National Geographic : 1969 Jul
walden, folk tunes from Bern, polkas from Vaud, and a fife-and-drum march from Valais. No matter that most of the "peasant girls" and "herds men" were really typists and teachers, chemists or bank tellers-even the city Swiss are never far from the land. Throughout his life a Swiss remains a citizen of the com munity of his ancestors. Nation's Mightiest Stone-tossers Compete After the parade I borrowed a motorbike from Herr Frei's daughter Annalise, to beat the milling crowds to the ruins of Unspunnen Castle just outside town. The high light of the festival is the Steinstossen, the throwing of the Unspunnen stone, a tradition since the festival was first held in 1805. The round glacial boulder weighs 184 pounds - I could barely roll it-but 25 husky contestants from all over Switzerland lined up for a chance to see who could heave it the farthest (pages 70-71). The crowd held its breath when champion Karl Reich lin from Beatenberg stepped up to the stone. He spat on his hands and easily scooped it chest high, then jerked it arm's length above his head. His face reddened under the strain as he rocked forward three steps to the foul line. "Aauughhhh!" he exploded, launching the stone into a short arc. It landed with a thud in the soft meadow. Com mitteemen rushed out with their tapes. They announced a new record: 3.02 meters-9 feet 10.9 inches. The music and dancing lasted well into the night; AND KODACHROME BY THOMASJ, ABERCROMBIE N.G .S . Money speaks in strident tones during trading at Ziurich's stock exchange, where bankers serve as brokers. Swiss financiers have often been called "the gnomes of Ziurich" because of their behind-the-scenes influence on international affairs. They are frequently credited with helping to prop the shaky curren cies of other nations. Glittering lode: Swiss 20-franc gold coins spill from a bag in a Ziirich bank. Because the value of their gold content far exceeds their face value of $4.60, they are no longer in general circulation.