Gimmelwald is a community in the rough. When I arrive, I take a quick “welcome back” walk—a tour of the whole town takes about 15 minutes. Its two streets, a 700-year-old zig and zag, are decorated by drying laundry, hand-me-down tricycles, and hollowed stumps bursting proudly with geraniums. Grandpas, like white-bearded elves, set aside hand-carved pipes to chop firewood. Children play “barn” instead of “house.” And a little boy parks his toy car next to his dad’s tank-tread mini tractor—necessary for taming this alpine environment. Stones sit like heavy checkers on old rooftops, awaiting nature’s next move. While these stones protect the slate from the violent winter winds, in summer it’s often so quiet that you can hear the cows ripping tufts of grass.