Thun, Interlaken

For this Friday post we’re looking back at our trip two weeks ago today. Enjoy the photos that tell the tale of this amazing adventure, which brought our wonderful vacation, sadly, to a close …

Don’t tell anyone, it is a secret, but we found our next house.

To be honest, we weren’t on the market, not really, but they say when you know, you know. You know? So come get to know Schadau Castle. It sits on the south side of the Aare, a tributary of the High Rhine, and just off Lake Thun. It is on the Swiss Inventory of Cultural Property of National and Regional Significance as it was built between 1846 and 1854 according to the plans of Pierre-Charles Dusillon in the Gothic Revival style, for the banker Abraham Denis Alfred de Rougemont.

Inside there’s a restaurant and the Swiss Gastronomy Museum, but those might be moved under the new ownership. And sure, this might seem a little rash to you, but we saw this sign, and we were inspired by Mach.

We’ve completely glossed over the word “was.”

Anyway, outside the Schadau Castle the views are terrific. This is Lake Thun.

And, in the background, you can see Stockhorn, which is in the Bernese Alps. From The Stockhorn’s summit at 7,190 feet you can dine, hike, and see many of the surrounding Alps and the valley of the Aare River and, of course, this lake.

This one is either Niesen or Morgenberghorn. (You’ll have to forgive me I’m doing this from maps and as a lifelong resident of foothills, coastal plains and … it is apparently called lowland hills where we live now … I am not an expert at mountain ID or distance estimation of Very Large Things.)

Let’s assume it is Morgenberghorn for a moment. The Swiss tourism site tells us the summit is at 4,068 feet, it’s a 6.2 mile route “for ambitious hikers.” And it’ll take you about six hours to get to the top, but you get great views when you’re there. I found an accomplished adventure hiker’s review of Morgenberghorn. He said “This route is a little tricky and there are a number of parts where you need to use your hands to climb. Chains are installed in most sections of the trail where you need to use your hands. I never felt unsafe or exposed … I’d only go for this hike if you are up for a bit of a challenge. In addition to the chains and rocky path, it is also 1300m of incline over 7km so you are doing some considerable incline to reach the summit … Solid day on the legs.” I think that’s probably Morgenberghorn.

But let’s assume, just for a moment, that the above is Niesen, because I just learned about something amazing there. Niesen tops out at 7,749 feet. This mountain boasts the longest stairway in the world, with 11,674 steps. It is only open to the public one day a year, for a stair run event. We missed this by a week!

The age group podium for the women was a 43-year-old who won in 1:15:20. Her chief rival, a 50-year-old was just 34 seconds back. We are presently enthralled by Doris Oester, the third place woman in the older age division (they seem to draw the line around the 42-year-old range). That more mature age group beat all of the younger women, so the third place woman third of all the women. And her time puts her at 30th in the overall.

Also, Doris Oester is 70 years-old.

She won this race in 2011. In 2016 she finished second. (She was two-and-a-half minutes faster this year than in 2016.) We are big Doris Oester fans.

For the men’s age group, a 42-year-old got up all 11,674 steps in 1:06:24. A 43-year-old was 1:33 back from the winner. And a 49-year-old man took third place with a time of 1:08:39.

But I digress.

Look who’s considering dipping her toes in Lake Thun.

… Still thinking about it …

… Considering running up all those stairs next year …

One foot in. She says it is cold. I’d be stunned if it wasn’t.

And wading out to her hemline.

Excellent use of the selfie stick there, as I stayed on the shore, warm and dry, to take these photos.

We discovered the surfers at Flusswelle Thun. There were six surfers out there on this Friday. When it was your turn you grabbed that ski rope and worked your way over to the spot where you see the guy surfing here. If you made it into that pocket it seemed that you could stay until you got bored, or made a silly mistake. This guy was actually standing on his board, gesturing and talking with people passing by on the bridge.

In the late afternoon we caught another train to visit Interlaken one more time. There were a few chocolate stores to visit. Here are a few of the sites from Interlaken, and the train ride back to Zurich.

This train ride took us back to Zurich. You probably don’t think of a train ride as an activity — I wouldn’t, ordinarily — but these views.

I came all the way to Switzerland for this photograph, I just didn’t know it until it flashed by.

Yes, that will be in the rotating banners on the top of the site soon.

Lake Brienz seems like a great place to go sailing, or to take a walk.

Mountains coming right down to a body of water will never not be impressive.

One more image for those sailors-at-heart.

And for those preferring a more pastoral foreground, with twin mountains in the background, here you go.

Switzerland is a beautiful place. I’m so glad we had the opportunity to visit. And I thank you for your indulgence in letting me stretch out vacation photos for two weeks here. Next week, we’ll start getting back into the normal routine on the site, much of it consisting of trying to answer the question “Where are we going next? And when should I start packing?”

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