Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Thun Town

The charming town of Thun (pronounced toon), Switzerland, might just be the perfect place to base yourself in the Bernese Oberland if you prefer to be in not such a big city but also not in a tiny one-horse town either.  Thun has a busy train station as well as modern office buildings, shopping, and culture, but once you step a few blocks away from the downtown area you will find yourself in a precious medieval village with a rising castle, clock towers, and covered wooden bridges.  That's right, you don't have to visit Lucerne to see ancient covered bridges.

Covered bridge over the Saane River in Thun.

Another covered bridge in Thun.

Walking across the Saane River covered bridge.

After strolling across the river through a wooden covered bridge, one comes to the historic old town, with its cobblestone shopping streets, quaint alpine architecture, and medieval sights.

Dominating the view from just about any spot in town is the 12th century fortress on a small hill in the middle of the city.  If the Disney castle was modeled after Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria, Rapunzel's castle could have been designed after Thun's Zähringen Castle.

Can't you just see Rapunzel's braid cascading down from one of the turrets?

The castle, which is closed in the winter so we could not go in, features a history museum with several sections about medieval armor, weaponry, and rural life.  A lovely walking path with terrific views leads from the castle to a nearby church.

Church in Thun.

One of the most popular reasons for vacationing in Thun, which was not available to us in the cold month of January, is its water sports and beautiful swimming beach on Lake Thun.  Boat tours on Lake Thun are free to Swiss rail pass and Eurail Pass holders and offer breathtaking views of the Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau mountain peaks, the resort town of Interlaken, and of course of Thun.

A great place to spend time with kids is at Schadaupark, actually the grounds of Schadau Castle.  From spring until fall every second Sunday of the month kids can ride a steam train for 2 Swiss francs around the park.  There is also a nice playground on the property.

1 comment:

  1. What a cute looking town. I'm really liking the giant stars hanging over the street in town, and I think you're right that Rapunzel's tower may have been inspired by Neuschwanstein.


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