After a rough week of rain and cold (yes even snow on the mountain tops) I got out for an early run ( week 8 of my couch to 5k program!) and the family prepared a picnic and readied for a day of fun which started with the village Alpabzug.
Like all events in Switzerland, festivities kick off with the Alp-horn performance. I did not capture it on film but about half way through the song our bus pulled up behind the performers and needed to pass by. This was an unusual moment of bad planning on the part of the organizers, as everyone knows that you can set your watch by the reliability of Swiss transportation. The performance was scheduled at the same moment as the bus route and I watched the dilemma unfold…. the sacred alp horn v/s the sacred Pünktlichkeit (punctuality) ?! In the end the bus pulled up on the sidewalk, everyone moved out of the way and it passed by the musicians whilst they continued to play in the middle of the street. It was a decent compromise, after all the bus is never late!
This is the day when after 4 months summering in the Alps the cows are marched down to the winter barns and pastures. For our small village it’s a day to celebrate the local farmers. It reminded me of a glorified 4H community day. There were rooms of the town hall that had family farm exhibits, and a local artist that was showing a beautiful collection of what else but cow paintings?!
Tables were set up in the center of town at the gemiende (town hall) and the school yard (they are across a small street from one another. The bratwurst and melted cheese started to sizzle at about 11:00 and by 1:00 when the cows arrived; just about everyone in the village had come for some sausage and beer.
The hike down the mountain takes (I hear) about 6 hours depending on which mountain pastures they summer in. The cows are decorated with flowers and herded on foot through the middle of town for all the people to cheer and take photos, the farmers are rewarded with glasses of glutwein (a warm spiced wine) and appear to enjoy their moment of notoriety.
We met several expat families who traveled from hours away to see our local cows~ they are awfully pretty.