Team Building Hiking Trip and the Alp Aufzug

A month or so ago (I’m late as usual to posting events) my husband went on a Team Building hiking trip thing. His team took a train to bus to a cable car up a mountain, and then hiked back down the mountain, going down on scooters partway, and stopping for the occasional beer. The day ended with dinner together. It was an all-day thing, and even though he was pretty tired at the end, my husband had a blast.

On their way up the mountain, though, Heath encountered a really special parade – one I’d hoped to see during my time in Switzerland, but have thus far missed: the parade of cows from the high pasture to the low pasture in the fall (and vice-versa in the spring), called Alp Aufzug. This is a very integral part of Swiss rural culture. Lots of tourists and Swiss citizens flock to small alpine towns to view the parades. There’s often a specific traditional order and custom to the parades. The one that Heath saw started with children leading goats, and then the adult men in their bright vests leading cows wearing huge bells. And at the end was a man in brown. I’ve seen photographs of other parades where women wear traditional costumes including a fantastic headdress that looks like it belongs in the movie Dune and men blowing those huge Alpine horns at the end of the day. I missed it this year, but I’m determined to go to one of these parades next year.

My husband got some absolutely fantastic photos of the event:

children in traditional Swiss costume leading the Alp Aufzug

Cheese cart at the end of the parade.

Heath’s coworkers were a little boggled by his eagerness to scramble out of the bus (which had to pull to the side of the road) to take pictures of cows (twice! there were two parades that day!). But they just teased him over beers later. Here’s a few shots of his hike.

View of the steep hiking trail.

Heath on a mountaintop

Goats on the mountaintop!

Swiss cowbells in a pub

Scooters that they rented to go down part of the mountain.

Heath and his best bud Ayse

More pictures of Heath’s hike with his coworkers can be found here.

A great article on the Alp Aufzug by Rick Steves can be found here.

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