A diary of Flying Jayhawks journey through Switzerland

Posted on Aug 20, 2019 in News

From Zurich, to Bern, to Lucern, the Flying Jayhawks made their way through Switzerland and back during their week-long journey abroad.

Day 1 | Gateway to the Bernese Oberland

After arriving in Zurich, the group of Flying Jayhawks enjoyed a walking tour of Thun, learning about the gateway to the Bernese Oberland while walking below the picturesque Thun castle and along the Aare River.

The evening brought our entire travel party together for a reception at the hotel, followed by dinner on the banks of the Aare.

Flying Jayhawks | Swiss Alps

Day 2 | Oberhofen Castle

The Flying Jayhawks hopped on a ferry to tour the Oberhofen castle. The historic five-story castle has been preserved and now functions as a modern-day museum, offering a glimpse into the lives of the nobles and servants who once traversed the many halls and rooms of this lakefront property.

Nothing whets an appetite quite like storming the castle, so our flying Jayhawks set sail once again, this time destined for Spiez for a local lunch and an opportunity to freely explore the Spiez castle.

Flying Jayhawks | Switzerland

Day 3 | All aboard!

Trains, trains and more trains ruled the day as the jolly Jayhawks took to the rails and Brienz, Switzerland.

Following a quick ride on Switzerland’s public train system, the group of tireless travelers boarded a steam train for an hour climb up Brienzer Rothorn. Once atop the mountain, the view of low hanging clouds was impressive. Although our time atop the mountain was short, spirits remained high … although that may have been the altitude.

A stop along our descent at Planalp made for a delicious midday, authentic homemade mountain meal. Our day ended in Interlaken with Jayhawks free to explore the popular tourist city found between Lake Thun and Lake Brienz.

Flying Jayhawks | Switzerland

Day 4 | Tour of Bern, Switzerland

Take us to your leaders! Or, at least to the buildings your leaders work in.

Having mastered the Swiss public rail transit, our flock of Hawks traveled east to Bern, the capital of Switzerland. Built around a crook in the Aare River, with its origins dating back to the 12th century, Bern Switzerland is home to more than 125,000 Swiss citizens.

Our walking tour included stops at the Parliament building, the Cathedral of Bern and the Zytglogge, a medieval tower built in the 13th century that has served as a guard tower, prison and now a clock tower.

Flying Jayhawks | Switzerland

Day 5 | Kandersteg to Oeschinen Lake

The mountain is calling, and I must go.

Mountaineering was the theme of the day as we traveled to the high-altitude resort village of Kandersteg. A quick and scenic gondola ride from Kandersteg further up the Alps led to Oeschinen Lake. This turquoise-colored lake is elevated over 5,000 feet in the Alps. The lake is filled through a series of mountain streams and it drains underground.

Flying Jayhawks | Switzerland

Day 6 | Tour of Lucerne

A morning full of rain couldn’t dampen the spirits of our Flying Jayhawks in Lucerne. Upon emerging from the train station and crossing the Reuss river, we looked upon the gothic towers of the Church of St. Leodegar, built between 1633 and 1639.

A quick jaunt took us to the Lion Monument, or the Lion of Lucerne. This beautiful relief carving was designed by Bertel Thorvaldsen and created by Lukas Ahorn in 1820. The monument stands as a tribute to the Swiss Guards massacred in 1792 during the French Revolution when revolutionaries stormed the Tuileries Palace in Paris.

Our guided time in Lucerne culminated with a stroll across the landmark covered wooden Chapel Bridge, and a quick stop in the first large baroque church built in Switzerland, the Jesuit Church of Lucerne.

Flying Jayhawks | Switzerland

Day 7 | Muerren, Schilthorn and Gimmewald

All good things must come to an end, but this trip could not have ended in a more scenic location. Our final excursion took us once again high in the Swiss Alps, first to Lauterbrunnen, then on to Murren, a small mountain town of 300, with 1,200 beds for tourists.

After a leisurely stroll through this quaint and welcoming town, the Flying Jayhawks could once again board a gondola if they chose to climb even higher in the Alps with a 30-minute ride to Birg, then onto Schilthorn.

The Schilthorn is a summit in the Bernese Alps with an elevation over 9,700 feet. From this majestic summit, visitors can view Switzerland’s three largest mountains, the Jungfrau, Monch, and Eiger.

The Jungfrau registers as Europe’s highest point. Since 1969, the Schilthorn has also been known for its appearance in the James Bond film, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. No trip to this summit is complete without a spin in the rotating restaurant and a trip through their 007 museum.

Flying Jayhawks | Switzerland

The Flying Jayhawks “Switzerland” trip took place July 31-August 8, 2019. The trip was hosted by Angie Storey, senior vice president of donor & member relations along with Dan Storey, photographer & videographer. View more photos from the trip; pictures may be downloaded for personal use. Find more information about Flying Jayhawks trips, including a schedule, or sign up for travel emails.

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Waving the wheat

Posted on Jul 5, 2013 in News

Wheat harvest with the Riffey family | www.kualumni.org

Waving the Wheat is a long-standing KU tradition.   There is great speculation on when and where the tradition originated, but as spring turns to summer, it takes only a short drive down a Kansas road to see why Jayhawks still wave the wheat proudly to represent the state’s flagship university.

Kansans are treated to the largest amount of amber waves of grain in the United States, and the 2013 wheat harvest is in full swing. Angie Riffey Storey b’04, g’07, associate development director for KU Endowment,   grew up on a wheat farm in Sawyer and enjoys returning for harvest each summer.

“When I think of waving the wheat, my mind immediately turns to growing up on the farm, helping with wheat harvest each summer.   Even after attending KU and currently working for the University, I love sharing the wheat harvest tradition with my husband and daughters by returning to my family’s farm each summer.   Whether I am on the farm in June listening to the wheat rustle in the Kansas wind, or watching the student section wave their arms after a Jayhawk touchdown, I am filled with Kansas pride every time.”

The Riffey family has been farming in south central Kansas for more than a century.   The fourth-generation farmers manage 2,000 acres each year.

U.S. farmers grow nearly 2.4 billion bushels of wheat on 63 million acres of land in 42 states.   A bushel of wheat makes about 90 one-pound loaves of whole wheat bread.

Watch the video below to see harvest in action on the Riffey farm.

Wheat harvest with the Riffey family | www.kualumni.org
Special thanks to the Riffey family for allowing us to document their wheat harvest.

–Dan Storey

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