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  • Writer's pictureDeborah Kade

Jungfrau Marathon in the morning and Spiez in the afternoon

Some years back, the New York Times named the Jungfrau-Marathon “the most beautiful marathon in the world”. I definitely agree!!!!

The Jungfrau Marathon is 42.195 kilometers or 26.2187575 miles

"This is an accolade any organizer is more than happy to accept –even if the perception of beauty is ultimately in the eye of the beholder.

The race weekend kicked off on Friday, September 9th with the poplar races for children. Miniruns were from 200 - 1600 meters (.12 mile - .994 mile) for youngsters and the Mini-Marathon fun run over 4.2 kilometers (2.6 miles). A new addition to the program is the 4.4 kilometer (2.7 mile) Harder Run Race overcoming 750 meters (2,460.63 feet) altitude , which leads from Interlaken up to the Harder Kulm. For years, we jokingly have called the Harder Kulm the "Heidi Klum".

For many runners, the Jungfrau-Marathon is one of those (at least) once-in-a-lifetime challenges.

The Jungfrau-Marathon stands for “Swissness”, tradition and meticulous organization and has established itself as a strong brand in the annual running calendar. Participants from over 60

nations attest to the event’s international reputation.

This year, almost everything is as it used to be as runners will set off from the Höhematte in Interlaken, but the finish line will remain at Eigergletscher as last year – the

Jungfrau-Marathon is getting a new original route."

"42.195 kilometers or 26.2187575 miles - 1,953 meters or 6407.48 feet of altitude difference, 4,000 entries that sell out every year. These are the figures that make the Jungfrau-Marathon special. It’s not just about the numbers – it’s also about the breathtakingly beautiful landscape along the entire course that makes both runners and spectators marvel again and again. Pure nature at its most spectacular!

The start in Interlaken reveals a clue as to where the journey will end. A glimpse of the Jungfrau, one of the iconic Alpine trio of peaks besides the Mönch and Eiger, sets the course. The Jungfrau-Marathon leads through constantly changing scenery – alongside the turquoise waters of Lake Brienz, through traditional mountain villages and past an awe-inspiring mountain backdrop. And the atmosphere and enthusiasm along the entire route, underscored by flag throwers, alphorn players and bell ringers, are what bring this event together to a fascinating whole."

In 2018, Robbie stayed at the Adventure Guest House where we stay. He was such a handsome and charming young man. He never said who he was. I was shocked when I went to the marathon the next morning and saw he was an elite runner who would win the marathon that year.

Because of the change in the starting line, it was difficult to photograph the flag tossing and the alpen horn players due to the start line, but I did capture the music.

The National Anthem is played and the racers are off.

The man in the lime shirt thought he was last. He had his hands up encouraging more applause as he ran by.

A minute or two later, these two start running by. They must be the last runners to start.

No, it's him

These bags with personal items need to be at the finish line.

He must be the last starter.

No, this lady was the last to start the race. People were cheering her on!

The runners go around the Höhematte and around the downtown before heading toward Bönigen and Lake Brienz.

The first group came by at 10:29

Small groups coming around now. Nice stride. Good kick.

Looking good

Still looking good and relaxed at 13:46 Still a spring in that step

At 23:04, those feet aren't lifting too high.

The clean up group is waiting for the last runner and the sweeper. The tall man on the right works every year. I have seen him at different events around Interlaken.

With Swiss Army knives in hand, work begins on cutting the ties to the advertisement boards and signs. Everything is done quickly and efficiently and soon everything is back in order.

Runners heading up toward the Jungfrau. It rained during the night and it is damp out. At least they are not running in rain down in Interlaken and the possibility of snow at the finish line as it happens some years.

Met up with Ferosa for a quick chat. She worked at where we stay when it was under different owners and a different name. Michael doesn't care to see the Jungfrau Marathon so I always go by myself. There are a few runners staying at our place, too.

Michael and I decided to spend the afternoon in the quaint town of Spiez which is a favorite of our friend Sharon. There is a small castle in the middle of town.

Vineyards on the hillsides

Spiez is a boat stop on Lake Thun

"Historically, the residents of Spiez, population of 12,926, and the surrounding villages raised orchards and vineyards all along the lake, fished in the lake, shipped goods along the lake, or raised crops in the valleys. The vineyards of Spiez were first mentioned in 1338 and remained in operation until an outbreak of disease destroyed the plants in 1900. An attempt in 1927 to restart the wine industry on Spiez mountain and at Faulensee was fairly successful.

The construction of the Lake Thun road in 1844 and steam ship docks in 1835, 1876 and 1926 helped open the town to the rest of the country. Due to the mild climate and transportation links, Spiez became a popular health and spa town in the 19th century. Beginning in 1856 resorts and hotels, including the Schonegg, Spiezerhof and Faulensee-Bad, opened along the lake shore. The Thun-Spiez-Interlaken (1893), Spiez-Zweisimmen-Montreux (1897-1905) and Spiez-Frutigen-Lötschberg-Simplon (1901–13) railroads all helped the tourist industry and the rest of the town to grow. The growing population led to the construction of a secondary school and seven primary schools around the municipality. In the 1980s the A6 and A8 motorways further connected Spiez and the surrounding villages. In 1990, the Kander Tunnel opened, which helped reduce noise and pollution in the municipality."

