club vagabond

dedicated to all of those who have passed through Leysin and the Vag before growing up ...

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

opportunity knocks

Is it really beyond the resources of all the thousands of people that knew the Vag to raise this small sum to buy it and reopen it in all its glory?

Surely the odds are that at least a few ex-Vagabonders have been successful enough to buy the place outright? I know at least two people who would happily manage the place on their behalf! 

So let's get the Vag spirit going and work out a way to make this happen. I reckon that if everyone who knew the Vag put in $250 we'd raise the money in a couple of months!

Let's do this!

Cette propriété est située 1263 mètres d’altitude sur la commune de Leysin et jouit d’une situation privilégiée, avec un ensoleillement maximum, tranquille et proche de toutes commodités. La maison est jusqu’à aujourd’hui exploitée comme hôtel connu sous le nom de « Le club Vagabond ».
La station de Leysin est ouverte toute l’année à de nombreuses activités, et les pistes de ski sont remarquables avec ses possibilités de ski jusqu’à villars. Les écoles primaires et secondaires, le centre du village sont à 3 minutes à pied., les transports publics sont à 500 mètres.
De plus, Leysin est mondialement connue pour ses écoles internationales.

La maison a une surface habitable de 760 m2 sur 4 niveaux.

Hall de réception, 6 chambres avec salle de bains toilettes, 1 toilette.
7 Chambres à coucher, 2 salles de douches, dont 3 pour femmes et 3 pour hommes.
1 appartement rénové de 150m2 de 3.5 pièces au dernier étage comprenant une salle à manger avec balcon/ terrasse plein sud, poutre apparente, 2 chambres à coucher, hall d’entrée, cuisine ouverte
Galetas avec accès trappe.
Le sous-sol est réparti en 2 sous-sol distinct distribué comme suit :
Sous-sol 1 : cuisine habitables, salle à manger traversante, salon ouvert, séjour avec cheminée, bar avec entrée indépendante, 3 toilettes avec lavabos et local technique(Chauffage)
Sous-sol 2 : Réfectoire avec accès extérieur, cuisine professionnelle équipée, bar avec chambre froide, discothèque équipée, 2 atelier dont avec accès au jardin, local de rangement.

Elle est chauffée au gaz, par des radiateurs installés en 1998 et dispose de cheminées. Possibilité de mettre des panneaux solaires.
Elle dispose de 4 places de parc extérieures. Un magnifique jardin arborisé entoure la maison.

Type de bien : Immeuble
Surface (m2) : 949 m2
Pièces : 6 et +
Prix (CHF) : 1,250,000.- CHF
Type de bien : Immeuble
Surface (m2) : 949 m2
Pièces : 6 et +
Prix (CHF) : 1,250,000.- CHF
Type de bien : Immeuble
Surface (m2) : 949 m2
Pièces : 6 et +
Prix (CHF) : 1,250,000.- CHF

Thursday, February 17, 2011



Sept 8—13th, leaving 14th, 2011 in Leysin, Switzerland

All Vagabonders from 1961 to 1994 are invited to join us in Leysin for this reunion to help create some more memories of the village and the place that changed so many lives and brought us so many lasting friendships.

Carol Rankin and Dave and Johanne Smith will be here to greet you. The first night, Sept 8th we plan to have a welcoming dinner and drinks atLa Fromagerie in the lower village at 7 p.m. Information as to accommodation possibilities are as follows: Search for to see hotels and B&Bs listed for Leysin. Please also check out 2 B&Bs in particular: and - the most reasonable at CHf 50.- per person, per night very Vag like, but meant for groups so all beds are singles beds (no bunks) with 1,2,3,4,5, in a room and toilets and showers on three floors.

Rooms can be rented as doubles but no double beds.Au Bel Air hotel is totally adequate near the telecabines with doubles or group rooms and the larger hotels in town are definitely more expensive.

Once you know your plans THEN please contact Johanne Smith to confirm that you are able to join us. A planned programme will follow in late spring.

It is so important that you all pass the word on to all those for whom we do not have any direct contact. We are looking forward to seeing our old friends as well as making many new ones.

