Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Thun

Our transport arrangements were very slick on this trip. The flat Bill selected magically included a pass for buses and trams around the city. Surprisingly, our tickets weren't once checked; we just got on and off where ever we wished.

Parts of Switzerland are flat.


Not that I would try it without a ticket. I don't think the authorities would be very lenient, after all, you can afford international travel but not a tram ticket? I don't think so.




Jane and Chris travel long and often, so when they make suggestions I bow to their experience and trust their (mostly) tightwad principles. One of their suggestions was that we buy a train ticket for three days, so see other places in Switzerland besides Basel.




The ticket for consecutive days was cheaper, but Chris suggested splashing out for selected dates to be determined, as we might struggle with three continuous days of extended walking. This was a decision that had to be made prior to arrival in the country.



Chateau (hotel?) in the background; postman on yellow tricycle with trailer!



I went along with buying the slightly more expensive ticket but still dreaded those days out, thinking of my poor aching feet and legs. Chris and Jane can walk all day and all night, I think. I sometimes wonder if they imagine me still the marathon runner of my distant past. Bill is secretary of a long-distance walking organisation for heaven's sake. Fortunately for me (selfish to say it), Bill has a knee injury and needed to take it easy so I was able to walk at a comfortable pace! We were all tired when we returned to the flat, but I was able to really enjoy the travel days, not dread them.






We trained, trammed, ferried and even bus-ed, just to cover all the transport options, as much as we walked. I love public transport and wouldn't ever wish to do without it again.  




On our first day of train travel we got the train to Thun (pronounced Toon). We were surprised that so much of Switzerland was flat, but then the mountains are generally somewhere in the distance. 




We came upon the busy market square. I spotted some walnuts and grabbed a few handfuls. 



Not to eat the nuts - though I expect we will - rather because the shells make a great natural dye for fabric that I've seen makes a lovely shade of taupe, one of my favourite colours. I probably don't have enough, but it's as much as I was prepared to carry around all day.





In addition to food stalls there was a band playing. Bill was struck by the fact there was no hat in which to put coins. I wonder who paid them?




We went through some narrow spaces and up a million stairs to what looked like a chateau-turned-hotel. 

I guessed this was a vicarage of sorts.


Beyond that was the church with probably the best view of the city. 




We sat and ate our packed lunches overlooking the city roofs, the river and the mountains. We took some group photos for other tourists and then they took ours. 



Perhaps my outfit could have used a bit of colour...

I see from my research that one can sometimes go inside.

I tried translating the Greek etched over the window, but Google Translate proved unrealiable. Amusing, but I'm none the wiser.





I never tried, but Chris has a major passion for cathedrals and so I'm fairly certain he at least tried the doors and found them locked.





Strangely, I thought, on one wall of the church was a sun dial which not only told the time, but supposedly indicated the month of the year using the usual zodiac signs. 




I was surprised to discover that I've forgotten the symbols I knew so well as a teenager. I've never really believed in astrology, but it was a teen thing back then. 

Bill was taken with some one's veggie garden. 




Not by what was planted or the use of plastic bottles as cloches, but by the astroturf strips between the planted areas. Brilliant!

Turns out I'm not immune to snow covered mountains after all.





I think covered bridges are probably quite useful in the Swiss climate - everything is built for heavy snow. This bridge had a number of lines with handles - for the purpose of surfing on the river!









On the way back to the train station, we happened to notice a couple of guys with wet suits and surf boards.



We watched as one caught one of the lines ('Lines' on the river seem to be a theme as well, as you'll see another day). He got on his board and the current took him to the middle of the river. I thought he was just going to ski, holding onto the rope.



Instead, he dropped the rope and began to surf the rough water that emerged from under the bridge. He fell down shortly, but the second guy seemed to surf for ages without effort.



We all thought it was a pretty ingenious idea. There are any number of videos on the internet if you wish to see it in motion.

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