© 2011 Aaron

Cows Come Down at Alpabfahrts-Fest

There’s a local tradition in parts of Switzerland, including Flums, called Alpabzüge or Alpabfahrts. This is the time of the year, as the seasons begin to change, that cows are brought down from high pastures. First the cows are cleaned and dressed with a wide assortment of flowers, pine boughs, and other decorations. They are then paraded down the side of the mountain and through the village. In some areas, cheese is also brought down for sale.

Flumserberg was a great place to experience the festival. We arrived in the city via train with our friends, the Sahrs and Jon Medin, then walked from the Bahnhof to the Post Office where Kim asked for some information. She discovered where the cows would roam and where the party was. We headed over to Lindenplatz, the location of the festival. We were early enough to see the big tent and cheese vendors setting up. As it was early, we decided to walk up and out of town to where the cows would come down from the mountain. We found a perfect spot with a bench overlooking the road.

Around 12:15 we heard the bells and began to see the first cows, tended by their farmers, coming down. We followed them into town, had lunch and some drinks and dessert, then headed home. A relaxing, interesting day together. Very memorable.

Our photos and video will provide you with an overdose of finely dressed cows. You’ll also see some interesting uses of watering cans, including a recent SBB commercial (SBB is the transit bureau). Kim wanted to capture this for our friend, Kelly Brand, who is always creative in their garden!





  1. Jamison
    Posted September 14, 2011 at 5:46 pm | #

    Nice. Reminds me of the cattle drives we become a part of in Montana when the ranchers on horseback drive the cattle right down the road. They move them from the mountains where they have grazing rights to the ranches and stockyards in the low country for winter. Obviously they lack the extravagant decor these adorn. Unless mud and flies are considered accoutrements?

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