No one has asked yet what I will miss about Switzerland, possibly because it is obvious that I will miss chocolate, cheese and canals full of swans, but another thing I will miss is strolling outside to the sound of Fiddler on the Roof, the Ride of the Valkyries or other classical music being played by the small street bands and accordion players who appear almost everywhere in this country. It is as though Swiss streets come with a soundtrack.
Thun may not be the name that comes to mind when one thinks of wandering Swiss towns, but if you have the time, it is a lovely place with covered wooden bridges, and a sparkling clear river – the River Aar in fact, which runs through so many villages that we are suspicious that instead of one river, it is actually about 10 with the same name. It is possible the Swiss were tired of naming things. They have a lot of mountains to name, so why not just paste the same moniker on a bunch of waterways? Am I joking? See below. ***
The town has at least two dams on it, and we watched swans bobble through in the churning waters of one, not really sure they would make it. The current is seriously scary and so, of course, it attracts the human young as seen in this video clip (click here). As is customary with the Swiss, the surfers seen in this clip have no protective gear – no helmets, no life jackets.
This is the oddity with the Swiss – although they apparently strap on endless harnesses when scaling cliffs, they are otherwise unconcerned with drowning, head injuries, plummeting tremendous distances down mountainsides, ramming their bicycles into cars, and so forth.
They are a wonderful people, but I’m sure their mothers are all exceedingly nervous.
This explains the Red Cross, the Swiss organization that provides emergency response across the globe. They have developed a heightened emergency-response infrastructure, methinks, because they are a little weak on disaster-avoidance while also being strong on adventure-seeking. No wonder they’re good at bandaging wounds.
In the meantime, I made a promise to post a video clip of Swiss street musicians that may be good, or not. I am at a loss to explain it. We came upon these men in yeti-costumes on the streets of Thun, singing in pained voices and playing wind instruments that made my ears hurt. If any Swiss person can tell us what this is (click here for a short video clip), please do
*** I make joke about many rivers being named Aar or Aare. It is actually one heck of a long river that begins and ends in Switzerland, running about 295 km (183 miles), and is the funnel through which all the water of Central Switzerland drains (17,779 square kilometres or 6,865 square miles).
Tomorrow: More Thun along with more photos