Thursday, August 30, 2007

Schwing and Alper Fest in Aarau

This weekend we attended the Schwing (wrestling) and Alper Fest in a nearby town called Aarau. The festival features Swiss wrestling, but also has events for stone throwing and baseball. The wrestling is very interesting – a cross between Sumo wrestling and your regular collegiate wrestling. The match takes place in a circle about 30 feet wide filled with saw dust. Competitors wear special shorts that make it easier to pick up the other guy and throw him to the ground. The objective is to pin the opponent’s shoulders to the ground, which each competitor is hoping to accomplish with a lucky throw at the very start of the match.

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Tradition requires that the winner brush the saw dust off the loser’s back. There are no weight classes so the bigger guys tend to outperform the smaller guys. But then again the smallest guy out there was probably 250lbs, so there really are not any small guys. JP made the local news by Swiss wrestling one of his pint sized neighbors in a staged photo for a reporter. We also saw some of the stone throwing, which was also very interesting. There were 20kg, 40kg, and 80kg stone categories (the weight in lbs is approximately double), with a different throwing style for each category. For example, the 20kg category requires running with the stone for about 20 feet before throwing it (with one hand) while the 40kg category requires standing in place and throwing it, also with one hand. The 80kg category is really incredible. These guys pick up the stone above their heads and run with it for about 10 feet before they toss it. It is really a feat of balance and strength. Here is a link to the official website to learn more: http://de.aarau2007.ch/HOME/tabid/499/Default.aspx

JP and Mea wrestling (photo from swiss-image.ch


Throwing the stone

the winner brush the saw dust off the loser’s back

The Real KING of wrestling!


We also went swimming at the lake were Jim practiced some jumps.



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Intelaken y Thun

El segundo fin de semana de Agosto nos quedamos en casa para que Jim se recuperara de un virus raro que lo tuvo en cama casi una semana. Una vez recuperado, el tercer fin de semana nos fuimos a visitar dos lugares en el centro de Suiza: Interlaken (se traduce "entre lagos") y Thun. Para llegar alla, tomamos el 'Golden Pass Train', famoso por los paisajes que se aprecian en la ruta. Aqui hay algunas fotos.





Ah! JP y Syd se subieron a burros para un paseo por el parque (primera vez!)

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Saturday, August 18, 2007

Dia Nacional de Suiza y Stoos













El 1ro de Agosto se celebra el Dia Nacional Suizo (es como el dia de la independencia). Las principales caracteristicas de la celebracion son reuniones familiares, banderas Suizas por todos lados y 3-4 horas de fuegos artificiales en todo el pais. Estos fuegos/cuetes son quemados por "TODOS" asi que desde las 9 PM hasta casi la 1 AM el ruido fue para dejarnos sordos. El dia festivo cayo en miercoles asi que Jim decidio trabajar y guardar el dia libre para otra ocacion.
Ese fin de semana fuimos de paseo a Stoos, una montana situada en el centro de Suiza, en el valle de la navaja Suiza (http://flash.swissknifevalley.ch/). Valio la pena subir en tren diagonal tomar dos "gondolas" a la punta de la montana, donde se pueden apreciar 5 lagos y muchas puntas de montanas, y por supuesto en la subida, no faltaron las vacas con sus campanas.