Alpabzug – Bringing the Cows Home

The Alpabzug, also known as the Alpabfahrt, takes place each year in Alpine regions just at the beginning of the Autumn season. On September 16th, we went to the one in Urnäsch, which is in North-eastern Switzerland (about an hour drive from Zürich, or 2 hours when you’re navigating through the town with many road blocks). The animals and farmers come down the mountains and are greeted by a celebration in the village. The procession of children, farmers, goats, cows and bulls starts early in the morning, and they reach the towns between 6 am and 1 pm. We’ve missed this event in previous years, so it was the first time Alex and I got to see this take place, and what a fun experience it was!

The market area

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I was surprised as to how people went to this event, and in between processions, there was a pig race, several vendors selling homemade jams & jellies, flavored syrups, knitted clothing, framed pictures of the town, just to name a few items. We went with friends, and the children loved all of the excitement, but were a bit afraid of the big cows and bulls (very understandable when you think how gigantic they appear from a little one’s perspective)!

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Processions

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The little man with a mullet skeptically watching
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When I saw the first procession, all I could think it was exactly how I had imagined it, and that usually never happens! The traditional outfits, precisely the same as in the Appenzell advertisements was just how I pictured them to be dressed, and it was funny to think that this is how some people think Switzerland is on an every day basis.

These were the cute pigs that were in the races. The blue lines on their backs were so they could be easily identified during the races.

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The sole mission of Serafina and Alex was to bring as much hay to the pigs as they possibly could, without getting touched by the pig’s snout.

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Here they were taking a turn at the pigs race themselves! Both had such big smiles on their faces!

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2 thoughts on “Alpabzug – Bringing the Cows Home

  1. Patty McHugh

    That looks like a really cool event to attend! I am surprised at how large the ( bells? ) are, that the cows/ bulls are wearing! It doesn’t look very comfortable to me. Maybe the animals don’t mind. Thank you for sharing the traditional cultures they still keep alive, in Switzerland! I think it is wonderful for them to keep past history repeated! Such a fun event!
    Love seeing the enjoyment the two kids have, when they are together! They are so sweet with one another!
    Love,
    Mom

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