This is a huge undertaking but do know that you are all part of what is now known as "The Legend of Club Vagabond".
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Saturday, February 14, 2009

nuit des fees 2009


Nuits des Fees is on this year - there's a facebook group here.
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Saturday, May 31, 2008

totally irrelevant picture

I've been signing up friends via Facebook and discovered this brilliant Leysin group - I hate the Leysin Stairs of Death. Anyone who knows Leysin knows these bloody things, that link the Village to Feydey. I must have been up and down them a thousand times, a hundred of them with a damaged ligament in my foot (thanks to a fall on the Vag stairs!)

Incredibly I don't seem to have a photo of them - so you're stuck with this one of me in 1988 in typical pose, champagne in one hand and a knife in the other, on the Chalet Elisabeth balcony.
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appeal ...

Via the Facebook site -

My production company is making a film about the scene in Leysin/Vagabond Club between 66 and 77. Anyone out there got some good Dougal Haston bar stories they want to tell us? That's the kind of thing we're after. Thanks... reach me at or via this site. Allen Hill Frame Pictures LLC
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bag race 1988

I've just uploaded these great photos from the Vag Bag Race, 6 February 1988. We'd had a pretty snow-free winter up till the day before, then the weather really kicked in and we had deep snow for the big event.

These pictures are tinged with sadness, because with the Vag gone this sort of international fun has gone from Leysin, and it's a much poorer place for it.

The sooner we get the Vag back the better!

I'm now scanning all my Leysin pics from 87/88, which will go on both this site and the Facebook group. If you're in the pics, or know someone who is, tag them on Facebook for me.
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Sunday, October 21, 2007

the vag, tuesday 16/10/07

We were in Leysin this week and took a trip up to the Vag. As you can see the name is still there on the front, and down the side the door is still labelled 'bar'. If only!

Leysin still has an air of despondency about it, though nothing too desperate. Being October probably made it worse. We were the only guests in the Centrale Residence, La Lorraine was closed as were some of the other bars and shops. We did discover La Fromagerie which had a nice range of vegetarian food and a great atmosphere. The ice rink was the same as always - empty and great fun. The cog was closed all week for engineering work. And there was nowhere to go in the evening and meet real travellers.

Leysin badly needs the Vag back. I'm seriously considering setting up a charity to buy it and preserve it - any views on this?
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Sunday, September 16, 2007


I hate nostalgia. It's a shame that at the moment we still have to talk about the Vag in the past tense.

The above piccie catches some of the random atmosphere that makes Leysin so important. The Cog at Feyday in a light fall of snow at night. I rarely bothered with a car in Leysin as public transport was so brilliant. The Cog was always great fun, and I always seemed to bump into someone I knew whenever I rode on it. We're off to Leysin in just over four weeks time, staying at the Centrale Residence. I can't wait ...
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Wednesday, June 27, 2007

facebook vag

(View from Roc de Veyges, 1983)

I've just launched a Vag facebook. This should be a good way for all ex-Leysiners, Vag Hags, Hosta crew etc to keep in touch! If you haven't tried this networking site yet take a look - it blows the socks off Myspace and Bebo! And if you've already signed up you don't need me to tell you how good it is!
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Thursday, June 21, 2007

last look

This is Wulfric outside the Vag in 2004. At the time there were rumours that it was going to be reopened by a Swissie. Any news?
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Tuesday, April 24, 2007


On our second big trip round Europe we were staying at the Semiramis down in the village. Some real characters stayed at the campsite and there are no doubt many tales that will come back to me over time!

One day a small camper van arrived with Irish plates and out poured a climbing mum and SEVEN kids! They were great fun and very, very sharp! This is brother Jeff and Fiachra (the second oldest) standing in the back of our old Austin Morris van on a particularly foggy and cold summer day.
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Tuesday, March 27, 2007

cowbells and steep descents

A picture postcard view of Leysin with cows in the foreground and the icerink a thousand feet below. A few minutes later we rolled one of these cows all the way down to Aigle, where they'd never seen one before!
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ice rink, therefore I am ...

1982, behind the ice rink, high summer.

This is Jeff Sainsbury looking up towards the rink on a foggy evening. We loved this place - free, empty and great fun, even when I split my head open trying to go backwards. Of course once I discovered skiing six years later ice skating was dropped like a stone.

