Magical Lake Thun

In the Milan train station, while waiting for a horrifically delayed train, I met a charming old British man named Phillip who had just come from Switzerland. Where, I asked him. Where should I do in Switzerland? (By this point, I had absolutely no game plan about where I wanted to go in Switzerland, I was desperate for suggestions).

Thun, he said. Go to Thun.

It sounded like something out of Lord of the Rings, but I he said it’s a charming village on a lake. Well that sounds perfect. So I wrote it down and thought no more about it.

Then in Lugano I met a tall, dark, handsome stranger who treated me to lunch. I was shameless about picking his brain as well, and what did he say? Thun! Go to Thun! And while you’re at it, take the boat ride down the lake from Thun to Interlaken, it’s gorgeous.

So it looked like all roads were leading to Thun – who was I to resist. So I booked a hotel that night in Thun and navigated the six different trains it took to get there (a landslide in the Lucerne district was making train travel complicated). And they were absolutely right! Thun was a quaint but bustling town (hardly a village, sorry Phillip) on the western end of Lake Thun (or as they call lakes, Thunersee).

A map of the Lake Thun region. On it, you can see many of the places I visited: Thun to the west; on the north side of the lake, Beatenberg (the city under the Niederhorn); Interlaken at the East end; and just south of it, Grindelwald; And it’s too small to be on this map, but just southwest of Grindelwald is Gimmelwald. Do I regret spending almost all my Switzer-time within this same 50km area? Not a bit, because it’s collectively the most beautiful place I’ve ever been.

I got there just in time to see this rainbow:

And just in time to catch the sunset view of the lake. Though the good thing is that actually, the sun was setting behind me, but the light on the mountains and the water was spectacular. Here follows an orgy of pretty pictures to click through (and click to enlarge!):

The next day, after my sojourn to Steffisburg, I returned to Thun and took tall-dark-and-handsome’s advice and got on the boat traveling down the lake to Interlaken. It was an absolutely glorious day. Standing in the sun could be too hot, but on the water with the wind blowing everything felt perfect. And looked perfect. Get ready, cuz here comes a second orgy of pretty pictures!

Our noble steed – the Beatus! (“blessed” – I like it!)

A castle, just chillin by the lake. It’s casual.

When the outside got a little too windy for my hair, I enjoyed a glass of wine and a spectacular view from the on-board restaurant. In Switzerland, wine is cheaper than coffee, so we crossed the lake a little more buzzed than caffeinated.

I always think videos are better than photos for conveying the scale of the space. Be sure to note the perfectly turquoise water and how it sparkles in the sun!

As I was enjoying the breeze on the deck, I leafed through some pamphlets of things to do in the area (all in German, but I looked at the pictures). One advertised some summit called the “Niederhorn”, and the picture had an ibex (the mountain sheep with the big curved horns) standing in front of a spectacular view. I looked at my phone, I had a couple hours to kill. Maybe I’ll take the funicular to the top, I thought. The pamphlet said “Beatenburg.” I looked at the boat’s destination label. “Naeste Halt: Beatenberg.” It was fate, I decided, so I grabbed my backpack, slapped down 4 euro on the table for the wine, and hopped off the boat!

To be continued…!

 

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