Peck's personal Web site
Swiss cities: Thun
quick visit in July 2006
may not find this tangibly rewarding unless you're included here, so this is a
good time for casual and random browsers to turn back before they get too caught
up in the sweep and majesty of the proceedings and can't let go.
Bridge over the Aare, where the Lake of Thun (pronounced
"Toon"), or Thunersee, dumps out towards Berne 20km to the north.
We've been hiking all about in the Bernese
Oberland, and now we'd like to see some historical towns.
the bridge over the Aare, looking for historical towns in the vicinity.
scenery in a small city of only 42,000 human inhabitants, and only 5,000 years
old. Thun was a Neolithic site -- say no more, there's a couple of extra thousand
years, right there -- and resurfaced as a Celtic "fortified city" or
"dunum" ("Thunum", get it?) well
before any of us were even born, including me. The Romans rumsfelded their way
in in 58 BC and it became one of the main centres of Roman administration throughout
the region. Until the Burgundians sent the Romans packing in about 400 A.D., and
we all hope that George W. Bush will take that as a lesson.
ancient riverside, all tastefully done up by Swiss commercial interests, is fascinating.
But, up there on the hill above, a castle and a cathedral. That's really what
we've come for!
sprints up to see the castle.
in 1190 by the Zähringens of Berne to subdue the region to the will of the
Holy Roman Empire, the castle has still got the scaffolding
all over it. Even Halliburton or Bechtel could have finished the job by now, give
or take a millennium's worth of cost overruns.
measures in the Age of Bush: "Don't shoot! I'll take off my shoes!"
capture that castle as quickly as you can, and let me know when you've got it
done. I'll be in the gym."
Thun reminds me a lot of Shawnee, Oklahoma, but of course there are some differences.
(That's the famous Rathaus Platz below.)
that Shawnee, Oklahoma, hasn't got a river through the middle of it, and Shawnee
hasn't really got a Rathaus Platz either.
the other thing is that Shawnee's nearest mountains are, maybe, 800 kilometres
away in Colorado. But the charm and civic pride are there, and Shawnee's probably
got a WalMarts and dozens more streetcorner pink-cinderblock "evangelical"
Christian churches. Thun may wish to think of that as something to aspire to.
castles that are no longer needed to keep off the Burgundians frequently end up
as wonderful museums, and so did this one. The man and woman in the background,
performing traditional work, are exhibits. The woman in green on the left, performing
no work at all, is not part of the exhibit (that's Kristin). The cat in the centre
is either part or not part of the exhibit (unless, like Schrödinger's Cat,
it's both), but if part, it's convincing.
people in exhibits of 19th century life in Switzerland frequently seem so much
more contented than we are today, happier in what they're doing. Though they were
probably not far off from starvation. But they didn't have television and could
just get on with things on their own. For a while, and then they died early of
easily treatable diseases.
and jewellry at half price. Not a bad deal. But who set the prices in the first
in a 15th century building. Party on.
good ship "Blümisalp" leaving Thun docks on its way up the Lake
of Thun to Interlaken. (Hopefully treading lightly,
as it has since emerged that the Lake of Thun is filled with discarded munitions
from the World War Two era, thoughtlessly dumped over the pier as a cost-cutting
measure common to military authorities everywhere.)
a lovely way to spend the day.
is a big peak (3664m) that dominates the horizon from Thun. We walked up to the
Blümisalp hut near there a few years ago.
off to Interlaken. Ciao for now. We're back to work tomorrow.
Thun got put onto the Swiss telephone net in 1888.
and suggestions are welcome if positive, resented if negative, .
All rights reserved, all wrongs avenged. Posted 3 September 2006, revised 29 July