The first year we visited Leysin we stayed at the Semiramis, so this was right on our doorstep. We discovered the Vag soon afterwards, but the climb up the steps always killed us! That didn't stop us of course ...
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kiwi day 1988

Back in 1988 we'd had a warm snow-free winter right up till February. Then just as we were getting used to the sunburn and short sleeves we had a huge dump, just in time for Kiwi Day.

This was the scene in the afternoon as Paul Quinn was apprehended by a British copper for setting fire to two Swissies outside the Hotel Central residence. Oh how we laughed ...
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Wednesday, March 21, 2007

plus ca change ... leysin SANS music

Definitely my last post today and I don't have a clue what's going on here, so it's absolutely perfect for this blog, 'cos who does ever have a clue what they're doing in Leysin?


non-dadaist vision of leysin with FOUL music

So, turn the sound right down 'cos this'll hurt otherwise - but for all you squares out there you might like this 'un 'cos it's not even mildly experimental ...

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leysin 2007

A vid done this year by some French kiddies. Has a scary music backing track as well as people speaking French!


leysin 2005

A nice vid of skiing, snowboarding etc in Leysin in 2005. Make sure you turn the sound right down as the awful fogey US soft rock will probably make you projectile vomit all over your keyboard. Better to put CSS on i-tunes whilst watching!

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nescafe snowboarding 2006

A short video of these snowboarding championships. To activate press the arrow!

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long time away ...

Yeah, I know, I've been very remiss with this site not posting since October! And not because I've spent the winter skiing - far from it!
I've been in the process of moving from the place above into my new place in Bristol. Consequently I've been working from two places, and everything I've needed - pictures, computer etc - has been in the cottage whilst I've spent nearly all my time up here.
My computer's now moved, pics will come up Friday and I'll be going full pelt with this site as even in its shabby and sparse form up till now it's had a good number of visitors. So bear with me!

Thursday, October 05, 2006

kuklos 2004

This is Wulfric posing in front of the Kuklos restaurant in February 2004.

We'd driven down in an ancient Ford Escort convertible, which ran out of oil and water on the way. Later that summer we took the car all the way to southern Hungary!

This was Wulf's second visit to Leysin, the first in winter. He tried skiing, was brilliant, then said 'done that, let's do something else'. He also liked ice skating. We don't consider his visual impairment when deciding what to do!

It was funny going back in such different circumstances. A few hundred metres from where this photo was taken we'd had barbecues in the snow back in 1988. I'm sure the photos will appear on this blog eventually! Posted by Picasa

Sunday, October 01, 2006

2 x Nuits des Fees

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My first experience of the Nuit des Fees was in 1987 and it was great to see the Swissies let their hair down for a change! I don't remember a lot of it of course, though it was always fun walking the streets of Leysin in the middle of the night.

Just by chance when I visited in 2003 it happened to be the weekend of the Nuit des Fees again! This time I was with Wulfric, who was ten at the time. We seemed to be the only foreigners there and we had a great time mixing with the locals, listening to the music and sampling the beer. I love the way the villagers turn their garages etc into bars and the like - something we'd never be allowed to do in Health and Safety concious Nanny State Britain.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

the ice rink

We discovered the ice rink long before we discovered skiing. The best thing was that it was always empty and was a great place to learn. And the views! Had some great times there, especially when the ice hockey team were playing and the smell of mulled wine drifted throughout the building. Posted by Picasa

evening walk to the roc de veyges

This is Mad Mike and Jeff Sainsbury posing in a most odd manner as they take a breather on an evening walk from Leysin to the Roc de Veyges, some time in the early 80s. Notice the hands on hips and very short shorts. Had they known that 25 years later this picture would be flashed around the world surely they'd have posed and dressed differently? Posted by Picasa

Sunday, September 24, 2006

the kuklos

The Kuklos is probably not known to most of you. It's the (fairly) new revolving restaurant near to the Berneuse telecabine station. It's one of only three in the Alps.

Not far from here we used to hold the barbies with the Vag crowd.

This place is not as bad as you'd think, with friendly service and good prices. We were horrified when we saw a woman eating fried fish with spaghetti, but then that's what makes the world go round - variety!

And of course the views are excellent.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

it had to happen ...

Vag 31/03/88

It had to happen. The iconic and essential Club Vagabond finally has its own blogsite! Contributors are welcome to help fill the site - contact me at Posted by Picasa