Sunday, September 25, 2011

A day in Thun - last Switzerland post - Impressions #28

This is the town of Thun, on the shores of the Thunersee, at the point where the river Aar flows out from the lake. This is the same Aar that flows through the Aareschlucht (see my earlier post). Thun, by the way, means "town". It has its origins in the same root word, which is also the "ton" found at the end of the names of so many British towns. It's not confined to the UK of course. Boston comes to mind. That would be the boss's town. (Okay, just kidding). Then of course there's Pleasanton, out in California, purportedly a pleasant town.

Now Thun, is definitely a pleasant town, even if it's just called Thun.

The center of town clusters around the network of waterways that makes up the river Aar.

North-east of the river a hill rises, capped by this church tower, beckoning invitingly to follow the twisted streets.

From a small terrace at the base of the church this view opens out, looking back over the center of town to the Thunersee beyond.

A sundial casts its shadows on the wall of the church.

These massive arches lead to the church entrance, which is to the right, inside. Look closely and you will see figures painted inside the archway.

The medieval frescoes extend from the walls up onto the vault of the ceiling.

The eternal homage to the baby who carries the future in his being...

From the church the hill mounts a little higher, capped by a medieval castle.

The first courtyard of the castle

Passing into the second courtyard of the castle, these stairs mount the exterior of the castle Keep. Apparently it's not necessary to use rulers and straight-edges when building castles.

The view from the open stair, the church tower at the left, the town below on the right and the Thunersee beyond...

This fireplace dominates the main room of the Keep.

At the four corners of the Keep, tight spiral stone stairways wend their way upward.

At the top of the highest tower this little nook frames the endless mountains across the valley.

Inside the castle the town leaders have set up many exhibits of local art and history. Here are some mannequins wearing examples of traditional dress. This was back before progress led us all to wear blue jeans and t-shirts.

Red is always in fashion.

These tapestries were captured in a historic battle, when the Duke of Burgundy tried to invade the area and was defeated by the free forces of the citizens of the canton. This was sometime around 1475.

Some quite lovely pottery that is produced in the region.

Back down the hill towards the town center, I'm following the Aar upstream towards the Thunersee. The Aar passes through a really beautiful neighborhood of exquisite 18th and 19th century homes.

Thun has always been a refuge where the famous would go to get away from it all. Many important political and cultural figures spent time here.

Johannes Brahms spent the better part of 3 years in Thun, composing some of his most loved chamber music here. The house he lived in, sadly, was demolished, when one road along the lake was widened early in the 20th century.

This house was actually built just a few years ago, one of the very few new houses in the area. The other that I found was a hideous purple modernist box, which I'm refraining from posting so that I don't get into a rant.

A narrow path leads across the water, through the mysterious gates, to an exquisite home hidden among the trees.

At the edge of town, near the lake, this old church was hosting a wedding the day I passed by.

Oh my god, it's all crooked and tilted! Call the lawyer! Sue the contractor. Sue the architect too while we're at it.

Just goes to show that a building can stand for centuries, even if it's not plumb and level. What it needs is to be loved and maintained.

Across the road, this 19th century recreation of a French Renaissance chateau now hosts a fancy restaurant and a place to hold your wedding reception.

a bit of lovely sculpture peeks out at you, a little yapping dog!

Turning back towards town I pass the serene church standing among its trees, a witness of the passing generations.

A nice comfy place tucked behind its bushes... Thun is full of spots like this.

On the train back towards Brienz.

That night there was a big thunderstorm. In the morning, out my window I saw fresh snow capping the peaks.

That's all for Switzerland for now. I hope I can make another trip back again soon. I hope to go in the early Spring when the waterfalls are at their peak.

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