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  • Deborah Kade

Alpabzug

Updated: Sep 22, 2019

September 21, 2019


The return of cattle, Alpabzug, is one of the best known, traditional Alpine herdsman's festivals. After four summer months are spent in the mountains, the colorfully decorated cattle return to the valley for the winter months.


Michael learned these cows came from the Schilthorn mountain area. The procession of cows starts at the Interlaken West train station. In Matten, the cows were first washed. The bells were put on next; followed by the floral headpieces. This is no easy task. The parade went down Seestrasse to the farmer's field a few miles away. Once there, a little festival was held.





The event celebrates a tradition, that was at one point somewhat forgotten. It is an act of recognition to the herdsmen for their untiring work during the summer.


It is always a game of chicken. Oh, I always move first!


Yes, that cow is that close to me. I can touch it.

They have a whole road to walk down. But......no, they have to walk directly toward me.





After the cows pass by, some people join the parade and go to the farmer's field for a little celebration. The street sweeper also comes by to clean the street. Did you think they wouldn't clean the street?


He presented her with a wild flower. I wonder if he asked her for a date, too?








The cleaning and decorating of the animals is work-intensive. The work is all the better rewarded if a cheering audience awaits the return of cattle in the village. There were people lining the street long before the cows arrived.


Now, those are long eye lashes!







Is she smelling her or licking her? Check out the eyes.



The cattle were beautifully decorated with fresh flowers and greens. Some communities use paper flowers, though.


She kept flicking that tail!




She seemed to say, "Don't bother me! I'm drinking as much water as I want!"






The Swiss flag in flowers



The farmers sold cheese, honey, fruits, vegetables, meat, etc. You could buy raclette, brots, etc. and enjoy it while listening to the music.


This is less than half the crowd. People also sat in the barn.


Of course, you need music.


I know the cows would love to rub against this and try to get those headdresses off.


As we were leaving the festival, we spotted another Alpabzug. This one was held on a road the runs parallel to the main road. I had to use my telephoto lens.







This Alpabzug was finished when the cows reached the farmer's field. No festival. I wonder why they don't combine the two? Something for me to find out at the information center.


This was the view walking back to the Guest House. The Eiger is to the left and the Mönch to the right. Gorgeous day!!!!!!!!


We went to Città Vecchia for dinner.


View from our table.


We had piping hot bread from the oven with our salad and soup.

Another fun day comes to a close!!!!!!!!

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