Camping Lazy Rancho 6.04, Unterseen - Interlaken, Switzerland

The fact that the campsite, which Robert Rieder opened in 1962 on the agricultural family property »im Grüt«, was given the melodious name "Lazy Alice" was only just about to be averted by the involuntary name patron - his wife - in the course of a serious marital quarrel. Robert associated the - admittedly somewhat misleading - term »lazy« with the sight of deeply relaxed guests, and after he had wished for a ranch all his life, it became »Lazy Rancho«. In his opinion, there were already too many campsites named after mountain ranges in the Bernese Oberland at that time.

With the construction of a simple sanitary facility, at that time still with a cold water shower, a little comfort moved to the green meadow, which already in Grandmother Rieder's times was gladly used by passing campers to spend the night. She - quite businesswoman - not seldom renounced the payment, but instead sold her agricultural products to the guests. Those days, the »broad masses« - mainly families with children - usually arrived with tents in variable sizes. Only few could afford the luxury of a caravan.

Little by little Robert introduced a residential part (even today some tenants are still among the first guests!) and rented a former chicken house to visitors without their own tent or caravan. Many a newly married couple can tell stories about their honeymoon in this chicken house. Today it stands on a farm.

Today, the third generation, daughter Aline, pays attention to a well-mannered coexistence of camping enthusiasts from all over the world.  She took over the helm with her husband Stephan in 1986, after several long trips and language stays abroad. Stephan grew up only a stone's throw further south on a campsite (Camping Hobby 3). With a broad grin, the trained forest warden thinks back to the beginnings in the 60s, when he sat on the mower to shape the lawns or collected the rubbish from the metal buckets next to the tents. Back then, he says, people just came by without making a reservation. And an overnight stay cost only 5 francs. Per family!

Since the beginnings in the early 60s, a lot has changed, not least the demands of the guests. With a great deal of personal commitment and a high financial outlay, the once simple meadow has been transformed into a cultivated 4-star campsite with all the amenities. Today visitors from all over the world enjoy the cultivated comfort of modern sanitary facilities, kitchen and recreation areas - and last but not least the unique view of the triumvirate of Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau.

Newlyweds now make themselves comfortable in a »Love Igloo« lovingly decorated by Aline. So even after more than 50 years, you can still enjoy stylish honeymooning on the campsite. But now with Prosecco and capsule coffee - and warm showers.

And since there are still guests who don't have their own tent, motorhome or caravan and disused chicken houses are also hard to come by, modern rental properties in the form of rustic wooden igloos and spacious bungalows have been added in recent years. These offers are also gladly booked by guests from far-away countries - »Camping light« for beginners, so to speak. Aline tells of an Indian family who, on a - according to Swiss understanding - dirty weather day in May, marvelled at the freshly fallen snow and of their great joy at being able to experience this for once. The weather is also a matter of opinion.

Looking back, one of the less pleasant memories for them is the hailstorm of the century on 19 July 2007: Within just 20 minutes, a storm front turnded the campsite into a battlefield. No tent remained intact, all the skylights of the caravans and mobile homes were destroyed, the trees were literally shredded. Stephan and his employees removed over a ton of green waste from the site. Not a pretty sight.

But there are also the little stories of couples who met and fell in love as teenagers at Lazy Rancho and now - married - come to the camping with their own three children. Or of invitations to weddings of guests to Spain.

It is these moments that are worth getting up for. For seven long months. Every morning.

(Text German version: Bettina Fuchs, photographs: Camping Lazy Rancho)

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