28 August 2015
Yet another sunny day. There is no hiking planned for the day (although there will be an evening hike) and we hop on the bus that will take us to Mülenan and Niesen. We take the Niesenbahn funicular to the top of the mountain in two stages with a transfer in the middle. The view from the summit provides a 360° panorama that includes the Jungfrau, Eiger, and Mönch peaks to the east, the cities of Thun, Spiez, and Interlaken, and several large lakes (Thunersee and Brienzersee).
The weather is delightfully cool at this altitude (2336 m) and we leisurely spend time reading the numerous signs and displays that discuss flowers, history, peaks, and more. And, there is a hike after all as we take a short walk out to an overlook.
Too quickly, it is time to leave. We reverse our ride down the funicular and board the bus which takes us to Spiez. Here we take some time for lunch (and ice cream!) before boarding the boat that takes us across Thunersee (Lake Thun). We disembark on the far side of the lake from where we started and enter the Schloss Spiez (Spiez Castle) for a few hours of museum touring. It’s very interesting and photogenic—but it has a damp and musty feel to it. Comes from age, I guess.
After dinner, we pull on our packs for an evening hike to Bunderalp to spend the (short) night at a cheese makers farmhouse. It’s a warm evening as we climb from ~1400 m to 1800 m and we arrive at the farm quite sweaty. Our sleeping quarters are in the barn above the cows. Luckily for us, the cows were moved down from the high pastures to lower pastures just a few days ago. Otherwise, the divine bovine fragrance would have permeated all of our gear. We drift off to sleep at ~2200 in preparation for our alpine adventure tomorrow.