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  • Writer's pictureDeborah Kade

What's Happening in Interlaken and Unterseen?

Final preparations were being made for tomorrow's Unspunnen Schwinget Interlaken 2023.

The 120 wrestlers in Switzerland meet every six years and decide among themselves who is the strongest of the bad guys in the sawdust. With a Swiss character, the Unspunnen Schwinget is something very special and not everyone can cope with the rough Oberland air!

The Unspunnen-Schwinget takes place every six years on the traditional Höhematte in Interlaken. With the mountain panorama of the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau in the background, this is definitely one of the most beautiful places in wrestling.

Tickets for the event can't be purchased in public sales. The tickets are distributed exclusively via ESV to the swing clubs.

"Between 1798 and 1803 the Bernese Oberland formed its own canton. Town and country were equal to each other. However, when Napoleon forced a new constitution on Switzerland in 1803 with the Mediation Act, the Oberland was reunited with the old part of the canton and the previous political rights were abolished. The rural areas especially suffered from this change. With a rural festival, four Bernese wanted to revive the folk customs that had been severely damaged by the French invasion and to force a reconciliation between town and country. On August 17, 1805, they invited for the first time and in 1808 for the second time to the Helvetic Alpherds' Festival with a procession and competitions in singing, shooting, wrestling, stone throwing and alphorn blowing on the Bödeli. Despite the great success, the political goals of their founders were not achieved with the festivals, which meant that the festivals were only resumed almost a hundred years later; more precisely 1905. The Unspunnen-Schwinget takes place every six years, always in the year after a federal wrestling and alpine festival. Since 1987, the Unspunnen-Schwinget itself has also been one of the federal events. It was held for the first time in 1805 as part of the Unspunnen Festival, which took place every twelve years and in 2017 for the 10th time. Up to and including 2006, the Unspunnen-Schwinget took place not far from the Unspunnen ruins. Due to increasing public interest, however, it was moved to the Höhematte in Interlaken in 2011. A stadium for around 15,000 spectators was built here for the last event in 2017. If the number of buses around town is any indication of the number of people attending, the stadium will be filled to capacity. A stone throwing competition was held at the first Unspunnen Festival in 1805. A stone weighing 184 pounds was thrown. A stone weighing 83.5 kilograms has been used since 1905. The record has been held by Markus Maire since 2004, who lifted the stone to 4.11 meters. But the Unspunnen Stone became notorious for another reason: because it has already been stolen twice. For the first time in 1984 by Jura separatists, who returned it in 2001 with twelve engraved stars of Europe, the Bélier emblem and the date of the EEA vote. But, the stone was stolen again in 2005. A cobblestone with a Jura coat of arms painted on it was left at the crime scene as a "replacement". A replica has been used since the first theft."

While walking through town, I saw a placemat which showed what this schwinget, wrestling match, is like. They wrestle on sawdust which is spread over the field.

The regular Unspunnen is held every 12 years.

"What began in 1805 as a festival of reconciliation between city and country people is today the largest gathering of the most beautiful traditions and customs in Switzerland. In 2017, the Swiss wrestling, traditional costume and alpine shepherd festival was celebrated for the 10th time with over 90,000 visitors from near and far, as a bridge builder for the nation and with numerous innovations, a lot of joie de vivre and a great love for all customs, customs and lived traditions." Back in 2017, I attended all the events which were spread over a week. I can't wait to come back in 2029 and enjoy all the events.

Beautiful flowers are planted by the Höhematte city park.

Gorgeous zinnias

The Victoria Jungfrau Hotel is across the street from the Höhematte.

Michael and I sat on a bench and watched the paragliders float down onto the Höhematte.

There was an August Market in Unterseen.

The Hardermannli looking down upon Interlaken.

