Camping Wydeli ***

3671 Brenzikofen - Switzerland


The history of the Wydeli camp-site was written in 1958 by Christian Eicher (1910 – 2001) in German. The text was translated into English for this website.

It is said the water of the Rothachen (brook) has long been very healthy. For this reason, progressive and farsighted men, such as Dr. Paul Schuepbach, Oberdiessbach, Mr. Fritz Dummermuth, Brenzikofen, my father Christian Eicher and others, toyed with the idea of building a public swimming pool on its idyllic banks already thirty years ago. The crisis years at that time, the political tensions before the 2nd World War and perhaps also the advanceing age of the men involved kept them away from their plans. On 24 July 1939 my father passed away and soon thereafter the war broke out and the remaining men were suddenly busy with more urgent tasks.

However, the thought of these men gave me no peace. In my vacation period during active service and also later on warm Sundays, I always went to Brenzikofen to bathe in the Rothachen.

On June 1st, 1950 I leased the Wydeli, a romantic wilderness, consisting of all kinds of bushes and trees, the right bank of the Rothachen, which had belonged to the municipality of Brenzikofen for 50 years. For the 16 ares* I paid a single rent of Fr. 1000. - - in cash. A prickly (Berberitzen!), laborious, but interesting leisure time began.

Since the transfer of that lease, no Saturday afternoon passed on which I could not be seen in the Wydeli at work. I began to clear the area. Constantly, I burned the bushes and brambles. The good wood I had to place at the disposal of the municipality of Brenzikofen so that they could built the national holiday bonfire in 1951. From time to time I received kind assistance, for which I offered every time a hearty snack in the form of wine, bread and cheese, and made them happy with a further acknowledgment.

Once the site was occupied, plans matured for the organization of the swimming-pool. I began to dig, but to save my strength I hired an excavator, which excavated the remaining earth in 1 1/2 days. Only with greatest effort could the inflow pipe and the drain be created, since it meant breaking through a tangle of roots, and because of “unstable soil”, the tubes for taking water could be laid only meter by meter. Concreting the pool, which was done by master Hans Huber, Brenzikofen, cost me the considerable sum of Fr. 14'000.--.

The system developed in such a pleasing manner that I felt the need of a safe place from where I could supervise the whole area. So, a one-storied Chalet with 3 small rooms, 1 kitchen and a wine cellar was built. On the front it carries the year number 1950, the date when the building of the bath and its surrounding began.

In 1952 the pool was made available to the public. The changing room was made of jute cloths, fixed to a trunk. Three wooden racks, originally made to dry hay, acted as coat hooks. A tiny latrine house served as a toilet. In 1953 I built a large changing room subdivided for men and women. In the same year I was able to extend the area by 10 ares. New clearing and levelling began.

On several occasions floods of the Rothachen endangered my newly developing pool. At such times, I had to resist the water day and night and sometimes I even had to call the fire-brigade Brenzikofen. After fending of danger, I served sausage, bread and wine and paid them for their work. I bought old railway rails and oil drums, which served as very good and appropriate foundation for the cement bases, which were set at 20 degrees below freezing. Huge stones from Kandergrund, Noflen, Mühledorf, Simmental, Thali by Schlosswil and even from the pavement renewal in Oberdiessbach in 1957 and the reconstruction of the cheese factory in Herbligen, strengthen the new protection walls.

For the cleaning of the system I created a wire netting fence. In order to cater for of the consistently increasing numbers of visitors, a bicycle and car park was built.

In spring 1952, our former head physician, Dr. Paul Schüpbach, visited my pool by invitation. It was for me an unforgettable experience to accompany the venerable 80 year old physician through the system I had created. He summarized his great astonishment at the leisure work of an individual citizen in the simple words "Congratulations" and "my old wishes finally became reality".

Modernization steadily goes on. Shower and fountain are the next sizeable installations in the future. Furthermore, I extended the pool-area a third time by purchase of terrain, so that the whole area covers now 33 ares. With the last purchase it turned out that almost half of "my" land belongs to the state and not the commune. For the unsaleable state area I now pay a rent of Fr. 100.-- per year. The number of visitors at my pool increases from year to year.

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