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  • Deborah Kade

OMG!! I had breakfast yesterday with Robbie Simpson, the winner of the 2019 Jungfrau Marathon

Updated: Sep 8, 2019

September 7, 2019


Jungfrau Marathon and the Avenches Tattoo


Yesterday, I had breakfast with Robbie Simpson. Unfortunately, I didn't recognize him until I started taking pictures at the starting line, this morning.


Robbie is such a humble person. He is the nicest person you would want to meet. We talked about the marathon. I asked him if he was runner and he just answered yes. I asked him if he was going to the tent that evening for the spaghetti dinner and he told me he was probably going for a pizza. Nike is a sponsor and they couldn't have a better person promoting their brand.


He only stayed at the Guest House for one night. He had to move to a hotel where some of the other runners were staying. Now it makes sense, he is an elite runner so they all stay in one hotel. He liked it at the house here as it was quiet. At the hotel, he has to wear ear plugs.


Robbie Simpson is number 101.


He also won last year. In 2017, he came in second.



I could go on and on but I will just have to tell you the rest some other time.


What an exciting day for me. I love watching the start of the Jungfrau Marathon.


They also have the flag throwers and the alpen horns. After the national anthem, the race begins.



42,195 km, 1,829 meters 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! Unfortunately, the runners finished the race in the fog.


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. They start the marathon by running through the main street in Interlaken. Then, they continue to run alongside the turquoise waters of Lake Brienz, through the traditional mountain villages of Bönigen, Wilderswil, Zweilütschin, Lauterbrunnen and Wengen and past an awe inspiring mountain backdrop to the finish in Kleine Scheidegg. The atmosphere and enthusiasm along the entire route, underscored by flag throwers, alphorn players, small bands and bell ringers, are what bring this event together.


I only caught the beginning of the race which starts at the Victoria Jungfrau Grand Hotel.


Last year, I took the train to Wengen and cheered the runners on there, also. The cheering crowds in Interlaken were more subdued than those in Wengen. There is a party atmosphere that grows with each mile run.


The sweeper stays with the last person.


Jen told me at the rewards ceremony Robbie gave an acceptance speech and one part dealt with him being patient. He talked about being in 5th place at a certain point and he knew he had to have patience if he wanted to win the race. He also was the only person to shake every person's hand whom were standing on the stage. His parents should be very proud.


After watching the marathon, I took the train to Avenches. I will attend a military tattoo.


A tattoo is a military performance of music or display of armed forces in general. The term comes from the early 17th century Dutch phrase doe den tap toe ("turn off the tap"), a signal sounded by drummers or trumpeters to instruct innkeepers near military garrisons to stop serving beer and for soldiers to return to their barracks, and is unrelated to the Tahitian origins of an ink tattoo.

The tattoo was originally a form of military music, but the practice has evolved into more elaborate shows involving theatrics and musical performances. It is also used to designate military exhibitions.


The term dates from around 1600 during the Thirty Years' War in the Low Countries (Belgium and the Netherlands). The Dutch fortresses were garrisoned with mercenary troops that were under federal command since 1594. The Dutch States Army had become a federal army, consisting mostly of Scottish, English, German and Swiss mercenaries, but commanded by a Dutch officer corps. Drummers from the garrison were sent out into the towns at 21:30 hrs (9:30 pm) each evening to inform the soldiers that it was time to return to barracks. The process was known as doe den tap toe (Dutch for "turn off the tap"), an instruction to innkeepers to stop serving beer and send the soldiers home for the night. The drummers continued to play until the curfew at 22:00 hrs (10:00 pm). Tattoo, earlier tap-too and taptoo, are alterations of the Dutch words tap toe which have the same meaning. Taptoo was the earlier used alteration of the phrase and was used in George Washington's papers in which he said:"In future the Reveille will beat at day-break; the troop at 8 in the morning; the retreat at sunset and taptoo at nine o'clock in the evening."


