Saturday, March 31, 2012

St. Beatus-Höhlen and the FC Thun-FC Basel Fussball Game

"The hay is in the barn."

That is an old football saying that simply means that the team is as ready as they can be, now it's time to play the game.

That's how I felt this morning about the Tigers and our season opener on Sunday so it was time to relax a bit.

The first things that I saw today were two old friends . . .

The Thun Castle and . . .

The Niesen Pyramid

A few weeks ago Martina Baumann suggested that I visit St. Beatus-Höhlen (that is pronounced BEE-AH-TUS, David Lassen) when it opened for the tourist season in late March. Höhlen is Swiss for caves.

I have never been in a cave and Martina had said that this system of caves, stalagmites, stalactites and fast flowing water were quite interesting and now, I must agree.

By the way, stalagmites drip down from from the cave ceiling while stalactites grow up from the cave floor. They share a commom growth rate of about 3cm/century.

The #21 Bus got me there in no time

Martina forgot to mention that I would have to walk a switchback path half way up a mountain to get to the entry point of the caves.

Gnomes guarded the way

St. Beatus and the Dragon on the left

Nowhere near as well known as St. George, St. Beatus was a 6th century Irish missionary who came to the area to convert souls. Legend has it that he fought off a monstrous dragon that had caused the natives great fear for years.

Having dispatched with the dragon, St. Beatus was then able to convert several heathens to Christianity.

The falls flowing out of the caves

Water and Moss

Red Rock

There would be all sorts of brilliant rock colors inside the caves, unfortunately no photos were allowed in side the höhlen.

The Upper Falls

Almost There!!!

Time to smell the flowers

I finally got to the entry area only to find out that the next tour would not start for another 30 minutes.


He doesn't look that fierce to me

The tour took an hour and led us one kilometer into the caves and another 287 feet higher in elevation inside the mountain.

Our tour guide was great! The tour was supposed to be in German and French only, I would have had to wait another 45 minutes for the French/English tour and I did not want to wait any longer.

Our tour guide went ahead and gave me the English version without batting an eye as to protocol. As I said, great guy!!!

Did I mention that Martina Baumann was once a tour guide in these very same caves?

From the caves it was on to Arena Thun for the FC Thun-FC Basel Division I Swiss Fussball League game.

FC Thun pre-game huddle

Everyone was excited about the possibility of knocking off #1 FC Basel.

Elbow to the head

No Red or Yellow Cards, let them play.

FC Basel struck first as Marco Streller scored a goal at the 5:50 mark, FC Basel led 1-0.

At 8:15, home town hero Stipe Matic pounded home a Penalty Kick as FC Thun knotted up the score at 1-1.

Battle in the Corner

Unfortunately for FC Thun, Stipe Matic would draw a Red Card 22:00 minutes into the game and the Big Red would be short handed the rest of the game.

Not to worry, FC Basel's Cabral countered with a Red Card of his own only five minutes later, ten on ten from then on!

Illegal Push in the Back!

Just before halftime, FC Basel's Valentin Stocker hit a laser shot to close out the scoring in the first period.

At the half, it was FC Basel 2 - FC Thun 1.

FC Basel fans lighting road flares in the stands

What safer or saner way could there possibly be to celebrate Alexander Frei's goal 58 minutes into the battle? FC Basel now had a commanding 3-1 lead.

Dennis Hediger would score an FC Thun goal that ricohceted off the right goal post to close the gap to 3-2 in favor of FC Basel at the 78th minute.

Unfortunately, that would be the Final Score as well, FC Basel 3 - FC Thun 2.

I was one of 7,624 in attendance in Thun's 10,000 seat arena.

FC Thun - FC Basel Action

Note the chants by both sets of fans, a fussball game is equal parts sports, drama queens and musical concert.

The Aare River at night

A brisk walk home to Helvetica from the Thun Bahnhof was just what the doctor ordered to end a great day!

Game Day for the Tigers tomorrow at home vs. the Basel Meanmachine. A game at last!!!


David said...

I don't care how they pronounce it, a coach visiting a place called Beatus the day before a game is tempting fate.

George said...

It turns out that you might have been right on this one David.