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  • Writer's pictureDeborah Kade

Brienz, Switzerland

Spent all morning doing the write up for Unspunnen Day 9.

Early afternoon I decided to get out and go to Brienz which is a very short distance from Interlaken. Of course, I missed the train by a couple minutes. Have to get myself on a routine of knowing the departure times from the Interlaken West train station.

At the train stations, you can pick up a copy of the 20 Minuten. It is a free newspaper which you can read in 20 minutes. Depending on where you are in the country, the paper could be written in German, French or Italian- three of the four official languages of Switzerland. I mainly look at the pictures. I know some words so I sometimes figure out the story line. One of the stories had a picture of the cows running wild at the Unspunnen's closing ceremony. Had taken a similar picture. It took a very long time to settle the cows down before the herders could get them out of the stadium. I think the cows were tired of marching in the parade while wearing floral headpieces and carrying very heavy bells around their necks. Quite amusing but embarrassing for those trying to round up the cows.

Brienz, a lakeside village on Lake Brienz, is steeped in its wood carving tradition. Before tourism provided an additional source of income to the farming community, inhabitants were poor and working conditions far from pretty. As it so happens quite often, famine fires up the imagination. In the case of Brienz, it was Christian Fletscher, a self-taught wood carver who began selling his goods produced during long winter months to tourists almost two centuries ago. He laid the foundation to what became Switzerland's premier wood carving area.

Walked along the flat lakefront promenade and up to the church perched high on a hill.

A very good friend asked if I would light a candle for someone whom had recently died. Also lit a candle for all of you reading the nightly blog. Prayed for your health and happiness!!

The church is simple inside but adorned with wood carvings. I would have taken a picture of the altar but someone was silently practicing a speech or so I assume.

So much to see and do along the promenade. You may take out a beach chair and sit, relax and enjoy the view of the water. Swans and ducks casually swim by.

Wooden sculptures are interspersed along the way.

Game stations and exercise stations are placed here and there. Watched two woman try and figure out how to play one of the games.

I would call this an exercise machine. You step on the foot pads. The faster you rock from side to side the quicker the water flows out and turns the different water features.

Probably the most romantic part of Brienz is the Brunngasse which, having once been awarded the title "most beautiful street in Europe" is well-known abroad, or so they say at the tourist office. This was the first occasion I walked the street. Most of the houses on the street date from the 18th century and are decorated with wood carvings. Beautiful flowers adorn the front of the houses. Michael and I have passed this street many times but I never knew it had this reputation. It really is a beautiful street. Only wished it were a sunny day.

On the way back to the train station, I decided to take the main road which passes the street to the Lindenhof Restaurant and Hotel. Michael and I have eaten at the restaurant before but it has been quite a few years since we were up there. Think I will put it on the list of places to go when Michael joins me. I know they are closed Mondays. The chef uses fresh produce and herbs from their garden. In the past, I have enjoyed their herb soup and meringues with ice cream, fruit and lots of whipped cream. My cousin Ann still remarks about their coffee. They whip the cream and place a mound of it on a small plate for the coffee. No milk here.

Brienz, which is well-known as the "village of carving" has a long tradition in wood processing and to this day has a school for carving and violin-making.

This past weekend the village hosted a lumberjack competition.

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