Well, Alptag is upon us yet again and our sleepy village of Schwarzenberg in the Austrian Alps has burst in to life with the wonderful sounds of cowbells – hundreds of ’em!
A fine Bregenzerwald tradition, Alptag is the day when the cows come down from their summer season in the Alps and return to graze on lower pastures before winter sets in. Dressed in their finest, the cows all wear huge bells (some costing hundreds of Euros) and floral headpieces as they parade through the village in a deafening but beautiful display of nature.
Some of these cows (and their crew of farmers and assistants) walk a good eight hours before reaching their home farm, and while they are undoubtedly exhausted once they reach the village of Schwarzenberg (their last stop), you can almost see the pride in their stance as they make their way through the crowds.
The weather was on the cows side today (wet and cool), but the crowds of locals and international travellers still turned out in their hundreds to watch this annual Austrian spectacle.
Julie Andrews would be proud today, the hills really are alive with the sound of music!