17 October 2009

Decorated cows

I don't have time now to look up the details of this tradition. Here's the caption from Boston.com's The Big Picture:
Decorated cows walk along a street in Schwaz, about 15km (10 miles) east of Innsbruck, Austria on September 25, 2009. At the end of the summer season, farmers move their herds down from the Alps to the valley into winter pastures. (REUTERS/ Dominic Ebenbichler)

1 comment:

  1. It is the tradition of bringing the cows and goats down from the inhospitable (in winter) mountain pastures used in the summer. It is common in Austria, Southern Germany, and Switzerland. In Switzerland the festivals for bringing the cows down in the fall is Alpabzug (literally alpine depart) in other areas they use the French term Désalpe and in Germany I believe it is called Almabtrieb (cattle drive) or Alpabfahrt (literally alpine depart). Here is another article about it but I am not familiar with the term they use.

    Here is a good article about traditional dairy culture in Switzerland (it is still very strong in many parts). I just spent three weeks on my honeymoon in Switzerland and a lot of it was hiking and backpacking in the Bernese Oberland and I can attest to the fact that these alps (the little farms high in the mountains no the capital A Alps) are in the most impressively high and steep locations with only trail access, no roads, in many cases.

    If you want to get a taste of this traditional farm life you can stay at a "Schlaff im Stroh" (literally Sleep in Straw). Where you can stay at a traditional farm in the hay loft (cleaned up and not really a working loft in most cases). A lot of them are up in the mountains a bit too.


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