Lake Thun, St. Beatus Caves, Thun, Lucerne

After awhile, perfection dulls your senses. It needs to be broken up by imperfections to jolt you out of your complacency. I am running out of epithets in describing Bernese Oberland. It is perfectly beautiful, stunning, majestic, and gorgeous. We have seen these mountains from many elevations, sides, and angles. They are perfect, that is confirmed. So today, on our last day in Bernese Oberland, we decided to change the scenery, leave the mountains and take a drive along Lake Thun.
The drive along the lake is somewhat Amalfi Coastesque, not for the faint of heart.
We drove along the perfect coastline, round the perfect lake, framed by the perfect mountains on the horizon. We passed perfect coastal villages (another good alternative to staying in Interlaken) perched on the slopes above the picture-perfect lake.
We were having a beauty overload, and we decided to go underground. Literally.
Well, St. Beatus Caves are not exactly underground. We had to climb several sets of stairs and cross several bridges over a mountain spring to get to the cave’s entrance. This cave was different from all the other caves I have seen in that it wasn’t rich in stalactites and stalagmites. Its beauty lay in underground waterworks: springs, waterfalls, reflective ponds, underground grottos, and slimy mossy surfaces reminiscent of alien creatures.
Exiting the cave and emerging into the bright sunshine, we continued the drive past some more charming villages until we reached the town of Thun. The town of Thun, as you might guess, is on Lake Thun. The old town is on an island created by the Aare river flowing into the lake. The town is quite adorable, with a lovely castle on a hill and some very charming streets and houses around it.
But the best thing about the town was watching local teens and tweens frolicking on the bridges. The kids dove off the bridges into the rapidly moving water, walked around town in their bathing suits back to the upstream bridge, jumped again, letting the rushing water carry them to the next bridge, climbed out, and started all over again.
I can just imagine kids doing that on the Schuylkill River with policemen calmly looking on!
From Thun, we set off to Lucerne, our final destination. The road took us through rural Switzerland, over the hills and through the mountains, past farms and pastures with friendly cows. The smell of manure was overpowering. Curious little calves waddled up to the windows of our car. But the pastures abruptly ended and we entered Lucerne. The contrast was startling!
Lucerne is a sophisticated, elegant, and upscale city full of beautiful people. We had our first gourmet meal in 12 days in the “1871” restaurant on the lakeshore promenade and watched well-dressed strollers walk by.
Switzerland, as it turned out, is a country of contrasts!

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