On a calm, sunny Autumn day, ten of us, with members and their visitors, met at the boat station, which is close enough to Thun railway station to qualify as a platform. To bring the port into the town centre, ships carrying several hundred passengers reverse along a canal.
Under the guidance of Joy Sandoz, our cheerful party boarded the comfortably filled ship, and sat outside at the bow, with a panoramic view. The sun glinted off the smooth Lake Thun, which is surrounded by steep pastures and wooded slopes, and dominated by rugged mountain peaks. As the twin-propeller ship glided clockwise along the shore of Lake Thun, it stopped for barely a minute at wooden jetties for passengers to get on and off at picturesque lakeside villages.
Spiez castle, set on a hill with vineyards, is just above the port of Spiez. There we got off the ship, and strolled along the marina lined with flowers and palm trees. At the restaurant Schloss Pintli, surrounded by small dinghies moored on the waterfront of the marina, we all ordered à la carte, and shared two bottles of very good Spiezer white wine in a convivial meal.
Five minutes’ walk up to the castle helped to settle our digestion. We visited the current exhibition in the historic castle with 50 sketches and paintings by Marc Chagall, and a film about his life. His naïve and colourful style is easily appreciated, also by visitors less familiar with art exhibitions.
Spiez castle also has a permanent exhibition of ceremonial and historic objects from feudal times, and evokes the life of ordinary people in a pre-industrial society.
Returning to the port, we walked through the castle gardens, and down for afternoon coffee at another restaurant on Spiez marina, then back to boat station. Our trip back to Thun was on a historic paddle steamer, with an inside balcony looking down on the massive, polished crankshaft. Its polished sides glinted as it turned, with steam hissing though the valves as the two pistons pushed and pulled.
Many thanks to Joy Sandoz for organizing this delightful outing on the last day of an Indian Summer.