Cervo, Beyond Culture

The Cabin Essence - Artists in Residence - report by Veronika Bendik


The enticing scent of pine needles and bonfire in combination with earthy, calm tones, here and there spiced up with some exotic, decorative and both functional, elements which provide limitless comfort; this is how I can best describe the CERVO Mountain Resort, a place that has so positively impacted my entire creative work.

First things first: Alex, whose mission was to drive me to the residence, greeted me warmly at the Zermatt railway station upon my arrival. What a great beginning to my stay at the CERVO Mountain Resort, which was meant to last for entire 21 days. I made myself comfortable in the back of his electric car, observing the authentic Alpine houses around me as we slowly made our way through Zermatt toward the hotel …


My Alpinist L room was spacious, with a large balcony overlooking the imposing and gorgeous Matterhorn and nearby mountains. The room itself was an already quite a sight, which was comfortable and obviously furnished with great attention to detail. The unique mountain viewpoint was following me when I was lying in bed, working at the desk or taking a shower — this detail was just brilliantly thoughtout.


Each morning, the mysteriously illuminated breakfast room greeted me with a large and tasty selection of local products. I would suggest making two to three rounds around the breakfast tables so that you can enjoy how everything is presented … My favorite, a “green egg”, was what I normally ordered additionally.


The vast area of the CERVO Mountain Resort’s Holistic Spa was my biggest source of inspiration. I vividly remember the relaxation that I got from breathing in essential oils, and the muffled light that allowed me to focus onto my thoughts …

It is evident that, once again, the hotel’s team built the Holistic Spa with lots of attention to detail. Moreover, I enjoyed that it was located on different levels of the Mountain Ashram, as I could comfortably move around and easily find a quiet corner.


The ritual room was yet another time served for relaxation – this time, however, by practicing different types of yoga together with the experienced and passionate instructors there. I actually (re)discovered my passion for yoga here and got “stuck with it” ever since. The power of yoga when it comes to creative work is that practicing it helps clear the mind, leaving room for new thoughts – and, in my case, texts.


It took me whopping 11 days until I closer inspected the natural pond. This unique place played a key role in helping me with writing about the “Frog hotel”, one of the emotionally challenging chapters of my book. The pond itself appeared as if it had been formed by nature: the cloudy-green color of its water, the “pondish” smell it exuded, and even the surrounding flora — all gave the perfect impression of not being in the mountains, but somewhere far out in the woodlands.


Oh so cosy yurts are yet another remarkable point of the CERVO Mountain Resort. The bright colors inside the one of the two yurts motivated me to write about the colourful preparations for Christmas and New Year which took place in the beginning of the 60th. I have finished another chapter named “Snowmaiden” here. This one is about a cheerful, long-suffering woman, who had a bright personality, and the beautiful and colorful Christmas and New Year that she was creating for others…

On the 21st day, on my way back to the Zermatt railway station, comfortably sitting in the back of CERVO electric car driven by friendly Alex, I asked myself: How was my 21 day stay at CERVO Mountain Resort? I will forever associate this place with caring, creative, and talented humans among a backdrop of tremendous comfort and ubiquitous relaxation. This space was precisely created for providing the comfort and relaxation that we, people, are so often craving for when trapped in our daily routine. It was created for leaving all chaotic and unpleasant thoughts behind, and enables artists – I am speaking out of my own experience – to concentrate on their creativity, and to find inner peace.


Initially, my application to the CERVO Cabin Essence program was mainly about my photography work. I was describing the joy I get when capturing emotions of couples in love at a beautiful location like Zermatt.

Then, suddenly, everything changed. Seeing the images from the country I grew up in, made light turn into dark, anxiousness replace joy, and nihilism metastasize into every aspect of my life. After a while I realized that, now more than ever, it was time to focus on the things that are important in life, the essential.

The places of my childhood and youth started to haunt me whenever I switched on the TV: a sun- drenched little town near the delta of the quietly flowing Dnipro river was under the attack. Everything must now be barely recognizable, a voice keeps saying in my head. Much like Kyiw, the city where I know almost every corner which was more resembling a ghost town with only sandbags populating the streets. The call for continuing a book which contains stories associated with these places was strong.

Applying to the Cabin Essence, I had a beginning of the book, notes with stories and some audio recordings, that I wanted to put together.

My project is a book that tells the life stories of mainly three women. It starts with me describing a hard life of people in a seemingly utopian settlement located in the Far North. The village did not exist for a long time and desappeared from the world map -– it was only to be seen again in the memories of its inhabitants. Each chapter of the book is a new story which is presented to readers with a hint for drawing their own conclusions.

After my productive and remarkable 21 days at the CERVO residence came to its end, I was continuously working on new chapters of the book, always on the lookout for inspiration in different parts of Switzerland. With a lot of dedication and discipline involved in the writing process, I am planning to make the book available to public by the end of 2023.