Hiking The Beautiful Bernese Oberland

I bought a book entitled the 50 Most Beautiful Hikes in Switzerland.  It’s a great place to get ideas on where to go.   Although we probably won’t get through them all, we’re off to a good start.

We’ve been to the Bernese Oberland several times and love the area.  With a good weather forecast, we decided to try a new hike in the area.

If you aren’t sure why we like that area, take a look at the first photo.  We started the hike from Thun with that view.  Wowzers!  After about 30 minutes of walking along the lake, we headed inland.  When you head away from the lake just about anywhere in Switzerland, you are in for a climb.  This hike was no exception.  We trekked up the Choleren Gorge.  It is a long, wild gorge with beautiful waterfalls, bends, rocks and dizzying bridges.

We emerged from the gorge to a beautiful valley full of farms.  He kept thinking we were done climbing, but the “hill” just kept going and going.  With a little refreshment, we were ready to tackle the next part.

Our perseverance was rewarded with a stunning view of Lake Thun and the Swiss Alps.  Can you believe the view these goats have?

They were headed downhill to be milked.

The snowcapped mountains (from left to right) are  Eiger, Monch and Jungfrau.

Along the way, we made some new friends.  We wanted to move in to this guy’s farmhouse.  It may have one of the best views ever.  He was such a sweet  puppy that we would want him to stay.  

We just kept wrapping around the mountain keeping the lake view.  The whole time, we were pinching ourselves.  We couldn’t believe we were getting to experience something so beautiful.

Eventually, we wound back around to toward Thun and began our descent.

Once we hit the woods, look what we ran into.  More Toblerone-style anti-tank barriers!

It wouldn’t have been easy for Hitler to get tanks up there.  It was a bit steep.  We shouldn’t have been surprised since we started the hike through a gorge, but this was a bit scary.  My arm was still in a sling from my kitchen accident and so my balance felt a bit off.

On the way back toward the lake, we saw this cool climbing wall on the side of a house in Hünibach.  Pretty cool.

In the park, we saw this cool Rube Goldberg type contraption.  Since we were hungry, thirsty and dreaming of dipping our feet in the lake, we didn’t linger.

We sat on a dock, dipped our feet in the water and enjoyed the view.  Then, we giggled when these guys drove by blasting the theme song from Baywatch.  Is it possible that the Swiss love David Hasselhoff as much as the Germans?

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Gnome Sweet Gnome, We’re Living In The Land Of Gnomes

Gnome lawn ornaments are considered a bit kitschy in the US.  In Switzerland, garden gnomes are everywhere.  Known as “Zwergli” in German, they seem practically mandatory.  I’m exaggerating, but only just a bit.

Plastic or cement, big or little, these  have seen these gnome statues come in all shapes and sizes.    They are usually in yards or gardens, but we have also seen them on porches, railings, stoops, on stumps and even on pedestals.

We see them out all year long.   It’s a wonder that they don’t disappear.  It’s Switzerland, so there isn’t too much crime, but they look tempting.  Wouldn’t it be so much fun to take the gnome and photograph it in crazy places just like in the movie Amalie.   In 2000, the International Association for the Protection of Garden Gnomes was founded in Switzerland (GGLF) was formed in Switzerland to combat gnome kidnapping and try to make it a criminal offense.  Apparently, a few people have even been prosecuted for theft.  I’m not kidding.

Plotting a breakout?

Instead of kidnapping them, The Garden Gnome Liberation Front advocates  freeing the gnomes.  If you don’t believe me, just check out http://www.freethegnomes.com.  I couldn’t make this stuff up.

It would be great to dress them up in special outfits for different events, kind od like Mannekin Pis in Brussels.  Who doesn’t want to dress their gnome up in a team uniform for game day?  On second thought, the Garden Gnome Liberation Front might think it was exploiting them and protest.

The bankers who toil away in Zurich are also referred to as gnomes.

Switzerland has a trail with gnome trail markers in Gänsbrunnen.  Children who complete it receive a very child receives a “Nature and Gnomes Certificate.”  Do big children count?

I’m pretty sure this guy escaped from a Travelocity commercial. He wants to roam.