Today Luke and I were checking out of Balmer’s and Interlaken to move to Lauterbrunnen. We both agreed that three days wasn’t enough for Interlaken and wished we’d had at least another day or two. It’s a pretty city and a terrific base for exploring the two lakes and all the various mountains and cable cars. If I’d come here to hike, a full week would barely suffice.
We left our bags at Balmer’s for the day and caught a train to the town of Thun. Our aim was to visit the castle but first, while walking through town, we managed to see someone surfing!
There was a lot of water coming through the weir and guys would jump in with their boards, grab the handle on the rope until they were comfortable then let go and surf for as long as they could.
It was quite impressive, even more so because we knew the water was chilly glacier-melt.
We then wandered towards the castle towers which were visible over the old town. The route up was about 200 steps so at the top we filled my water bottle from one of the ubiquitous fountains. One of the many things we’re going to miss when we leave here.
The castle, while impressive, didn’t seem to have much to offer inside, so we took a few photos of the towers and then had a little wander around the old town.
The old town was small but interesting. In one part the street was on two levels – a deeper road between two higher footpaths.
As in Interlaken (and probably everywhere else in Switzerland) there were gorgeous flowers everywhere. Last year my garden was inspired by my trip to Canada, this year it’ll be Switzerland.
We walked along the river a bit and found the public swimming area – a section of river where people jumped in from a bridge then drifted along to another bridge where they climbed out. Most of the participants were elderly and looked to be having an excellent time.
Next was a bus to Oberhofen, where Luke had promised me a castle with gardens.
What a castle! What gardens! It was terrific.
First we walked through the gardens (priorities) and admired their dahlia beds and large variety of trees.
Then we went into the castle (10CHF or 8 with the Bernese Oberland travel pass) and had a look around. It was very well set up for school groups and had a lot of interactive stuff about servants’ lives and whatnot.
Unfortunately it was all in Swiss German but I could appreciate the effort.
One room I don’t think you’d take kids was the very top tower, which was an ‘oriental smoking room’ (opium den) that the family installed when smoking opium was fashionable. Although I bet the women of the family didn’t get a look-in.
It was pretty amazing though.
The colours and patterns were gorgeous.
The castle also contained some excellent woodwork and the usual slew of po-faced oil paintings.
Next was a lunch of rather Australian-style pies (although at the rather unAustralian 10 bucks each) and then a ferry back to Interlaken.
If you catch a Swiss ferry you’d better be prepared to exercise your arms because everyone you go past, whether on a board, a boat, or a bike, wants to give you a wave. To me the waves meant ‘Oh hello! I see you’re in Switzerland! Give us a wave if you’re thrilled to be here because we bloody well are!’
How could we not wave? We were as enchanted as everyone else.
While I was standing on the deck thinking smug thoughts an American lady next to us told her sons to ‘stop horsing around’, a familiar phrase that reminded me of a sign I’d taken a few days earlier. Do horses really behave that badly? In Switzerland they need a reminder not to enter underground walkways on their own.
We headed back to the hostel to pick up bags then to the train station and up to Lauterbrunnen, which is higher up the mountains and a gateway to the cloudy peaks we’ll no doubt regret paying through the nose for in the next few days. Of course today was a pure blue sky and would’ve been perfect but… we’ll see!
Right now we’re sitting on the balcony at our hostel and enjoying the sight of lights coming on across the valley and the sound of the waterfalls.
One more view of lovely Lake Thun before I go.