"Spiez is not new to wine making. Its wine culture had been developed by the Ancient Romans and the first documentation of the existence of the vineyards was in 994 where they were cultivating the varieties Elbling and Thunrebe (now Räuschling). Unfortunately, around 1900, the cultivation of grape vines was almost completely wiped out because of the outbreak of the phyloxera. Instead of recuperating the lost vineyards, the townspeople shifted to a completely different sector from wine making which was luxury tourism. Not until 1928 did they try again by planting Riesling Sylvaner (Muller Thurgau) grape vines. Over the years, they tried to widen the area of the vineyards and on 1942, the small group of wine producers became a cooperative.

At present, Spiezer has about 11 hectares or approximately 27 acres of collective vineyards owned by different individuals at about an altitude of 700 meters (2297 feet) above sea level and they keep the wines in large oak barrels under the Spiez Castle."

"The vineyards have major cultivations of Riesling Sylvaner (Muller Thurgau), and Blauburgunder (Pinot Noir) along with Cabernet Jura, Malbec, Chardonnay, Gewurztraminer, Muscat and Elbling.

Spiezer carries a number of crisp, fresh and fruity white wines like the Riesling-Sylvaner which won a gold award in a wine competition. It’s a very pleasant fruity wine that reflects the terroir of Spiez. There is also the Einisch Anders Riesling-Sylvaner Spatlese (late harvest) which has more complexities and exotic fruits in the nose and to the palate. For a more structured white wine, their Chardonnay which is fermented in French oak barriques."

A barrique is a barrel or cask, and the term typically refers to a particular size and shape of a barrel. The barrique originated in Bordeaux, and it traditionally holds 225 liters, or 59 gallons.

The Swiss are keeping quiet about something. Their country is not just about superior chocolates, magnificent alps, extravagant watches and private banks, but nature gave them rich soil and excellent micro climates to tinker with. Two thousand years ago, they planted grapevines that they use to make outstanding wines.

The Swiss keep 98% of their wines. Michael and I love their white wines.

The Swiss keep 98% of their wines. Michael and I love their white wines.S

In Spiez today, they were holding their third annual wine stroll where you walked around town tasting different wines. This was a preregistered event. Tomorrow is a wine parade and on Monday, they will hold their Fall Market.

Floral sprays of gladiola, sunflowers and mums, and a few other flowers adorned the poles along the parade route.

This little park is halfway down the road to the castle. The words are done in succulents.

This place is not a dog's bathroom. They are not allowed here. They don't want their flowers "watered or pooped on".

Walk through the vineyards

The white is natural yeast. Yeasts are present on the grapes when they come into the winery, but most of these yeasts are what are known as non-Saccharomyces, or wild yeasts. Saccharomyces cerevisiae, on the other hand, is the main alcoholic yeast used to complete fermentation in wine.

The sign says the chestnut tree is a natural memorial. It is huge and gorgeous.

Do you see a dog's face?

vineyards and orchards

another wine stop

You carry your wine glass on a lanyard.

The massive square keep was built around 1200. The lower walls are about 3 m (9.8 ft) thick though they become thinner higher up. At the bottom it is 11.3 m × 11.2 m (37 ft × 37 ft). The tower increased in height several times over the following centuries before the final construction phase in 1600. In this final phase the tower was raised and crowned with hipped roof that brought its total height to 39 meters (128 ft).

The keep was originally surrounded by several free-standing wooden buildings. Over the following centuries, these buildings were replaced with a stone curtain wall and a ring of two concentric ditches. A gatehouse was built adjacent to the keep, which opened toward the west.

Around 1300, a residence wing was added north of the keep. t was probably lower at that time than it is today and was connected to the keep by a wooden gallery. During the second half of the 13th century, several tournaments must have been held around the castle because the visiting knights carved graffiti into the plaster of the main chimney. In the 14th century an additional north wing was added onto the residence wing.

From the 15th to the 18th century, the castle was gradually renovated to its present appearance. The gallery was expanded, and another story was added to the residence hall. The Trüel was added to the northwest side of the keep in the 16th century. Then, in the 17th and 18th centuries, the Baroque "New Castle" was built on the south side of the gatehouse.

Another wine stop

Lovely to sit on a bench and enjoy the castle grounds

1,000 year old Spiez Castle Church

There was a wedding at the church today.

You can rent the Castle Church for CHF 690.- for one hour, including verger, castle organ (without organ player), extra lounge, church decoration, preparation & cleaning, and a hand-rung wedding bell.

Boat choices

Walking down to the boat landing

Love how the chalets, barns, and cheese huts dot the landscape

This water is so cold!

Notice the outdoor hot tub which is heated by wood

A one person or one dog cabin.......interesting

Coming into the channel

Always something to do in the Berner Oberland!

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