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  • Writer's pictureDeborah Kade

Unspunnen Day 5

Five of the rooms emptied out today. Tomorrow there will be a whole different feeling in the house. We had a wonderful group in the house the last few days! Plenty of laughs!!!!

One of the families was from Dubai. Surprising even the father sat and talked to me. He had gone paragliding and was very happy to discuss the flight. His little boy was so cute! Here at the bed and breakfast, they have a basket of toys for the children to play with. Kids are happy to have something to do.

Another couple were from Minnesota. They appreciated the restaurant recommendations and the directions and information regarding a trip to the Jungfrau. Today, they left for Geneva. They have an appointment at Cern. At Cern, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, physicists and engineers are probing the fundamental structure of the universe. They use the world's largest and most complex scientific instruments to study the basic constituents of matter - the fundamental particles.

A sister and brother from northern California were driving through Europe with their spouses and spent a few days here. They had first been in France and now they are off to Italy. The GPS they had in the van didn't work that well and they were surprised they got to Sunny Days. The first day, they went to Ballenberg, the open air museum. They told me they saw the whole thing in an hour. Not possible!!! Maybe it is if you just pass the buildings and don't go into them. Oh, you have to run, too, to be able to see all the sections in an hour. The lady had difficulty walking so maybe they just went on the carriage ride. Pretty expensive for a carriage ride. The two couples had the rooms below me. Hope the creaking of the floor didn't wake them up. They were older than I and I know they went to bed earlier.

There were two girls from China also staying a couple nights. One of the girls just completed her law degree at a university close to Amsterdam while the other girl was working somewhere. I just didn't catch where it was. Had an interesting discussion on feng shui.

Michael and I have learned driving in Europe is no fun. Roads are especially narrow in the cities,; you better understand all the road signs in different languages and parking in the cities is difficult to find and it is expensive. The driver has to keep his/her eye on the road and misses out on all the beautiful scenery. The advantage to driving: you can stop anytime to see what is of interest to you. At my age, I will go for something that is stress free.

Had a wonderful time talking with the couple from British Columbia, the westernmost province of Canada. She had broken her ankle a little more than a month ago. She had a walking cast, crutches and a scooter where she could rest her leg. She and her husband were supposed to be taking the train to Basel where they would board a river cruise boat which would go down the Rhine starting at Basel and ending in Amsterdam. Last night, he received an email stating the boat couldn't make it to Basel and they would have to meet it at another location in Germany. Only he came down to breakfast this morning. I'm sure she isn't in a happy mood!!!!!!! Both of them had breakfast downstairs for the first two days they were here but he took breakfast up to her yesterday and this morning. A little story for those whom would like Canadian medical. She broke her ankle and went to the hospital. She needed the ankle to be operated on but they were too busy to operate so she was put in bed for one whole week. Yes, seven days before they operated!!! She laughed and said the costs of drugs were cheaper in Canada than the States, though.

Hornussen and Shooting were the main activities today.

Hornussen, which translates as farmers' golf, is an indigenous Swiss sport.

The sport gets its name from the puck which is known as a "Hornuss" (hornet) or "Nouss". When hit, it can whizz through the air at up to 300 km/h and create a buzzing sound.

The sport probably developed in the seventeenth century. The earliest reference to Hornuss is found in the records of 1625 of the consistory of Lauperswil, canton Bern, in a complaint about the breaking of the Sabbath. Two men were fined the sum of 20 francs for playing Hornussen on Sunday. In the 19th century this amateur sport was very popular in the Emmental and in Entlebuch. In 1902, the federal Hornussen association was founded, which organizes a competition every three years. In 1988, there were 232 clubs in the association, with around 6,900 members. During the season, inter-association and inter-cantonal events are held, as well as group and elite events. In 2012, the international Hornussen association was founded, which helps promote the sport in countries throughout the world. Since its founding more than 20 clubs have been founded in the United States.

"The sport uses a sloped batting stand made of metal, where a rubber hornet (similar to a puck) is mounted. The hornet is struck using

a bat. A bat is made of two parts, a cylindrical metal object from which the hornet is stuck, and a long flexible stick made of synthetic

plastic, which players grip onto for the swing.

The children today used a stick, a wooden batting stand and tennis balls.

The objective of the sport is to strike the puck as far as possible. Teams takes turns to strike the hornet. As one team strikes, the players

of opposing team stand around the landing area and try to strike down the hornet, with a wooden paddle.

Players are allowed to throw their paddles in the air in an attempt to block the hornet.

Shots commonly travel as far as 300m before they land. Only shots that directly fall onto the ground without any contact from the opposing team counts toward scores. A match usually lasts for about three hours, with the team that scores the most points wins."

Let me share an ESPN review:

"At first glance, Hornussen appears to be a mixture of golf and baseball - and yet it is much more – it is a typically Swiss sport with a tradition reaching back to the 16th century.

In order to expel spirits it used to be the custom to hit burning logs down from the mountain and into the valley. The sport of Hornussen is supposed to have originated from this ancient tradition and is a team game played by all ages without there being a basic social structure in place.

How the game is played

The batting team has to hit the Nouss (a kind of disk or puck) as far as possible into the opponent's area. The defending team has to stop the approaching Nouss as soon as possible by using a shingle or catch board. Usually two turns are played, and each turn, each team hits once and defends once. Each turn, every single player hits twice with three attempts. A game has no set length, and it takes about three to four hours to play two bouts. The team with the smallest number of penalty points wins – i.e. having the smallest number of failed interceptions. In addition to the team rankings, the Swiss championships and festive occasions also provide for the ranking of individual strikers."

