In an effort to slow things down in my hectic life, I’m going through some old photographs from my travels over the years. Almost all of them have a story behind them, or at least fond memories, and I’m in the mood to share.
Kicking off my travel memories entries is Switzerland. All the way back in 1999, I stayed in a tiny village called Wengen high up in the Alps. You can’t get there by car or train. Only funicular. Or on foot. Or hoof as the case may be…
On my first morning there, I got kicked out of bed by an unholy racket of bellowing cows, their clanging bells, and their hollering human escorts. A whole herd of these white and brown beasts ambled up the street right past my hotel.
Say what? What’s going on?
Turns out it was June 21, summer solstice. Every year on this date, the milk cows are shepherded from their winter stalls in the valley up into the high country to gorge themselves all summer long on some of the most delicious grass (if you’re a cow) and freshest glacier-fed streams to be found anywhere. The procession lasted for hours. An incredible sight that transported me back in time to an era where work was a great deal harder, but life was oh-so-much simpler.
The cows roam more or less free across the mountainsides. Gates and barriers are few and far between, and hiking in the Alps during the summer entails meeting cows. Most won’t really care about the people walking by. Some are curious and downright friendly. But all of them know how to strike a pose in their stunning pasture that’s worthy of a Swiss chocolate wrapper.