Sunday, November 27, 2016

St. Beatus Caves at Lake Thun in Switzerland (Europe #14)


Hello again! This is the 14th post in my Europe photo series. Only one more after this one (Bern) before we start on Paris!

On our way from Lauterbrunnen in the Alps to the city of Bern, we spotted this stunning sight above. When we read the sign, I realized I had seen a description of the Saint Beatus Caves in our Switzerland tour book. It was definitely worth an extended stop! 

Here's the scoop. Saint Beatus was a legendary 6th century Irish and missionary traveling through the area when he discovered that this region was terrorized by a large dragon who lived in the caves. He banished the dragon to the bottom of the lake, and lived out the rest of his days in a monk's cell in the cave, teaching and healing the people in the name of Jesus. You can read more of the story here: St. Beatus Caves - Dragons and a Saint. I love the story and his real life Christ-like example!

You can walk a kilometer trail into the caves, which are filled with stalactites, stalagmites, other interesting rock formations, and even waterfalls. 

Stalactites are tapering structures hanging from the ceiling or overhang of a cave; they are formed by calcium salts deposited by dripping water. Stalagmites are mounds of the deposited calcium salts that extend up from the ground. How can you remember which is which? The words stalactite and ceiling have the letter c in the them, while stalagmite and ground have a g.


These stalactites are reflected in a pool of water.

This is the Mirror Grotto (Spiegel-Grotte in German), also with a reflection.

 This formation is reminiscent of a sleeping bear.

Stalactite Wall...

As with the Trümmelbachfalle caves, these pictures just don't do it justice.

Of course there is a souvenir shop, as well as a snack stand and a sit down restaurant. I ordered a lovely pasta dish.

This was our beautiful view from the restaurant.

We walked back down the path, definitely easier than climbing up it!

A museum partway down tells the story of Saint Beatus and the geology and natural history of the region.

What a stunning place to visit! Such a serendipitous surprise along our journey!

Next up, the city of Bern!

On a lifelong adventure,

If you like caverns with rock formations, see my post about Luray Caverns in Virginia.

My other Europe posts:

My Europe posts so far:

#1: Off to Europe!
#2: Our First Afternoon in Geneve
#3: On the Shores of Lake Geneva
#4: All Around Geneve, All by Myself
#5: Sweet Sunday Morning in Geneve
#6: Saint-Pierre Cathedral
#7: Musée d'Art et d'Histoire
#8: On Our Way to the Swiss Alps
#9: O Little Town of Lauterbrunnen 
#10: Mürren and Gimmelwald by Cable Car
#11: Staubbachfall in Lauterbrunnen
#12: Foggy Days in Lauterbrunnen
#13: Trümmelbachfalle, Ten Waterfalls in a Big Swiss Cave
#14: St. Beatus Caves at Lake Thun in Switzerland
#15: An Evening in Bern

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