14th – 21st August
This post is going to be a bit different as it was a very specific event in a very specific place! Balmeggberg is a permaculture centre in Trub, Switzerland and is basically in the middle of nowhere on a Swiss mountain.
The week was a Poi and Yoga retreat. The Poi teaching was lead by the wonderful Nick Woolsey and there was also some teaching from the fantastic Jon “Alien Jon” Everett. They are both such lovely guys, with very different teaching styles and I learnt such a lot from both of them. Jon was also selling his amazing FiberFlies Pixel Whips, which are these really cool, colourful, fibre optic, whippy things that you can play with – endless fun! The yoga was run by a softly spoken guy called Adrian, who not only taught us how to do yoga, but explained the spiritual aspects of it.
Balmeggberg is such an amazing place. Everything is done in the least environmentally impactful way possible. They eat the food they grow and everything is grown there apart from the butter and cheese which they get from the neighbouring dairy farm. There are compost toilets, which smell a little rough, but are very good for the environment. There is a drinking water fountain fed by a spring up in the mountains.
There are a few families who live on Balmeggberg, they live in the large farmhouse, which has been extended to include a large studio space for holding courses in. We did some of our poi in that room. There are also many yurts on the site. There is a massive yurt which we used for our yoga sessions (and some poi sessions – including our Poicademy, where we learnt some poi theory!). There are several sleeping yurts – I was in one for six people, there were also two four person yurts. The final yurt is my favourite – the sauna yurt! This is a tiny yurt with a stove in the centre of it, which heats the yurt to a high temperature. We used it on the evening when there was a storm -it such an amazing place to sit in, the the rain pounding down outside, before running out to the outdoor baths which look out over the valley to have a cold plunge!
They keep sheep on Balmeggberg, who control the amount of grass and will eventually be used for meat. There are ducks to eat pests such as slugs and snails as well as chickens and a few cats. The cows on the neighbouring land are hard to miss – their cowbells can be heard all through the day, gently clanging as they walk along.
The food at Balmeggberg was mostly vegetarian or vegan and was incredibly tasty! Edible flowers were used to decorate it. I ate way too much on Balmeggberg – especially on the day they fired up their wood burning pizza oven!
In nearby Trubschachen, we visited the Kambly factory, which makes hundreds of different kinds of cookies. Even better, the shop has free samples of pretty much every kind of cookie they make – so you can try them all without even buying any! On the same day we visited the factory, we also attempted to swim in the river in Trubschachen which was freezing cold! We warmed back up afterwards with a poi lesson in the sunny field by the station.
I had a wonderful time on Balmeggberg and met some lovely people. It was great getting to know everyone, learning some more poi and some yoga and just spending time in such a lovely environment. One of my highlights was the fire performance evening where a few of the girls had their first ever fire spin – it’s so amazing to watch people spin fire for the first time! It was also pretty amazing watching Jon and Nick perform! Hopefully I’ll return another year to enjoy the heavenly place that is Balmeggberg again.
Thanks to Harold, Abby, Chantal, Till, Valerie, Fede, Samuel, Florian, Adrian, Alex, Sunshine, Lea, Anna, Artur, Kristina, Q, Nick, Jon, Adrian and the whole Balmeggberg squad for a lovely week! And special thanks to Harold for allowing me to use his incredible photos on my blog and for taking them in the first place!