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Rachel Frey

Rachel Frey

THE ST. MORITZER
“Let’s go see Rachel!” When you hear that, you know the next stop is La Gondla. Rachel Frey runs this funky bar in the heart of St. Moritz, and it would not be the same without her sass and wittyness.
St. Moritz: Rachel, you grew up in Rickenbach (Kanton Thurgau). What brought you up here to St. Moritz?
Rachel: Around 2004 a friend from Zurich called me and asked me if I could help out at an air show in Samedan. I said sure, why not? It was pretty crazy, we flew in on a private jet, were given a very luxurious apartment and driven around in a limousine. The full package, I loved it. On the way home we got to fly with this military pilot who flew very close to the mountains. I still clearly remember the feeling of almost being able to touch them.
St. Moritz: Wow, so you decided to come right back and live the high life?
Rachel: No, that wasn't the reason. (laughs) I had a job in St. Gallen at that time, but a year later they cut a bunch of positions, including mine. So I called that friend again and told him that I was looking for a new job. He introduced me to Christian Meili in St. Moritz, who ran the Sternenbar Marguns and others. I started working there in the winter of '05/'06.
St. Moritz: And in the summer?
Rachel: I started working in Ticino during the summers, bartending and at a SUP-rental place [Stand Up Paddle board]. That was great, as I was finally able to learn Italian. In the winters I came back to St. Moritz. What a great mix!
St. Moritz: These days most people know you from La Gondla, the bar wouldn't be the same without you. How did that happen?
Rachel: There's really not much to tell. After working at the Sternenbar for a few seasons I switched to La Gondla and have been running it since. The owners asked me, and I said yes. I've never looked back.
St. Moritz: What’s so special about La Gondla?
Rachel: For me it's she's like a second home. A place for authentic and eclectic people. I have guests from the Badrutt's Palace who come and rave about the homey atmosphere of La Gondla. They love to meet the locals and seasonal workers who come here to hang out. We have quiet nights, but sometimes raging parties with Djs that shake the whole place!
St. Moritz: You’re not twenty anymore, don't you ever get tired of the nightlife scene?
Rachel: Well, it really is a world of it's own that you have to learn to navigate. I go to work in afternoon and usually come home early in the morning. Funny that you ask – I'm not tired of the weird rhythm yet, but I've been getting asked that question more and more lately. Last year I started going back to school for Kinesiology – but I don't think I can imagine a life totally without La Gondla! Maybe I'll calm down at some point and work as therapist part time. That would be a nice balance for the next decade.
St. Moritz: Does that mean we won't have to miss you in the summers anymore?
Rachel: Rachel: I've already spent the last two summers here. The Gondla is now open in the summer as well, down by the lake. That's been great. We'll see if we keep doing that, but I would like to continue to spend the summers here. I have to admit that I do also toy with the idea of going somewhere totally different, far away.. but I also feel like putting down roots more and more. Who would have thought! I guess I really am not 20 anymore.
St. Moritz: What do you envision for the future of St. Moritz?
Rachel: Rachel: I already feel like St. Moritz is waking up from her beauty sleep, there is so much happening among the people I know. People are active, full of ideas, making plans. My wish for the future of St. Moritz is that we all can work together for the town and the valley. That we will support each other in order to be able to create great things for ourselves and our visitors.
Date
2021
Text
Engadin St. Moritz Tourismus AG
Fotos
Rolf Sachs