One of the best-known tattoos is held on the Esplanade in front of Edinburgh Castle each August as part of the annual Edinburgh Festival. The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo was first staged in 1950; it combines the traditional sounds of the bagpipes and drums with the modern aspects of the armed forces. In 2008, the Windsor Castle Royal Tattoo was launched and held in the private grounds of Windsor Castle by permission of HM The Queen. The event's proceeds went to the Royal British Legion to help support recently returned troops from battle.


The Basel Tattoo (Switzerland) was started in 2006 by the local Top Secret Drum Corps. It has grown to be the world's second-largest military tattoo in terms of performers and budget after the Edinburgh Military Tattoo.


The Top Secret Drum Corps is one of the bands performing in Avenches.


At 2:30 there was a parade around town.


Bands performing


Top Secret Drum Corps

"Seven young talented drummers who knew each other from the Basler Fasnacht and jointly cultivated the traditional Basel drumming, founded the group Top Secret in 1991. They wanted to play more than just carnival drum marches and began to mix the traditional Basel drumming style with other drum types as well as adding visual effects. This unique idea and the passion of the seven drummers quickly lead to national and international success.


Top Secret received an invitation to perform in the 2003 Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo in Scotland. In order to participate in Edinburgh, new drummers had to be recruited and trained to enlarge the group so that they could develop a marching show for the first time.


Since 2003 the drum corps went on to travel the world, from Russia to Canada, Australia to the Unites States, from South Africa to China and all over Europe. There have also been further performances at the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo in 2006, 2009, 2012 ,2015 and 2018. Their exciting performances are well known for their precision, humor and thrilling tempo. With twenty-plus years of passion, imagination and dedication, these top Basel drummers have proven themselves to be a sustainable world-class act."



Coldstream Guards Band

The Band of the Coldstream Guards is one of the oldest and best known bands in the British Army, having been officially formed on 16 May 1785 under the command of Major C F Eley, reflecting the fact that the Coldstream Guards regiment is the second oldest of the guards regiments. Although the band is not technically the oldest in the Army, it has the longest standing tradition of music, as from its earliest days the officers of the Coldstream Guards hired eight musicians to provide music for the regiment during the changing of the guard. This is an event which still occurs today, every other day at eleven thirty in the summer outside Buckingham Palace.


'Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force Steel Orchestra

The Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force Steel Orchestra (TTDFSO) is the first (and thus far) only marching military steel orchestra in the world.


In May 2009, the Orchestra performed in England at the Windsor Castle Royal Tattoo at which Her Majesty the Queen was present. In August 2009, they performed at the Quebec City International Festival of Military Bands. Then in January 2010 the Orchestra performed at the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo held in Sydney Australia. In May 2010 ,they stole the show at the Holland and Luxemburg International Tattoo. The Panorama Competition in 2011 saw the Orchestra placing 2nd in the grand finals of the Traditional Band category performing “Battle Zone”.


For the 2012 Panorama Competition, the Orchestra placed 3rd in the grand finals in the Traditional Band category, performing their tune of choice “Band from Space”. At the 2013 Competition, the Orchestra placed 2nd in the grand finals in the Traditional Band category performing “Iron Man”. That same year, the Orchestra was invited to perform at the Jamaica Military tattoo, where they were honoured as the Best and Most Disciplined Foreign Band.


In April 2013 the Orchestra participated at the Siparia Fest Steel Band competition performing in three categories; Calypso, Gospel and Pan on the Move. The Orchestra placed 2nd with their calypso of choice “Ah going and party tonight” arranged by Sheldon Peters and the Ross Twins and placed 3rd with “Amazing Grace” in the gospel tune of choice and the band also emerged 3rd out of 17 bands as the best playing Band on the Move. In July of 2014, the Steel Orchestra returned to Edinburgh, Scotland to perform in the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, winning the coveted Pooley Broadsword which is awarded to the best performing contingent; the Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force Steel Orchestra."



