for the second half of the year need to increase. A decision on the centre's future will be taken with the canton in 2020.