The Hornuss

The Hornuss or Nouss was originally a disk made of wood or horn which was hit into the playing field. There are several interpretations of the meaning of the word Hornuss and all refer to the "hornet-like" buzzing sound made by the Nouss. Measurements taken by the Biomechanical Institute at the ETH Zurich have shown that the Hornuss can reach speeds of up to 85 m/s (306 km/h), a cruising altitude of 50 to 70 meters and a flight range of up to 330 meters.

A betting game

When the game of Hornussen started, the losing party had to pay for afternoon refreshments after the match. Today, instead, bets are taken on the outcome, and are usually between 50 and 100 francs per game. Bets are also customary when the game is played on a friendly basis, which is why it is called a betting game. It is also common for individual players of similar skill levels to wager a beer on the number of points gained.


When Hornussen was first played, it was mainly a game for young single farmers. They met in the late summer / autumn to play on harvested fields against farmers from other villages. It is reported that such events enabled the players to pit their strength against each other and to regulate disputes between villages. Despite playful attempts at arbitration, the Hornussen games were often followed by wild brawls. The first written records of the Hornussen are found in church records from the 16th and 17th century, and the first known competitive Hornussen game took place in 1655 in Trub. In the late 19th century, a Hornussen association was formed and rules were set. In 1902, the national governing body (Eidgenössischer Hornusserverband) was founded. This national association and its regional sub-organisations organise the championships for the various leagues, the three-yearly national Hornussen festival, and the Hornussen matches at the national wrestling and Alpine festival as well as at other festivals.

Hornussen today

Hornussen is mainly played in the Mittelland cantons of Bern, Solothurn and Aargau. Hornussen enjoys popularity to this day, and despite the huge range of different sports on offer, is a great success – a success also explained by the close links between the sporting and traditional elements. In 2011 there were around 270 Hornussen groups with some 8,300 players organized in four special purpose associations and societies and affiliated with the national governing body."

Information on the US introduction to Hornussen

Monday, May 6, 1878 – Chicago, Illinois

In 1878 the sporting goods equipment and retail business of Albert Spalding was thriving. As his wealth began to grow due to the business of sport, Spalding looked for every opportunity he could to foster the love of athletics in every American. Baseball was and remained his first love but his motive to diversify the love of sport caused him to look for other games he might elevate in stature. One game he found was the Swiss game of Hornussen. Spalding found the game fascinating and he felt that if he could get Americans to love the game as well it was one that would require its practitioners to purchase equipment; equipment he could sale to them. Thus Spalding resolved to organize a professional Hornussen league in the United States. He called the league the Professional Hornussen Players League (PHPL).

He decided he would serve as the league’s first commissioner and he would sale four franchises. The charter of the league that he wrote stated that franchise owners would be fully proprietary, maintaining near complete control of their clubs.

The first franchise he sold was to his friend William Hulbert. Hulbert was the owner of the baseball Chicago White Stockings. He wanted to name his Hornussen club the White Stockings as well but Spalding did not like this. He wanted his league to be distinct from any baseball league. Spalding suggested the name Pioneers to Hulbert and that stuck. Spalding remembered the name from the Rockford Pioneers, the first baseball team he ever played for. So William Hulbert’s team will play in Chicago and they will be called the Chicago Pioneers.

The second franchise was sold to Morgan Bulkeley. Bulkeley was brought into the league by the suggestion of William Hulbert. He, along with Spalding and Hulbert, was a long time and early organizer of baseball. Bulkeley decided he would place his team in his hometown of Hartford, Connecticut. Outside of sports Bulkeley was interested in politics. As the league was organizing he was beginning to lay the foundation for his political career. Like many northerners at this time he was an avid fan of Abraham Lincoln and the 16th Presidents party the Republicans. In tribute to Lincoln, Bulkeley named his team the Hartford Republicans.

The third franchise sold was purchased by Bob “Death to Flying Things” Ferguson. Ferguson was a player/manager in baseball and had worked for Morgan Bulkeley previously. He had also worked as a league director in the original National League. After purchasing his own team, Bulkeley talked Ferguson into picking up the third franchise in the league. Although Ferguson was very busy traveling with Chicago White Stockings at the time, he decided to place his team in his hometown of Brooklyn, New York. For a nickname he decided to dub his club the Brooklyn Swats. The name served as both an homage to his nickname as well as serving as a fitting name for a team in a sport where players attempt to swat a flying flute out of the sky.

Finally Albert Spalding sold the fourth franchise. He got sports journalist Henry Chadwick to take ownership of the franchise. Chadwick decided to place the team New York City and call the club the New York Clippers. He gained inspiration for the name from the magazine that he was working for at the time, The New York Clipper.


They set up an indoor shooting range and people could try shooting at a target.

There were four people from the Swiss shooting team that talked about their rifles, their sport and the team.

I also was able to speak with Jan Lochbihler whom is a Swiss sports shooter. He competed in the men's 50 meter rifle three positions event at the 2016 Summer Olympics.

He even signed an autographed picture for me.

The medals he is wearing were recently won at the European Championships. He told one man he was sorry he couldn't show him a bronze medal as he only won gold and silver.

All afternoon there were different forms of entertainment. Demonstrations were given. You could also participate in various activities.

Some of the actors from the William Tell Open Air Theater group came and sang and put on a short skit.

The photographer whom is covering all the events wanted a picture of Jan and "Tell".

The clouds moved in and I decided not to stay for the last couple hours of music. It was a very long day but enjoyable!

On the way back I met up with Kathy whom works at the Swiss Made Shop in Wengen. We were waiting for the train gate to go up. Funny but we spotted and recognized each other at the same instance. She was going off to gymnastics. I just wanted to go back to the room and shower as it has been a hot and extremely humid day.

I'm sitting outside under the tent as it has started to rain. It is dark outside. My nose is running. I bet I'm coming down with my annual Switzerland cold. Time to say good night until tomorrow.

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