Marine Band of the Royal Netherlands Navy


"The Marine Band, based in Rotterdam, was founded in 1945 and is in fact the continuation of the pre-war Regimental Band of the Royal Netherlands Navy, founded by King Willem III in 1864.

The 54 professional musicians, combined with the artistic and creative abilities of their conductors, have substantially contributed to the development and appreciation of military music in the Netherlands. With a characteristic 'Sound & Drive', the band has won the hearts of a large public. It is the musical visiting card of the Royal Netherlands Navy. The band's principal responsibility is the musical accompaniment of military ceremonial events for the Royal Family, Government and the Royal Netherlands Navy. Traditional highlights are the annual opening of the States General (Prinsjesdag), The Netherlands Military Tattoo, Remembrance Day and the Marine Corps concerts."


"As early as the 17th century in the days of Fleet Admiral Michiel de Ruyter, one of the initiators of the Netherlands Marine Corps, music has played an important role in the navy. Commands were initially passed on aboard the ships and barracks ashore with various drums, bugles and fifes calls and music was often made during the long voyages.


Transforming from ships’ bands and ensembles into a land-based full sized orchestra ashore, the Marine Band turned into the all-round musical ambassador of the Royal Netherlands Navy. Since 1945 this band navigates from solemn and special national occasions to a wide range of international performances and is known for her versatility and interpretation of a widely varying repertoire, illustrating the motto of the Marine Corps: Qua Patet Orbis, ‘As far as the world extends’. From military marching formation, intimate accompanying ensemble, extended big band and classic symphonic wind band to a stunning cover band; no music style is absent from the enormous repertoire.


The Marine Band of the Royal Netherlands Navy developed an appreciation for Russia and the music of her great composers. As part of the celebrations of 300 years Peter the Great and the jubilee of the city, concert tours to St. Petersburg were made in 1997 and 2003. In 2009 the branch of the Hermitage in Amsterdam was opened with a concert and attended by Queen Beatrix and President Medvedev.


In 2013, the Marine Band and the Drums & Fifes of the Netherlands Marine Corps participated in the famous International Military Music Festival “Spasskaya Tower” on the Red Square in Moscow.

In March 2017 Major Arjan Tien was appointed Director of Music and chief conductor of the Marine Band of the Royal Netherlands Navy."


Musique Royale de la Marine Belge


"The Navy Music was officially born July 1, 1947 in Ostend. His first master of music, Lieutenant Louis Gasia, composed the famous marches of the Navy on folk tunes like 'Het Loze Vissertje' and 'Maman les Petits Bateaux'.


The music has always been housed in Bootsman Jonsen in Ostend. It has a large rehearsal room, infrastructure for small ensembles and modern offices.


The successive masters of music each brought, with their talent and skills, a specific aspect to the music of the navy. So was it for example with Jos Hanniken in 1949.


From 1963 to 1978, the years spent under the baton of Captain-Commander Guy Duyck, himself a former musician, were a period of prosperity and exceptional success. A brilliant conductor and talented composer for wind instruments, he contributed to the growing reputation of Naval Music in Belgium and abroad.


She became a true ambassador of Belgian music, in which Belgian military music occupies a special place. Traveling abroad for concerts or "Taptoes" increased in the 90's. Under the direction of First Lieutenant Peter Snellinckx and then Ensign Matty Cilissen, the Navy's Music is produced in Krakow, Gdansk, Cologne, Stuttgart, Albertville, Budapest, Modena, Breda, Luxembourg, Gap, Normandy, etc.


The suppression of the military service caused the disappearance of the famous body of drums. In 1995, the Naval Force was renamed Marine, which had repercussions in the denomination of its musical body. The title of "Royal" was granted to him on the occasion of his 50th birthday.


Meanwhile, requests for representation abroad continued to flow. In 2008, the orchestra represented our national colors in Nan-Chang, China. The "International Festival of Military Music of Quebec (Canada)" invited the Royal Naval Music several times, again recently in 2013. Like other major festivals such as those of Halifax (CA), Saumur (F), Kaiserslautern (D), Virginia (US) and Birmingham (GB).


