Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Castles, Old Town Charm, Lakes, and Another Cruise...Thun

As we all know, Switzerland is one of my favorite countries.  That's why I spend as much time as possible there.  It occurred to me that I never really mentioned Thun (pronounced Toon).  I can't believe that I've never written about it.  I love it there.  When in Switzerland, you'll notice in most places that things are pretty laid back.  They are the epitome of old world charm.  No matter where you go, you will find new things, because the whole country is on the cutting edge of technology.  Everywhere you go, you will find ancient things, because they keep history alive.  That's the beauty of Switzerland, and that is alive and well in Thun.

The contrasts in Thun are amazing.  Beautiful old bridges with gorgeous flowers on your way from a modern parking garage that is fully automated with no attendants whatsoever to a modern shopping area where you can get your giant designer coffee or buy a cell phone.  It's just one of the things that make up the perfect combo of old and new in many cities throughout Switzerland.

Then there's the ultimate contrast.  The amazing city below, stretching out to the tallest of the Alps in the distance.

Thun Castle sits atop the city like the Gods are looking down on us.  It's a medieval castle that has been in the hands of many monarchs over the centuries and is now the most recognizable landmark in the city.

 The castle has been turned into a museum, and a very interesting one, I must say.  You get to see the whole castle from top to bottom, and you get to see some of the things from the past, like armor.  In most museums, the exhibits aren't as accessible as here.  It was great.

 Up you went into the turrets to see what the guards saw and get that great view of the city.

Then down you went through the several floors of the castle where you got to see the thrones, old family paintings and photos, and even the kitchen where their meals were cooked.  It was a great tour, and one of the best castle tours I've taken.

There's even a cannon in the courtyard.  Gotta love that.

 But the castle isn't the only thing in Thun.  The old town is amazing and the water is also amazing.  Flood control and hydroelectric generation are important in the Bernese Oberland.  They use that water that runs down the Alps.  It's a great way to make some power and in Switzerland's midsection, they do it beautifully.  They make beautiful bridges across the rivers and canals that are multi purpose.  So, right in the middle of old town you can find modern flood control and it fits right in.  It's just like in the summer when they have the month long music festival, they have carnival rides all over town.  You will be walking along the river and there's a ferris wheel.  You'll be walking along a side street and there's another ride.  It's unique, and you won't experience it anywhere else.

The actual old town in mostly pedestrian, because of it's age.  The streets are cobblestones, and narrow.  It's a great place for photos.  I can't lie.  You could take pictures all day in this section of town.  It's amazing and so quintessentially Swiss, with the terraces that you can eat on at the restaurants, the tiny shops that sell all kinds of things, and the flowers everywhere.  They love flowers in the summer in the Bernese Oberland.

You can do and see many things in Thun from the castle to taking a tram up a mountain just to view the city, but don't forget the lake.  Here's a real adventure for anyone.  Lake Thun is the biggest lake in the Bernese Oberland and it runs all the way up to Interlaken.  So, here's a cruise for you.  The Blumlisalp is a sidewinder paddlewheeler that runs from Interlaken to Thun.  It takes about two hours each way and has some of the most amazing scenery you'll ever see along the way.  Lake Thun is right in the middle of the Alps, and I can't tell you how beautiful that is.  Don't miss it.

So, old world, new world.  Welcome to Switzerland and welcome to Thun and the Thunersee.  It's all a great way to get to know Switzerland a little.  I mean, this is a country that was several city states that melded together into one pot.  They've each kept a distinctive personality about them, but they've also steamrolled into the modern day.  There are so many amazing things in Switzerland that it would take all day to talk about it and more.  So, check out Thun.  You will find a lot of amazing things that are purely Swiss in that city, and you'll have a great time.
Enjoy! l|pcrid|4555561741|pkw|switzerland%20train%20prices|pmt|bb|

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