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Windsurfing Weekend in Thun

A long time ago you gave a windsurfing weekend to you lady-friend as a present; almost two years later you finally went!

Windsurfing on Thunersee

For your lady-friend's 2012 birthday present was a custom made memory game with prizes for pictures. She would win presents based on how many matching pairs she got. There were equal numbers of good and corresponding bad presents, including for example: flowers vs. hay-fever grass; so assuming she matched half the pairs she'd get all the goods. One matching pair was a windsurfing day. Due to various delays - mostly weather - actually going windsurfing had been continually postponed. Finally, a house-warming party invitation from Solenne and Matthias in Thun let it happen.

Take your windsurfer, any windsurfer
Take your windsurfer, any windsurfer

You'd never been windsurfing before. It seemed like a lot of fun, and Meike was willing to teach everyone how it worked. Solenne and Matthias came down to the lake and you all got to selecting sails (most had tears) and getting wet. The hire place was a very casual setup. The bloke had little business all week and so decided to stay home Saterday morning. A random regular who was at the lake gave you the bike lock combination for the gate and off you all went.

Matthias up and going
Matthias up and going

Lesson 1 - standing on the board. In shallow water falling off can be quite painful when you hit the bottom. Lesson 2 - lifting the sail. It's hard, slow and once up usually falls on top of you. Lesson 3 - using the wind. The intermittent wind was making it hard to use the sail effectively. You'd catch the breeze and hold it long enough to get moving, only to loose it ten seconds later and crash. Lesson 4 - turning. It didn't seem to matter what direction the sail faced or how you stood; the windsurfer went where it wanted. Lesson 5 - returning to shore. According to Meike, you had to zig-zag against the wind to come back to base. The theory was never fully explorable since every time you started moving you be either facing the wrong way, or not stay up long enough to turn. One of you sailed back to shore. The other three paddled. Slowly.

View over Thurnersee to Mt. Niesen with the world's longest staircase
View over Thurnersee to Mt. Niesen with the world's longest staircase

A post watersport BBQ on the opposite side of the lake was in order. You biked along the shore with a disposable grill - to which you're generally opposed, wasteful - and found a nice grassy spot littered with dog poo. Only after sitting down did you notice how shitty the spot was; Thun lake was required for hand and feet washing.

The swans seemed very friendly as soon as our food was ready
The swans seemed very friendly as soon as our food was ready

The instant grill was a bit of a failure. It took 15 minutes of dry grass gathering and 30 minutes of blowing to get it lit. Once alive the grill did its job and BBQ chicken enjoyed with a side of cold cous cous.

Gibidumsee Hike

Thun is a lot closer to Wallis (the hiking wonderland) than to Z├╝rich. The short trip there meant you could almost sleep in (by adventure standards anyway). You breakfasted on the train - your companions joining you in second class, willingly. They all had first class travel passes donated by work. How do so many companies afford their employees first class GA's?

One of many million grasshoppers
One of many million grasshoppers

The hike was a round tour to Gibidumsee. The scenery was fantastic and the path lined with ripe, juicy raspberries and blueberries. More than once you all stopped to pick and partake; they were bloody fantastic! You all took an extended break on a log bench with valley views towards Aletschgletscher at lunch time. The weather lent itself to napping in the sun, even if the breeze was quite brisk. It must be said, taking alpine toilet breaks is a serene experience: the world is all yours, as you loose track of time while squatting behind a tree enjoying the view.

After lunch nap in the sun at about 2000m
After lunch nap in the sun at about 2000m

The lake was less impressive than shown in the hiking guide. The four thousand plus mountains in the background reall dwarfed lake Gibidum, but its cool crystal-clear water made for a nice swim. The tall grass surrounding the water was home to a lot of stupid grasshoppers who tended to jump haphazardly near the water, often falling in and swimming clumsily back no shore. The mountain was teeming with them. You avoided squishing them along the path all day, but your patience was wearing thin - their out of control hopping put them right below your boot. The word grasshopper in German is Heuschrecken ("hay-surprise/terrible"), so you could say your hike was heuschrecklich. Translation: "surprisingly grasshoppered" or "hay-shocking". Hehe.

Synchronised alpine swimming in Gibidum lake
Synchronised alpine swimming in Gibidum lake