• Deborah Kade

Unspunnen Day 2

I had been staying in room 4 since I arrived and now I moved up to room 9, which is under the roof, for the rest of my stay. Room four is facing the street while room 9 faces the snow capped mountains. The Jungfrau is the first thing I see when I get out of bed. Room 4 and 9 have almost nonexistent WIFI (it keeps going in and out) so it is difficult to download pictures to the Travel Showcase page. I have been sitting outside in the dark every night to work on the pages and it seems the outside patio area has adequate WIFI. I selected 88 pictures I liked. Unfortunately, it said it would take 3 hours to download and I wasn't going to stay up until 1 AM outside in the dark. I even cut the number down to 30 but I couldn't get the page to publish. I will keep trying so be patient. I will try and include a few pictures with the writings. The lady at the corner of Baumgarten and Helvetiastrasse tore out her whole lavender plant. She didn't even try and cut it back. I was heartsick when I saw what she did! For years, Michael and I have had a ritual of running our fingers lightly across it every time we passed. I have gotten up every day at 4 AM since I have arrived. Today, it was the wind and possibly the plink plink of rain on the skylight. No, it isn't rain. Not sure what the plink plink was. I just couldn’t fall back to sleep no matter how hard I tried. Since I am up, I will write a little history on the Unspunnen Castle. “Unspunnen Castle is a castle, now in ruins, located in the municipality of Wilderswil which is the tiny village next to Interlaken. Think of it as a suburb of Interlaken just like Unterseen, where I am staying, is. The castle, likely constructed in the early 12th century, overlooks the city of Interlaken. The castle was the center of a 13th-14th century fief of an Oberland barons, though the name of the barons or the castle builder is unknown. The cave castle of Rotenfluh (first mentioned in 1298 as munitio immersive balma Rothenfluo dicta) at Tschingelsatz and Unspunnen Castle (first mentioned in 1232 as Uspunnun) were used to guard the late medevil Lütschinenbrücke, a bridge at Gsteig near Interlaken. In the 13th Century it belonged to the Herrschaft of Burkart of Thun, who acquired it through his 1224 marriage to the family of the Baron of Wädenswil. A division of inheritance, possibly in 1280, cut the Herrschaft in half, the Baron of Eschenbach got the castle and the surrounding villages while the Baron of Weissenburg got Rotenfluh Castle along with other villages. After the assassination of Albert I of Germany by his nephew John in 1308, the Habsburg in Austria claimed the Eschenbach lands, but in 1318 they pledged these lands to the Baron of Weissenburg as collateral. In 1332, the peasants of the surrounding villages unsuccessfully rose up against Johann of Weissenburg and the leaders were imprisoned in the castle. In 1334, the Oberhasli region was invaded by Bern and the castle was besieged. After Bern took the castle, the prisoners were freed, though the barons retained the castle. After the Bernese victory in the Battle of Laupen in 1339, the barons were forced to pledge the Unspunnen and Rotenfluh castles as part of the peace settlement. A few years later, in 1342, the Habsburgs redeemed this pledge and then pledged it on to their followers, including the lords of Interlaken, Hallwyl and Kyburg. During the Battle of Sempach in 1386, Bern occupied the area and in 1397 paid off the mortgage. The next year they sold the castle and lands to the von Seftigen and von Scharnachtal families, who were citizens of Bern. In 1418 and again in 1515, Bern bought the lands back from the families' heirs. In the 1440s, Emperor Frederick III rose Julien von Brawand to the Lord of Unspunnen. Bern placed the Unspunnen lands directly under the city's authority in 1529. In 1762 the lands were transferred to the administration of Interlaken and the castle was allowed to fall into disrepair. The ruins became famous through the Unspunnenfest in 1805 which led to regular cleaning and repairs of the ruins.” When the sun finally rose, of course we had a red sky and clouds. What is the saying? Red sky at night; sailors delight. Red sky in morning; sailors take warning. Guess I better take my umbrella along. I don’t want to be caught in the rain like I was in Spiez. Yes, it was a good thing I did as there were a few sprinkles when I walked home. I enjoyed watching the Mönch and the Jungfrau come into view as the sky lightened. No clouds surrounded the mountains but as the sun rose, clouds started forming. The Sphynx is almost engulfed by clouds now. Can’t see if the Neisen has a hat as they have closed off the second bedroom.

At breakfast, I was able to download the pictures from yesterday. Finally, had success doing it!!!!!!! Someone emailed me and asked why the men were in clown or jester costumes. Well.......those are not clown or jester costumes. If you are Catholic, they are the similar dress that the guards wear protecting the Pope at the Vatican. The men in the pictures represented the different canton (states). They carried the canton flag.

Oh, I forgot to mention it in yesterday's post about the tourists from Asia whom were dropped off by their bus in front of the area where they were trying to raise the flags. They swarmed around all the men holding the flags and were taking selfies. Then, they posed in different positions while taking more selfies. If you read last year's blog, try and remember the ladies posing on the boat and what I did. I definitely felt like doing it again to them. I wonder if they would be as polite as the Swiss were if this was done in their country. They hate to bring shame so....

