Sunday, September 26, 2010

Sometimes the cows DO come home!

Sometimes the cows DO come home! We were very fortunate in the timing of our trip to Reidenberg, Austria. We were able to witness the traditional cow homecoming celebration (and I wish I remembered the Germany for that!).

But I get ahead of myself. We planned a 5 day trip to Austria in advance (okay, Conni planned it for us and we were very grateful). Emily, Conni, and I took the train south to Kuftstein, Austria, hopped a nausea-inducing bus for Landl, and walked 6km up the mountain from there to Reidenberg. We stayed at the Gasthaus Wastler, a small guesthouse and restaurant in this little village that Conni's family has been visiting for years.

Kufstein train station with castle above.

Landl and the sign to the Gasthaus Wastler where we would be staying... after we hiked 6km up the hill.

There were a lot of Christian icons on the roads. They didn't seem like descansos, but perhaps they were.

And I will admit right now that hiking in the Austrian Alps and staying at this guesthouse were one of the best parts of the trip to Europe for me. It was really fantastic. (I tried to move this photo down and Blogger isn't working well today, sorry.)

When Conni expressed some concern about the tennis shoes we brought to hike in in Austria, trails like this might have been what she was thinking of!

Our first day there we hiked to Ackernalm where there was a place that made cheese and buttermilk. I tried the buttermilk--it was really good. I couldn't put away a whole pint like however. The sign by this cow trough says (I believe), Park at your own risk. Risks, I suppose, include the unending cow poop, the cows propensity to rub their faces on things, and their general friendliness which you might not like extended to your vehicle.

We were so fortunate to see the the cow homecoming celebration. We hiked up the road and met the cows coming down. You could hear them for a long time as they had these huge bells on them. The traditional dress was wonderful. The woman in this photo took care of the cows up on the mountain all summer with her young daughter. As we were standing by the road watching them pass, she offered us all slugs of schnaps--homemade of course. THAT was strong stuff.

The cows are almost home.

There was some fantastic traditional dancing and a lot of yodeling--the more schnaps disappeared, the more yodeling there was.

The last day there we hiked to Buchackeralm and had this view of the alps and the valley below.

Austria was fantastic, and I only saw a little bit of it. I hope to go back some day to see more of those mountains!

1 comment:

  1. I love it! Your cows looked lovely. We saw this in Switzerland last year, and I wrote about it on my travel blog at

    In Germany I think it's called Viehscheid and in Switzerland Chasteilet Justistal. While the cows are in the mountains, their herders make cheese from all the milk, and when the cows come home, the cheese has to be shared out among the various owners of the cows.


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