Monday, September 14, 2009

Melser Alpfahrt '09

Friday night, my aunt and uncle returned from their wanderings in Italy and crashed. We didn't plan anything too strenuous for the weekend and I thought a local Swiss culture outing would be fun. An Alpfahrt.

No, one isn't required to say "excuse me" after using such a word.

In the mountain regions of Switzerland, farmers graze their dairy cows/goats in high mountain pastures during the summer and keep them in barns/valley pastures during the winter. In late Spring comes the 'alpaufzug' when the farmers place bells on the animals and take them from the lower pastures up to the high pastures. Come Fall, they round them all up and bring them down again during the 'alpfahrt.'

There is a bit of ceremony attached to this transportation process. The families who's herds are 'coming home' prepare floral arrangements - for the cows, the herders are dressed in traditional shirts, the 'big' bells come out and food and drink are plenty for the on-lookers.

So off to Mels we went. Bart and the girls stayed home as 1) the girls and he had homework/work to do, 2) they have been before and 3) Kendra didn't want to go because of the noise.

We had some tasty Brats/drink while sitting on the curb waiting for things to start. It did start a little slower than my previous experience. But I suppose one can't predict how fast a cow can get dressed and start moving down the mountain, can one?

This pretty lady started off the parade. Quite the statuesque headpiece.
These bells can be as big as their heads.
Lovely and colorful in the colors and crest of Mels.
So, why is it that we wear these ridiculous things anyway? I just want to head to the barn and put my hooves up.
On her way to church?
Sweetest little baby.
And the winner is: Miss Blondie from Mels.
Although the dairy cows are the main focus, one cannot forget the source of yummy, yes Mom, yummy Goat Cheese!

I've been wondering where the Swiss sense of humor was lately and apparently, it was located in the hills and brought to town. Thank Goodness!
Let's not forget the working partner......
of the People:

I really need to get Bart a pair of these. I'm actually worried as I think we may have agreed to dress for Oktoberfest (business table). How do I get out of that one?
G & L - It was great showing you a bit more of Switzerland (Luzern was yesterday). Wishing you a safe flight home, Thank You for taking part of your vacation time to spend with us and see you again, live and in person, next Summer.

1 comment:

Sarah said...

Moriah loved the pictures in this post. :) She giggled and pointed and said, "I want to see them again, mom," when we were finished.