Mrs Redboots wrote:
(And then there are those (like me) who don't think that's the actual site of the building anyway...
Where do you reckon it is, KB? I think there is a great case to be made for - eek, I totally can't remember what it's called but it's a hotel/apartmenthaus on the lake and I stayed there in 2011 with a few other CBB people. It certainly fits the location as described in SCHOOL AT.
After a lot of reading and contemplation and checking distances around the lake, I incline to the opinion of these ladies
. I think the location of the school was meant to be the old farmhouse on the (almost) most western point of the Pertisau lakeside road. I also tend to think, as they did, that the Alpenhof was actually the model for Der Edel Ritter, the temporary school in Exile
So, my reasons for thinking so, quite apart from the above article, come from various quotes from different books. Here are a few of my justifications for considering the farmhouse as the original site and plan of the school: There’s a landing-stage just opposite, and the water’s quite shallow. (School at)
As can be seen in one of the photos on the above website, the farmhouse stands exactly opposite a landing-stage. The Alpenhof is a much greater distance from the water. The Chalet's nearness to the lake is constantly referred to. See below. From the landing-stage to the Châlet was a good ten minutes’ walk (School at p52)
This one is very telling. The Alpenhof is, at most, two minutes' walk away for a healthy party of schoolgirls. The farmhouse is quite a distance away from it, almost the proscribed time, in fact. ‘They were standing on the lake-path, by the bushes, and staring at the Châlet like – like anything.’ (Jo of p38)
Standing on the lake-path as it was then (which I believe is the footpath today) you wouldn't see the Alpenhof, not just because of the distance but because, at the time, it was surrounded by its own park with very large trees. The farmhouse, on the other hand, is completely exposed. We are very near the shore here, and the water is never more than a few inches below the path. (Jo of p70)
As per the above, if the school were on the site of the Alpenhof, this would simply not matter, but it would to a building as close to the lake as the farmhouse stands. Keep in mind that this reference is not to the flood but to the wild storm that tosses the water around and makes the walk so interesting when the girls think about discussing the Chaletian. She also pointed out that the Kronprinz Karl lay much nearer the stream, and also that it lay at a lower level than the Châlet…(Jo of p286)
A major point, this one. While the Fuerstenhaus does lie nearer the stream, the Alpenhof is actually on about the same level from a height perspective. If, however, the level refers to the location on the buildings in relation to the river, the Fuerstenhaus and the Alpenhof are much closer to the river and stand at much greater risk than the farmhouse. See below for the flood details. Miss Bettany no longer doubted that the torrent would flood—it most certainly would. But she hoped that the fact of the Chalet being rased above the rest of that part of the valley would tell in its favour and save them. There was quite a deep dip between them and the river, and this would help to carry off some of the waters. (Jo of p291-292)
While the farmhouse does indeed stand apart from the rest of Pertisau, the Alpenhof is in the dead centre of the triangular spit of land and would be unlikely to be any safer than anywhere else.
A key point for me does not have a quote specifically referring to it, but can be gathered from various details about the flood. This is what we are told:
Her eyes were turned toward the valley where, coming with a swift, relentless sweep, a wall of water, fully six feet high, raced across the pasturage to the lake.
In a flash she realised what had happened. The torrent had been choked somewhere up in the mountains. This accounted for the river’s falling. Then the barrier, whatever it was, had given way, and the great mass of the water had been literally hurled down to the valley below.
Even as the thought passed through her mind the wall broke around the Kronprinz Karl, which for a few moments was smothered in the foam. Then it raced, lower, but still horrible to watch, right across the valley to the Chalet.
Examining the Pertisau using Google Maps, it is possible to see that the location from which the water would break into the area has it travelling in a line that suggests it would hit both the Alpenhof and the Fuerstenhaus at almost the same time. The farmhouse, being further away to the south, would give it the few more seconds EBD describes above.
Now admittedly there are also arguments for the Alpenhof being a more likely situation. For instance: There was a big Châlet there which would be topping. It was not too far from the lake; fairly near the steamer, and yet it was away from the paths. (School at)
While the Alpenhof is quite a distance from the paths, the farmhouse is on the current road and not far from the lakepath. However quite a lot of later references (see above) talk about how the school is right on the lake, or very close to it, so EBD may have forgotten this. The Chalet was a very large wooden building which had been designed for a hotel.
The Alpenhof is obviously a hotel, while the farmhouse, equally obviously, is not. However the wooden structure of the farmhouse is more obvious than that of the Alpenhof, which has been more thoroughly rendered. Luckily, they did not do that, though in the general hurly-burly they went right past the Chalet and came up to the Stephanie, one of the hotels open for the winter, where the lights, gleaming through the snow from the windows, warned them that they had gone astray. (Rivals p86)
This is a slightly questionable 'proof' but it seems unlikely that the girls would walk for possibly up to half-an-hour before realising they had gone too far and turning back. The Stephanie, however, was located immediately next door to the Post and thus would have been seen much sooner were the school located at the Alpenhof. (The question of why there were no lights visible from the Post is an interesting one.)
So that's my argument. Probably other people have different ideas as well, but it's fun to guess!