Dwight Peck's personal website
Château de Spiez (Schloss Spiez)
early afternoon off from our hiking in the Swiss interior and another great step
forward in our quest for Bubenbergs.
may not find this terribly rewarding unless you're included here, so this is a
good time for casual and random browsers to turn back before they get too caught
up in the sweep and majesty of the proceedings and can't let go.
we were, wandering along by automobile down the valley
of the Simme in central Switzerland, still spiritually buoyant from our pleasant
hikes near Iffigenalp and looking forward to our
wiener-schnitzel-and-a-half at the berghotel in Engstligenalp,
and the late morning dance-card seemed still to be free. And as we passed through
Wimmis (where in 1985 the narrator waxed delirious after 15:42 hours of running
from Leysin towards Interlaken and called in sick), one of us remarked "Why don't we stop in at Spiez and build up an appetite for
Engstligenalp by viewing the Lake of Thun"?
Spiez way back in 1980 -- it's time for an update!
Lake of Thun is a lovely lake.
Even on a cloudy day, the air shimmers.
the other hand, the lake bottom is thoroughly littered with dumped-off excess
World War Two munitions, crashed airplanes, and outdated military equipment, much
of it slowly leaking out along the lake floor, but never mind. Not just the Lake
of Thun. All the Swiss lakes. 'Whada we do with all these old chemical mortar
shells, cap'n?' 'Over the taffrail, son. Nobody will ever notice.'
views lake steamers on the Lake of Thun and wonders about the Bubenbergs.
wander about the Spiez lakeside with an eye for a public WC and
if we're really lucky a hot-dog stand, we feel watched -- there is a tower sort of thing hovering above the natural yacht-harbor of Spiez with
a very Bubenberg look to it.
to find the castle redolent of Bubenbergs, we clamber upwards onto the little
headland jutting out into the lake that must have
made the folks in the castle feel so safe and superior.
times, the Stretlingens ran this franchise, but in the 14th and 15th centuries
the Von Bubenbergs of Bern turned it into a real tourist destination.
there he is, Adrian von Bubenberg himself, Thun's greatest footballer from that
era, waiting to greet us.
the splendid castle, the living quarters (right) built alongside the ancient tower
and keep (left), on a fortified esplanade atop the headland jutting out onto the
lake. That's a son-et-lumière show set up with the lights and scaffolding
-- it doesn't ruin the medieval ambience at all, if you close your eyes.
side of the castle, with all the 17th and 18th century fine touches laid on by
the von Erlach family, who took over the portfolio in 1516 and held onto it until
the late 19th century, when modern economic necessities intervened and, in 1929,
the Spiez Castle Foundation took over and have done a exemplary job since.
lovely garden, which looks like it might have served Adrian von Bub. well for
his football practice, seems very 19th century and was probably mostly pigstys
and muck in his time.
British hikers viewing the lay of the land in front of the
"new castle" built onto the gatehouse, August 2005.
prepares to view the inside of the castle, passing a funky old luxury automobile,
the 7th parked here so far today with more to come, awaiting the bride and groom
and hangers-on from the next of the 21 weddings taking place here today, in order
to speed them out at the head of a desperately-happy line of ordinary cars to
the Roy Rogers out at the freeway interchange for a massive wedding reception
with an open bar for the first 45 minutes, after that you're on your own.
room, apparently, from a more graceful era. From the top of the keep, we were
blessed to observe the 7th wedding to be held here today. The bride and groom,
standing bewilderedly in a giant heart made of flower petals on the lawn, received
a long line of wellwishers forming up near the chapel across the green. The bride
air-kissed everybody three times and chatted amiably, and the groom gave each
male a firm handshake. Then they formed up and proceeded into the chapel to get
married, god's-peace-be-upon-them, and shortly afterwards the bridesmaids darted
out with baskets to scoop all the flower petals from the heart so that the next
wedding could lay out its own flower petals and get under way.
the kitchen in the old part of the castle. Extremely evocative of the old times.
church at the end of the headland protruding past the castle out into the Lake
of Thun, 13 August 2005, from the castle keep. We were appalled and shaken to
observe that the 7th-wedding bride, standing in her heart of flower petals and
receiving her well-wishers, chatted meaninglessisms with her peers but entirely
ignored the little girls tagging along with their mums, all decked out in their
Sunday best, hoping more than anything else that the bride would stoop just for
an instant to greet them, too. But she didn't.
this schloss if you can, it's really really nice.
(There's a bewilderingly
misguided Web site at http://www.schloss-spiez.ch/schloss/,
but ignore that, visit the castle anyway.)
Feedback and suggestions are welcome if positive, resented if negative, .
All rights reserved, all wrongs avenged. Posted 24 September 2005, revised 6 October 2008, 29 August 2014.