Friday, May 4, 2012

The Niederhorn and Aare River Surfing

After a good practice Wednesday and a good night's sleep, I awoke in a positive frame of mind ready to tackle another busy "Travel Thursday!"

The first order of business was to walk to the Thun Bahnhof to buy some train/bus tickets for Saturday's huge outing.

When I researched things see in Switzerland, I was struck by three sporting events that were unique and warranted further investigation.

The two sports that I plan to see later this month are Hornussen, billed as "The Sport of Swiss Farmers" ( and Schwengen, a.k.a., "Swiss Wrestling" (

This Saturday I will board a very early morning train headed to to canton of Valais . . .

To see one of the greatest of Swiss sporting spectacles in the village of Aproz near Sion . . .


Basically, the cows fight for the title of "Queen Cow" and the right to lead the herds out to the summer pastures.

For more on Swiss cow fighting go to: and

Should be interesting to say the least.

On my way to the Bahnhof, I could not help but notice all of the flags that were flying.

The Swiss National Flag

Bern's Cantonal Flag

Thun's City Flag

Laurie likes ladybugs

The Thun Rathaus in all its glory

This is Thun's City Hall.

Never noticed this place before

Sorry, but for me, SPELLING COUNTS!!!

So where to today you ask, the answer was easy. Several weeks ago, Annemarie Sutter had dropped off a gift for me from her Mother who is an avid follower of this blog. I thought that her generous gift was straightforward enough, a ticket to ride the funicular and gondolas to the top of a nearby 1,950 meter/ 6,397 foot mountain known simply as the Niederhorn. I was really looking forward to it and the view of the entire Lake Thun valley from Thun to Interlaken on this bright, sunny Thursday.

When I finally talked with the powers that be, i.e., Vereha Dorder my friendly librarian in Thun for clarification, she informed me that the ticket that I was given was a Spring promotional ducat to get people out of their homes and into the tourist mode. It actually gave me access to any three of four possible adventures of my choosing. My four options were rides to the tops of the Niederhorn, Niesen or Stockhorn Mountains as well as a possible Lake Thun day cruise aboard the BLS lines.


I'll definitely take that day cruise on the BLS line and now have to decide between the Niesen and the Stockhorn . . . tough choice.  


The view from the base of the Niederhorn

This funicular started my trip at the Lake Thun lakeshore village of Beatenbucht. It would take me up to the Beatenberg Station, elevation 1,130 meters/3,707 feet. At this station, I was to transfer to a gondola that took me all the way up to the top of the Niederhorn.

From the Beatenbucht Station, the gondola made one more stop at Vorsass, elevation 1,580 meters/5,183 feet, before finally arriving at . . .


The view of Interlaken to the far left

This Sunday afternoon, my sister-in-law Gayle and her husband, the good Dr. David Hicks, arrive in Interlaken where they will spend a couple of days hiking and sightseeing. I am really looking forward to their visit.

Central Lake Thun

Thun to the far right

Dragon Slide

I think it takes the kiddies all the way to the lake.

I could be wrong.

A VERY High Flying Paraglider

Boats on Lake Thun

Hikers heading down the Niederhorn

You know, that sounds like a good idea, it would be good to stretch the old legs a bit.

Vorsass would be my goal

My map said that it would only take an hour to walk from the top of the Niederhorn down to Vorsass, a drop of 370 meters/1,213 feet in elevation.

The map didn't mention the snow . . .

or the man eating wolf paw prints

The views were still marvelous
but storm clouds were brewing

By the time I reached these huts,
I had fallen on my butt once in the snow
and once in the mud

Treacherous footing indeed!


It took more than an hour but I made it

Time for some sustenance

Ovomaltine Hot Chocolate

Alpine See-Saw

Simple toys are often the best.

Once I reached Vorsass and was properly nourished, I had a decision to make.

In order to get to the Beatenberg Station and the funicular to Beatenbucht, should I:
A. ride the gondola or B. ride a downhill scooter-bike? 

Why not!

The Niederhorn brochure said this scooter-bike was "a pure adrenaline kick for the young and the young at heart."

For 6 km/3.72 miles and a drop of 550 meters/1,804 feet, I did indeed feel the adrenaline rush, or maybe just plain fear, as I exploded down the mountain.

It would give me a chance to test some parts of Einstein's Law of Relativity since I believed that I was indeed traveling at the speed of light.

Besides, I looked good in that helmet.

Along the way, I did hit brakes a few times to see . . .

Alpine Meadows and

Cows and

Snazzy wheels don't you think?

Donkeys and

Feeding Huts and

Two more REAL cows

Uh-oh, ears pinned back and charging

Old School Cow Bell

Fancy New Style Cow Bell

Old Timbers

Gnarled Timber

Check out the horns

She's a bit too small to be considered for the Cow Fighting "Cow Queen" title.

MOO to you too!

Live action cows

The VERY rare Mountain Orca

Could be a rabbit.

I finally reached the lakeshore in one piece none the worse for wear and boarded the bus back to Thun where I was shocked to find . . .


The Aare Riner's flood gates were wide open and this Swiss surfer was taking advantage.

Surfer Down!!!

Looks like he is straight
from Huntington Beach

His buddy seems comfortable in the river

Oops, he's down too!

Back at it

Once you fall, there is a natural eddy at the edge of the river that actually propels these surfers back upstream.

Grab the rope and glide back into the action

Looking Good!

Harleys on display

There was lots going on in Thun today to get people out of the house.

Stolen straight from the Basel website

A gentle reminder that we only have one more practice Friday night to prepare for our game with the first place, 5-0 Basel Meanmachine. Should be fun.


David said...

The Running of the Bulls ... the Fighting of the Cows ... what other great livestock adventures await you?

steveswindle said...

Livestock adventures? Love it!@!!

George, I got such a laugh out of river surfing in Switzerland since I am a "California Surfer". However, I have met several Swiss surfers and even know a couple that own a surf resort in Nicaragua. It is called "Buena Onda"....Good Vibes in English. There were several Swiss there to ride the excellent waves of Central America's Pacific coast and revel in the warm (80 degree) water. You can even find Buena Onda online, they have a website.
Surfing in Switzerland....who knew?

George said...

Not me.

Anonymous said...

Hey, get the next one! Those down and dirty Cow Fights looked a bit like D vs O line drills on some of the practice sites by summer in Catnaia. Plus, I bet with gravity and mass working good for you, you had a more thrilling scooter bike ride than most, George? Say "Hi" to Laurie, and have fun. Paul Petrich