Since January 4, 2010, the chief of music is Master-Chef-Chef Bjorn Verschoore. Seconded by the chefs Kurt Callebert and Alain Mertens, they lead the ensemble throughout his performances and performances: CD recordings, on the radio and on television sets, many taptoes and military and civil ceremonies etc. 1MR Hans Moreels is the Major Drum of the orchestra. With its typical repertoire, the usual garrison and Kursaal concerts in Ostend and Bruges, as well as numerous recordings of compulsory competition works, this musical training plays an important role as a reference for many instrument orchestras. wind. Major educational projects are set up.

More than any other, the group of musicians of the Navy is a particular success in the light musical genre. The accompaniment of artists (singers or jazz soloists), performances such as Big band, combo's or other smaller formations, are part of the daily life of the Royal Navy Music. It is in the light music that the Music has more and more found its new musical identity. A flexible orchestra that, in the context of military traditions, manages to merge cultural baggage, class, show and entertainment into a new concept. Concept that will seduce above all our public.


For now, Royal Marine Music consists of 36 professional musicians who put their talent at the disposal of the world.


The royal music of the Belgian navy, authentic Belgian ambassador across the seas."


Massed Pipes and Drums - Edinburgh




Musique Militaire ER

The 500 annual engagements provide convincing proof of the high quality of the fanfares. They provide a musical setting for army ceremonies and special events of the Confederation and the people. Through its engagements in Switzerland and abroad, Military Music once again confirms the high level of performance of our militia army.


La Landwehr from Fribourg


Brass Band La Campagnarde Lugnorre


Echo des Glaciers de Vex


Swiss Pipes Band


Tambours de la Broye


Fanfare Police cantonale Berne


After the parade, the bands that were not involved in the tattoo performed at the different stages around town.




The actual tattoo actually took place in the amplitheater.


Avenches retains the vestiges of its glorious past as the capital of Roman Helvetica. The most impressive testament to its history is undoubtedly the roman amphitheater. Magnificently preserved, this historic setting with its splendid acoustics is the ideal venue for music festivals.


The Avenches amphitheater dates from the early 2nd century A.D., its stairs, walls and axial entrances being made of stone and the seating tiers wood. Ceased to be used in the 4th century, the amphitheater served as a stone quarry. In the 11th century, the bishop of Lausanne had a fortified tower built on its eastern entrance: the current Roman Museum. The baths of the forum, the theater and the Tornallaz –the only remaining tower of the roman enclosure of 73 towers – are visible, but most of Aventicum is now buried.

In this exceptional setting, summer nights come alive to the tune of a series of musical events. In July, audiences enjoy the high quality performance of the Avenches Opéra. In August, Rock Oz’Arènes, the smallest of the big festivals, has an enthusiastic following thanks to its eclectic program and the participation of international stars. In September, Avenches Tattoo, an international military music festival, explodes in a harmony of sounds and colors.

I was so happy not to be sitting on stone, wood or plastic.


I sat in the VIP section. I had a padded chair with a back.


Being in the VIP section, we were served refreshments before the performance. The canapés were with salmon. You also had a choice of wine.


The master of ceremony.

Unfortunately, I only understood a quarter of the announcements as it was in French. I was surprised I could understand anything, though. It helped he spoke slowly.


Above the tunnel entrance was an area where larger instruments could be set up.


I do not know the rank of the military man but he took the salute after each band performed. The young woman was constantly at his side.


Bands marched out from the tunnel to perform.

These led off the program.


Sometimes a band would combine for a song or two but most often a band was given 5 to 10 minutes to perform.





They played the U.S. Marine's Hymn as they marched in. I was surprised to hear the men around me singing along.












I wanted to include some videos but I will have to wait until I am back home with higher Internet speed.

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