They have a live FOTO stream of the Unnspunnen events on the TV and Internet. While I was watching the children sing and yodel, a press photographer came and sat next to me. Fun to compare my ISO settings on the camera with his. We actually had the same settings. Guess all my classes are finally paying off since I set my ISO before he did. When I went out to see the raising of the flags, I just so happened to be standing next to him. We smiled to acknowledge we recognized each other.

Today is a very important day as it is schwingen (wrestling) day!

Let me give you a little history.

Schwingen (from German schwingen "to swing"), also known as Swiss wrestling (French lutte Suisse) and natively (and colloquially) as Hoselupf (Swiss German for "breeches-lifting"), is a style of folk wrestling native to Switzerland, more specifically the pre-alpine parts of German-speaking Switzerland.

Wrestlers wear Schwingerhosen ("wrestling breeches") with belts that are used for taking holds.

Throws and trips are common because the first person to pin his/her opponent's shoulders to the ground wins the bout.

Schwingen is considered a "national sport" of Switzerland, alongside Hornussen and Steinstossen.

Schwingen and Steinstossen were included as Nationalturnen ("national gymnastics") in the Eidgenössisches Turnfest at Lausanne in 1855.

The modern history of organized Schwingen tournaments begins with the Unspunnenfest of 1805.

Every seat in the stadium was taken. There were four matches taking place simultaneously. The atmosphere was electrifying with people clapping and cheering. I had so much fun to be among them.

As with other types of folk wrestling, the roots of Schwingen in Switzerland cannot be determined exactly. The modern sport was institutionalized in the 19th century out of older, regional traditions.

There are records of wrestling in Switzerland from the medieval period. A picture from the 13th century (in the Cathedral of Lausanne) shows the typical way of gripping the opponent.

Schwingen as a special form of grappling in Alpine culture can be traced to the early 17th century. This form of grappling is preserved during the 17th and 18th century in the Emmental, Haslital and Entlebuch regions specifically. In 18th century travel literature, Schwingen figures as part of the stereotypes of Swiss alpine culture. The Entlebuch pastor Franz Josef Stalder in 1797 records a set of rules in his Fragmente über Entlebuch.

The modern history of the sport begins during the period of Mediation, with the Unspunnenfest of 1805. In the late 19th century, memorable Schwing festivals and a lively activity of educated gymnastics teachers brought Schwingen to the big cities. Thus the original fight of the herders and farmers became a national sport that reached all social levels. The associations, headed by the Eidgenössischer Schwingerverband (national federation, founded 1895), organized the sport by integrating regional peculiarities, improving the abilities of the fighters with teaching books and practices, and creating modern tournament rules.

The match takes place in a ring, a circular area with a diameter of 12 meters that is covered with sawdust. The two opponents wear short pants made of jute over their clothes. The wrestlers hold each other by these pants, at the back where the belt meets, and try to throw the opponent onto his back. There are several main throws, with names like "kurz", "übersprung" and "wyberhaagge", some of them very similar to judo techniques - "hüfter" is almost identical to koshi guruma, "brienzer" is basically uchi mata. These throws are found in many wrestling systems that have even the slightest emphasis on throwing the opponent, and can also been seen in shuaijiao. A match is won when the winner holds the opponent's pants with at least one hand and both the opponent's shoulders touch the ground. By tradition the winner brushes the sawdust off the loser's back after the match.

The match is judged by three referees, one of whom stands in the ring. The referees give points, with a maximum of ten points for a winning throw. If the match ends without a clear win, the more active Schwinger is awarded the higher number of points.

At a Schwing festival, every Schwinger wrestles six opponents, or eight at the Eidgenössische. The two Schwingers with the highest number of points after five (seven at the Eidgenössische) matches get to the Schlussgang (last round). The matching of the Schwingers is done by the fight court according to arcane rules. Often there are suspicions that the matchings have not been fair, and favor one contestant over the others.

There are no weight classes nor any other categories. Usually, though, Schwingers are big men, over 180 cm tall and weighing in excess of 100 kg, and are mostly craftsmen from traditional professions that require some physical force, like carpenters, butchers, lumberjacks or cheesemakers.

Regional and cantonal Schwing festivals are held outdoors, between early summer and autumn.

The most important Schwing festival is the Eidgenössisches Schwing- und Älplerfest, which takes place every three years. The winner of this tournament is proclaimed Schwingerkönig and receives a bull as his prize.

Earlier in the morning, they had the Steinstossen. I'm not sure why they had it, as they will be having it later on in the week. I will give you a little preview. But.... check out the size of this crowd versus the other.

As with any sporting event, there is entertainment.

They had yodelers, alpen horn players, bell ringers and a marching youth band from Interlaken led by girls carrying flowers.

The winner even had sponsors: Lidl. hummel, Ivecco and one other on his cap and shirt. I didn't get his name but he had many people cheering for him.

As with any sporting event, it is more fun to just be there.

Not only did I have a great time but I got a free hat that says Unspunnen 2017 Schwinget Interlaken. The hats were sponsored by Migros, a grocery store.

I also had my picture taken with Lutz, the marmot. They were running out of ink so my hair is streaky. They had the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau for a background. The lady told me my friends back home could log onto tomorrow and see that I am fine.

Yes, I am fine and enjoying day #2 of the Unspunnen.

1 view

Copyright © 2017. BeyondArizona. All Rights Reserved.

BeyondArizona is a registered trademark of Deborah Kade.