Tuesday, June 14, 2011
Switzerland - Alpabfahrt
Alpabfahrt or Almabtrieb in Switzerland.
Sent by Nicole, a postcrosser from Switzerland.
This is from Wikipedia : The Almabtrieb (German language literally: drive from the mountain pasture) is an annual event in the alpine regions in Europe, referring to a cow train in autumn.
During summer, all over the alpine regions cow herds feed on alpine pastures high up in the mountains (a practice known as yaylag pastoralism). In numbers, these amount to about 500,000 cows in Austria, and 50,000 in Germany.
In autumn, these herds are led to their stables down in the valley, in the Almabtrieb cow train. In case there were no accidents during the summer, in many areas the cows are decorated elaborately, and the cow train is celebrated with music and dance events in the towns and villages.
In many places this alpine custom of Almabtrieb has nowadays evolved into a major tourist attraction, focusing on the marketing of local products and alcoholic beverages.
Traditionally, cow herders bring their cows from the Alps into Allgäu and nearby areas each fall in mid-September. In Allgäu, September 18 typically "marks the official start of the Almabtrieb, a day celebrated with a festival ...."Hirtenkäse, or "herder's cheese" is the distinctive cow's milk cheese made in the Allgäu area of Southern Germany, from cows that have participated in the Almabtrieb.
In spring, the herds are once more led to the alpine pastures, in the Almauftrieb, which is however not celebrated.