My mom has been visiting. We wanted her to see as much Swissness as possible during her visit so we took her to Brig to see the Cow Festival.* It was perfect. I’m sure that if we brainstormed, we could fit a few more Swiss clichés into the day, but they hit all the big ones.
|It was interesting to watch them try to move something so big that did not want to move.|
We arrived in Brig a bit early and got to see the cows arriving. They may walk down from alpine pastures, but they take trailers to the parade. The cows are a special kind of Swiss cow that is raised almost exclusively in the Valais region, Herens. These cows are known for being particularly aggressive. In the spring, this area has cow fighting contests. Here’s a YouTube clip for inquiring minds.
|Do I look like I want to wear a flower hat?|
|I’m in love. Again. We had a connection.|
|My favorite part of the parade|
This is the capital of raclette. When in Rome…
|What’s a parade without someone handing out samples of local wine?|
|They also baptise the crowd with wine. Yes, they really do. Check out the guy in the plaid shirt’s face.|
|Alphorns! They sounded great echoing through the valley.|
|They handed out the apples decorating this float to the crowd. They did not hand out the cauliflower.|
|I’m not sure if this is traditionally Swiss.|
|Carved woods signs announcing the top cows = uber Swiss|
|Note the ribbons. That cow is all done up for a night on the town.|
Mountain Reine National translates to National Mountain Queen. She is the prize cow so to speak. Do you think she won the smack down?
|Sometimes, the cows got really excited about hitting the grass at the end of the parade.|
|They were lined up according to number and set about eating (and, ahem, answering nature’s call).|
|Another cute parade participant|
|Sorry I didn’t get any decent pictures of the goats. They were unruly to say the least.|
|Other parade participants. It said “Heidi” across the back of the cart!
|From a Swiss travel brochure, you’ve got to love it!|
Cows graze in the high altitudes all summer. Occasionally, they find themselves in trouble. Click on these YouTube links to see what happens when they do:
Christened yesterday “Fors-ver-der-Lueg”. This young bull is the pride of breeder Kaltacker (Bern), Hans Bichsel. It must be said that the animal has been chosen to be delivered to winner 2013 edition of the National Swiss Wrestling Festival (aka Schwingen) of struggle, which has has kicked off in Burgdorf.
To prove my point that the Swiss do a lot of dairy, I took photos of just some of the dairy in one grocery store. Mind you there is another one across the street. Enjoy!