until the cows come home…

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i wake up early today, not just because of the usual 5:00 bell ringing from the monastary’s church tower, today the whole valley around einsiedeln is just drowning in the sound of cow bells and sheep bells — it’s _alpabtrieb!_ every year in the may–june time frame the local farmers bring their stocks, mostly cows and the occasional sheep herd, from the valley floor up to the _alps_ where they stay for the summer. from the beginning of september until mid-september, end of september we then have _alpabtrieb_ when the whole process is reversed.

einsiedeln being a little town[^1] with tourist traffic all year round it wouldn’t do to have all the farmers bring down their stock all at once, so, the whole business proceeds in stages according to a pre-determined schedule over the course of two weeks. today we seem to have the cows from our end of valley descending on us 🙂

[^1]: actually, it’s not entirely clear whether einsiedeln is still a village or already a town — with over 8000 inhabitants, a proper railway station, a monastery and lots of shops, the gnawing suspicion has been voiced that one is now longer _das dorf_ but instead a town…

oh, and that picture was not taken today but rather two years ago at the goldinger tal, they’ve homecoming cows there as well.