What do ...
… the inhabitants of Isola get up to in winter?
The name gives it away really: Isola lies secluded on the shores of Lake Sils. In the summer, there is a forest track that leads to the small village in Upper Engadin. The only way to reach it in the winter is on foot or using cross-country skis. That doesn’t bother the only four permanent inhabitants of Isola. "Isola is the most beautiful place in the world," says Bettina Pedroni-Cadurisch with a loud laugh.
The 25-year-old has spent virtually all her life in Isola. Her father Fluri came to the village in 1990 to repair a goat breeder’s shed. "And then my parents stayed and took over the operation," explains Bettina Pedroni- Cadurisch. The man from Graubünden and his wife Vreni quickly adapted to life away from lots of busy roads: they had a motorised sledge for emergencies and if they needed to do a big shopping. As enthusiastic cross-country skiers and snow sport instructors they preferred moving themselves and hardly ever used the sledge. What’s more, they didn’t always have a sledge in the yard. And that’s what Bettina Pedroni-Cadurisch does today, too. With her husband Diego, she now breeds goats and produces cheese; her sons Davide and Dario are growing up in the middle of nature. And where does the family go shopping? That’s only a problem in the spring when the roads still have to dry and the lake is no longer covered with ice. Then you have to be organised and sometimes have food in the house that will last six weeks. "Otherwise we can be in Sils in just 15 minutes by bike and in 20 in Maloja." In winter the routes are shorter: in just 15 minutes you can walk over Lake Sils when it is frozen to Plaun da Lej’; that is where the family car is, and there’s also a bus. And then of course there are always the cross-country skis. "My younger sister and I used to go to nursery on skis," says Bettina Pedroni-Cadurisch, and then adds with a smile: "But we did have two dogs and they sometimes pulled us." Her own children will go to nursery and school in Maloja – and get there by bike, on foot or on skis.
Waiting for the kids
Hardly any tourists come to Isola in winter – which makes it all the more important that Bettina Pedroni-Cadurisch markets her cheese products well. When she has enough time, she works as a cross-country ski instructor. And of course there are the animals to feed and look after: the family feeds the goats hay; the two donkeys and two horses, who also live on the farm, have the same diet. And the young boys wait for the kids who are born between January and April.
But do the children not miss building a snowman with their friends and running over the meadows in the summer? Bettina Pedroni-Cadurisch thinks back to her own childhood: "In the summer there were other farmers and children who lived in the village. My sister Irene and I never found it boring." She pauses for a moment and adds: "It was wonderful to grow up here. A dream."