Lothurm and Twann, Switzerland, Sept 17, 2013

Lothurm: Intro

While checking out options for today, I came across what looked like an interesting trek in the tourist brochure we got when we went on the boat ride a few days ago.

The brochure referred to the Lothurm Panorama, near the town of Magglingen / Macolin. The key was to catch a funicular just a few blocks from our hotel, get off at the top at Magglingen / Macolin, and stride purposefully up some more hills to get to this cool tower, the photo of which I borrowed from Google Images:

Now, you might be asking why I would have to borrow a photo. All will become clear. Be patient!

The brochure also mentioned that the tower is a monument to the memory of Hurricane Lothar, which ravaged the Swiss forests on Dec 26, 1999. It also provides a splendid view of Lake Murten / Morat. Sounds interesting.

Anyway, my further research led to this map. The word GO is at the top of the funicular, and the viewpoint is the tower.

So off we went.

The funicular

One interesting note: at the bottom was a sign celebrating 125 years that this particular funicular (say that a bunch of times fast!!) has been running, from 1887-2012. Cool. In 1887, Calgary was just starting to become a major town.

We got front-row seats, aka the bottom-row seats. And since we were going up, we were also going backwards, watching the bottom terminal fade into the distance. At the half-way point, the other car passed us going down. Funiculars are always in pairs, to provide counter-weight in the event of an incident. Oh, those Swiss engineers!

Here is a shot of the view near the top.

I tried to get a photo or two at the top to demonstrate the angle of the train. Each row of seats is higher up than the previous row. This photo shows the steps leading downward to lower levels of the train.

And this shows the parallelogram windows from inside the train, against the vertical lines of the station.

Not like the C-train at all!

The actual trip involved us going 1.6 kms in just under 10 minutes, while gaining over 400 m of elevation.

The Lothurm Tower

We got off the funicular and started climbing, steadily upwards for over 2 kms, with an elevation gain of an additional 200 meters or so.

And we caught our first glimpse of the tower.

But something did not seem quite right. We could see stairs coming down from the top, and going up from the bottom, but there appeared to be a bit of a gap!

As we got closer, we saw that there was keep-out tape around the bottom. And it looked like those missing stairs were now found, on the ground!

Such a disappointment! Because without going to the top of the tower, the view was less than exciting!

The hike

We walked on various types of trails: pavement, fine gravel, and dirt/rock path. And notice how some of the trails are lit up at night!

We passed by some farms, and saw cows and chickens.

And, of course, I got some photos of flowers.

Some mushrooms.

And my token fauna entry, a snail.

And, along the path, a view of the valley, and the town of Biel / Bienne, through the alley between a couple of buildings.


After we had examined the tower, Stephen and I parted company. I retraced our steps, taking the funicular back down to lake level. And Stephen headed further west, to the town of Twann, which is also at lake level.

This shot shows our two tracks in our mapping software. The red line is one that I drew in alongside the funicular. And notice all the contour lines!

Not counting the distance travelled in the funicular, I walked about 7 kms, and Stephen walked about 22 kms. He was thinking about trying to catch a boat back from Twann to Biel, but in the end decided to just hoof it. He's a bit tired now!

In the course of his hike, he ended up going down another gorge, where he got some nice photos.

A self-portrait:

A waterfall:

And a movie of the waterfall.

Stephen also got a great photo of St. Peter's Island, where we were a few days ago.


The Swiss have referenda on whatever subject a citizen would like. This poster is soliciting support to end vaccinations, which are obviously something that the Big Bad Pharma lobbyists want to inflict on the populace.

And I thought that this one might appeal to my favorite son.

The rough translation is:

Biel is cult. Biel is rap. Biel are watches. Biel are all talking about. Biel is art. Biel is the lake. Biel's you and me. Biel is the EHCB.
EHCB, I think, stands for Eis Hockey Club Biel.

Forecast for tomorrow is rain. Sigh....

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