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  • Writer's pictureDeborah Kade

Everybody's gone surfing... the "Thun Way!"

Well, everybody's gone surfing the "Thun Way". When you think about Switzerland surfing is probably one of the last things that comes to mind. Believe it or not, surfing in Switzerland is a thing and the city of Thun is a great spot for it.

"With its historic buildings, towering raised promenades steeped in history, the white castle on the Schlossberg and the fantastic views over the lake set against the backdrop of the imposing Bernese Alps – Thun’s charm enchants locals and tourists alike."

Thun lies at the north-western end of Lake Thun and is the gateway to the Bernese Oberland. The River Aare, which flows from Lake Thun to Bern, shapes the cityscape of the eleventh-largest city in Switzerland with some 44,000 inhabitants.

The city’s most famous landmark is the mighty Thun Castle, with its tower that was built between 1180 and 1190, which towers majestically over the Old Town. A historical museum is housed in the tower rooms, showcasing finds from the past 800 years relating to the region and its history, as well as a special exhibition which changes each year. Pride of place goes to the restored 12th-century knights’ hall, however. The view from the castle tower of the mountains and the lake is also unparalleled.

The historical raised promenades in Thun's old town are yet another highlight. But, they are not the only reason to enjoy a stroll through the cobblestone streets. As well as traditional rows of houses, Thun is home to various small shops on different levels that invite visitors to browse and explore."

"Thun is the gateway to the Bernese Oberland and is the starting point for excursions to the mountains around Lake Thun. It takes about 1.5 hours from Thun to reach the summit of the Stockhorn, Niesen or Niederhorn (each are around 2,000 meters)."

Of course, that is Swiss walking time and not Mike and Debbie walking time.

"Thun has amazing mountain scenery and the city affords majestic views of the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau as well as of the Blüemlisalp massif. The intense color contrast between the turquoise blue lake, the lush green meadows and the white four-thousanders adds to the appeal of the unique Lake Thun region. The three mountains around Lake Thun, the Stockhorn, Niesen and Niederhorn, form a popular hiking, leisure, and recreation area. All mountains have mountain railways access."

Embedded within an imposing backdrop of mountains, the deeply-blue Lake Thun lies on the northern periphery of the Alps, between the Bernese Oberland towns of Thun and Interlaken. Lake Thun is especially popular amongst sailors and windsurfers who appreciate the prevailing light breeze. Numerous swimming and shore areas invite visitors to cool off.

A cruise on Lake Thun is an experience that also relaxes: whilst enjoying a fine meal, a glass of wine or simply the glorious sunshine on deck, your gaze will travel pass along the attractive shore with its romantic villages, majestic historic castles… right up to the peaks of the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau. Comfortable saloon motor vessels and, as the crowning glory, the magnificently restored “Blümlisalp” paddle wheel steamship ferry passengers from Thun to Interlaken the whole year round. In addition to mouth-watering onboard menus and various special gourmet cruises, the larger vessels also offer attractions for children, be it a play cabin or a games corner with toys and crayons."

The best way to get an impression of Thun’s old town in a fun way is to take the trampelwurm which we did not see around the city. The “Trampelwurm” (clumpy worm) is a willful, cheerful and playful team bicycle that is one of a kind in Europe. This ecological 10- meter long vehicle is powered through the muscular strength of its (maximum) 10 drivers, which all sit in their own roofed carriage." There are times I think Thun is in competition with Luzern and Zermatt for displaying the most beautiful flowers around the city or town.

When you promenade along the river you can even learn about herbs.

Name that water fowl.

The fish were larger than the birds.

Yes, that is right! One doesn't have to go in search for an ocean or a beach to surf, you could surf right in the middle of Thun.

Flusswell The translation of the German word 'flusswelle' is river wave. The rapid force of water gushing down from Lake Thun through the bridge, creates swirls on the river Aare. Due to this friction, the waves are created which are perfect for surfing.

To find this surf point, you only have to visit Obere Schleuse in Thun. It's a covered wooden bridge on the river Aare, with flowers hanging on both the sides. Built in the 18th century, this bridge connects the town to an island and is close to the Thun train station. Today, they were not surfing here. I hope they were doing it at the other location.

The second location is called the Wave Mill Lock.

"In general, surfing at the Mühleschleuse is done without a rope! A rope is occasionally used for the rear shaft. If you want to use a rope, you need to attach it to the hooks provided and make sure that the rope does not float in the current. River surfers who surf without a rope could easily injure themselves. It doesn't have to be because a mill surfing session without a rope is dangerous enough."

Thun, the city whose name literally translates to ‘Tuna’ is a town just 20 minutes outside of Interlaken located on Switzerland’s biggest river the Aare. The river that runs straight to the city is a pleasure and entertainment provider in summer when people jump in the water and let the strong current float them through the center of town. Last week with the high temperatures, this must have been a wonderful activity.

To manage the waterflow there are a few historical weirs right in the center. Their wooden construction is absolutely stunning and you can walk over them to enjoy a view of the city from the water of the river Aare. More eye-catching however are the impressive waves, caused by the waterflow adjustment of those weirs, and the surfers that enjoy them.

"The wave is affectionately and respectfully called “Monster” by the local surfers and on the 9th of September the area around this magical place will be transformed into a surf arena.

The winner of the Rapid Surfing Discipline will be crowded at this event." Unfortunately, we will miss the event. These men must be practicing. I picked out my two favorites.

"The monster - that's the name its discoverers gave it! Not only because of its impressive power, but also because of its habit of causing injuries, cutting boards in half and 'snapping' fins. This spot should therefore only be surfed by experienced river surfers."

"Injuries are the order of the day and moderate to severe injuries cannot be ruled out. Surfing at the Mühleschleuse is like reef surfing at a shallow spot. You surf just a little above the river bottom and to the left and right of the wave rocks that protrude just below the water surface."

There was a large group of surfers today. These men could get up quickly!

"In general, it is recommended not to risk nosedives, to surf unleashed (rocks, bridge pillars) and to wear booties if at all possible (rocks, shards in the water)."

"Apart from the dangers mentioned, the spot is beautifully located between the old town and Bälliz and is surrounded by bars and restaurants that invite you to linger and watch."

I know this is a bike lane but I don't know what the other symbol is.

For something different, we decided to take the bus from Thun to Interlaken. We sat in the front seat. It's like an amusement park ride when you go around the corners.

Fun watching the hummingbird moth. Wish I had taken the picture with my camera instead of my phone. It was moving so quickly I'm surprised I could photograph it at all.

I am sitting outside while I start today's writings. With this view, it is easy to be distracted, though. Another day comes to a close. It's wonderful to see the Mönch and Jungfrau blanketed with more snow.

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