We took the Regionalzug from Bern through the fields and villages to Thun, the mountains growing larger as we approached them, but the higher ones were concealed in cloud. Rainy greyness chased us; we escaped it by buying tickets for a boat to Spiez on Lake Thun. The lake boats are part of the public transport system in the Berner Oberland as they are everywhere in Switzerland. This Saturday the hourly departures offered free rides to children, so our boat was packed with local people: young families and families taking handicapped people for an outing, not a tourist in sight, apart from ourselves. The Schiffstation in Thun is directly opposite the railway station, on a canal that flows from the Lake to the River Aare. The river itself, clear and glacial, bounces along parallel to the canal with white water under the covered wooden bridges. We saw adventurers in little boats playing in those waves, later in the day.
An hour's ride on the Thunersee brought us to Spiez, where the sun began to make itself visible and the clouds over the high mountains (behind the Niesen and the Niederhorn) began to dissipate, teasing us with glimpses of the North Face of the Eiger. We docked by the castle at Spiez, the site of music festivals, by a yachting school, and walked uphill away from the crowds at the lakeside towards the Spiez Bahnhof. We didn't get that far before we found a very nice Konditorei that served not only chocolate truffles and Erdbeertoertli but also beautifully presented, delicious lunches. I had Pfannkuchen mit Pilzen (the mushrooms including chanterelles) and Chris was served Spiessli (skewers) of meat with a “colourful salad.” As we ate, we gazed through the window at flowers, the lake below the town and the near and far mountains. We found it rather more classy here than Saturday brunch at our usual diner in Ottawa.
Since we still had a couple of hours to kill before the return boat came by, we walked up the street to a vantage point from which we could see a path skirting the forest on the edge of Spiez. We found this Wanderweg / Naturpfad well signposted from the town with yellow arrows and had no trouble reaching it. It couldn't have been more attractive, winding in and out of the trees and then emerging above the vineyards, the vines just beginning to bud. I took photos galore. And all the time on the southern horizon, the big mountains were revealing more and more of themselves and the lake below us was becoming more blue. We came down the slope through the vineyards and passed a wedding party at the old church erecting an arch decorated with hearts. It was warm and sunny by the time we reached the shore. We watched the waves lapping and a pair of coots mating on the rocks, then sat by the dock watching the yachts come and go.