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Stories from Gletsch

Living, living and working in
and around Gletsch

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- Story 10

The laundry

As in every hotel, the Grandhotel Glacier du Rhône also had staff working in the background. One example is the laundry staff. A lot of manual labor was required to prepare, wash, starch and iron the spotless white blankets, aprons, hoods and napkins. Before the invention of the washing machine, laundry employees spent the whole day boiling and bleaching textiles in large vats and heating the irons with hot coals.

The kitchen


The kitchen is often something like the heart of a hotel, as the quality of the food and the way it is presented is central to the judgment of the guests. At 1759 meters above sea level, far away from the food suppliers, large pantries were needed. Chickens, pigs and cows were kept close to the hotel and in the short summer, they even used a vegetable garden. The head chef worked in the kitchen like a chef d'orchestre, preparing the culinary symphonies with his “musicians”.

Speaking of music: of course there was also a small orchestra that played every season, sometimes discreetly in the background but also “lively” for dancing. Live!

Road works

Not only in the Grandhotel du Glacier du Rhône, but also outside, there were people who did some of the hardest work to make life in Gletsch possible. Just building and maintaining the roads and railroad lines was a major challenge. The roads suffer from temperatures that constantly fluctuate above and below freezing, which means that the water freezes in every little crevice and thus widens them.

Last but not least, all the snow, some of which falls at this altitude even in summer, has to be cleared so that Gletsch can be reached at all.

Winter servants

Of all the tasks in Gletsch, there is one that probably few people are aware of: During the more than 200 days of winter closure, the entire buildings and the valuable inventory could not simply be left to their own devices. Despite the danger of avalanches, sometimes two or, depending on the tasks to be carried out, up to a dozen so-called winter servants stayed in Gletsch to see that everything was in order: In addition to guarding the hotel, they had to clear several meters of snow from the roofs or carry out carpentry work, for example. Checks were also made from Gletsch to the Hotel Belvedere. In good weather, it was also possible to go to church in the valley on Sundays. The long nights were spent playing cards or listening to the radio.

Die Küche
Die Wäscherei
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