The idyllic view over Interlaken hides a dark story from the 16th century, when the face of a man became forever chiseled into the rocks of the mountain…

"It’s not hard to find an amazing vista overlooking the beautiful city of Interlaken. Towering over the ancient town is the mighty Harder mountain, and on its peak sits the castle-like Harder Kulm with an observation deck providing a breathtaking view of the entire area between Lake Thun and Lake Brienz to the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau. The Harder itself is densely overgrown with forest, whose leafy crowns lend the mountain its rich green. Only at one point, which turns towards Interlaken, does the rock face remain bare. If you look closely, you can discern the facial features of a man: dark eyes, a distinctive nose and a mustache. How this face appeared on the mountain is told by an old legend."

"In the 16th century, life in Interlaken revolved around its monastery. The monastery was rich and powerful, central to both government and spirit. Here lived clever men and scholars, known for their kindness, who provided wisdom and protection. This changed, however, when a new provost, Leonardus, was sent from Rome. Leonardus was extremely strict; he forbade the monks to assist the poor or to teach the local children. He quickly made himself unpopular with the other monks, who called him Harder because of his stern and unsympathetic rules.

In the nearby town of Ringgenberg lived a fisherman with his wife and their daughter Martha, a pretty and devout girl who regularly attended the Interlaken monastery to pay homage to God. Harder first saw Marta during a Mass, and despite his usual coldness, spoke very tenderly to her and soon won the trust of the innocent child. One day, Martha set out to collect wood on the mountain, and the monk slyly followed. She did not suspect a thing until Harder dashed from the trees and leapt upon her! Martha struggled and broke free, running down the mountain with the crazed man right behind her. In a panic, she veered from the path and found herself at the edge of a steep cliff. As Harder approached, she saw no way out and plunged to her death. It is said that God himself condemned the wicked man and immediately turned him to stone. Now his face is chiseled forever into the Harder mountain, a constant reminder that Interlaken is only for those who are kind and pure."

You can never tell what may be watching you. He does have the traditional canton of Bern traditional dress. I wonder if he can yodel?

Michael and I decided to go to the cemetery to see if we could find Frau Meier's grave. Unfortunately, we had no luck and there was no directory either. But, we loved looking at all the beautiful flowers and graves. It is an idyllic resting place.

Everything you need to tend to the flowers. Wooden crosses are placed before the permanent tombstone goes in.

Saint Joseph Catholic Church is near the Japanese Garden.

"The Japanese Garden of Interlaken is close to the old monastery and castle (with its castle church) and the Catholic church. Dubbed the Garden of Friendship, the garden is a gift from Interlaken’s Japanese twin city of Ōtsu.

The Japanese Garden goes by many names. It is sometimes called the Japanese Garden while at other times it is called the Garden of Friendship. This garden was a gift from Interlaken's twin city of Otsu, Japan.

Built in 1995, Japanese Garden was the first Japanese garden in the city. The garden includes a Shinji pond and a pavilion. It is designed to remind the people of Interlaken of the environment of Lake Biwa, near Otsu. The garden features cranes, turtles, numerous trees and a memorial plaque.

The location of Japanese Garden is in a unique area in the center of the city with a view of the Alps looming over a traditional Japanese pagoda.

With its pond and pavilion, the Japanese Garden of Interlaken reflects the landscape in which it stands. Located next to the Hotel Interlaken, the garden symbolizes the roaring waterfalls and deep ravines of the Bernese Oberland; the Shinji pond represents Lake Brienz and Lake Thun. As you walk through the garden, a wealth of detail emerges: every element has special meaning and symbolism according to the Japanese tradition."

Scottsdale is a Sister City to Interlaken

Hydroelectric plants. So many different flower boxes hang along the railings.

The yellow sign is the symbol of Unterseen while the white sign is the symbol of Interlaken. The boundary line between the two is the middle of the river.

We stopped at Migros to do a little shopping. I wanted the vanilla rhubarb while Michael chose raspberry, lemon, and pineapple yoghurt.

So nice to have a larger refrigerator. Since it started raining while we were walking, we decided to have dinner back at the house.

The weather cleared as we finished dinner. The temperature and humidity level dropped dramatically after the rain, too.

Until tomorrow.

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