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  • Writer's pictureDeborah Kade

Is that rain I hear plink plink on the skylight?

Woke up to the rapid plink, plink, plink of rain on the skylight. After three weeks of an occasional sprinkle or 5 minute shower, our weather luck has finally run out. It will be raining throughout Switzerland today. Today is also the first day for me to wear a long sleeve shirt and long pants. The temperature will reach 54 degrees. Is Fall on its way? Tips of trees are starting to turn yellow or brown.

Swirls of smoke are coming from some chimneys. The silent construction cranes have their red detection lights still on. I can hardly make out the shapes of the close mountains at the beginning of the Lauterbrunnen Valley. You would never know Männlichen and the Jungfrau were hidden behind. The sound of rain hitting different objects is unique. Rain hitting metal is so different from rain hitting tree leaves or our umbrellas.The koi are the only ones whom seem active. They keep near the surface hoping the drops of rain hitting the water are food.

After much discussion, we decided to take the boat near the West Station and cruise along Lake Thun while drinking hot chocolate and eating chocolates which I took while on the Cailler tour yesterday. Oberhofen Castle tour was the plan for the day.

Water falling from high atop St. Beatus Holen down into Lake Thun

Before leaving for Oberhofen, we had coffee/tea with Daniela, her mom. Hannah and Norah.

I even was able to feed Norah. She smiled and held my finger so tightly.

Oberhofen Castle, which dates back to the early 13th century, houses a living museum. The large castle park is supposed to be one of the most magnificent in the region of the Alps.

The romantic castle complex with its keep from around 1200 AD reflects the history of its owners.

In 1844, the castle was bought and converted to a summer residence by the aristocratic Pourtalès family from Neuchatel and Prussia. Since 1954, the castle has housed a museum drawing on the history of its former residents. In the servants’ quarters are the restored bedrooms of the personnel who took care of the well-being of the count’s family during the 19th century. The Oriental smoking room at the top of the keep offers a unique experience with its spectacular view onto the lake and mountains. Dating from the fifteenth century is the chapel with its impressive murals.

The impressive keep of the former fortress of Oberhofen was likely built in the early 13th Century. In the 14th Century it belonged to the Habsburgs. After the Battle of Sempach, the Bernese troops occupied Oberhofen and soon afterwards the fortress and surrounding area came under the control of the Scharnachthal dynasty. Other Bernese dynasties followed. From 1652 to 1798, the castle became a bailiwick and was extended and converted into a castle. In 1801, it became a private property again. In the middle of the 19th Century, the castle was transformed under the Counts of Pourtalès whose ancestors had originated from Neuchâtel in Switzerland and migrated to Prussia. In 1940, the American lawyer William Maul Measey established the Oberhofen Foundation. In 1954, the Museum opened to the public as an outpost of the Historic Museum of Berne. On January 1st 2009, Castle Oberhofen became an independent foundation again. In the new building on the seaside, which represents a bridge between the past and the 21st century, the Restaurant Schloss Oberhofen with its terrace on the lake opened in 2013.

Particularly noteworthy is the dining-room on the ground floor where the noble family once ate and which was directly connected to the kitchen.

Going from the dining room to the kitchen

You can not imagine the number of stairs in this castle

The chapel from the 15th century takes us to the time of the Scharnachthals. The impressive murals that can still be seen there were commissioned by this family.

More staircases to climb

More stairs!

Highchair, potty or a combination of the two?

On the second floor are the bedrooms of the domestic servants who looked after the aristocratic family in the 19th century. An exhibition conveys the everyday life of servants in an informative and interactive way. From mid-June 2021, the former castle kitchen will also be accessible as a workplace of domestic workers.

Yes, more stairs


This was a wedding dress.

What goes up must come down

At the top of the former keep is the Oriental fumoir, the smoking room of Count Albert de Pourtalès. The Count was a Prussian ambassador in Istanbul when he commissioned a spectacular interior in Oriental style for Oberhofen Castle, which he had purchased in 1844. The smoking room was completed in 1855 according to the plans of the Bernese architect Theodor Zeerleder.

The Oriental smoking room was restored between 2010 and 2012. Take a seat on one of the newly covered divans and you can let this unique setting do its work. The view of Lake Thun and the mountains is breathtaking from the highest point of the castle.

Ornate carvings

The last of the stairs down.

We decided to take the bus home and drive along the lake. Wind and rain were increasing.

The summit of the Niesen is 2,362 meters in elevation and it is covered in snow.