September 23 was the first official day of autumn. In Switzerland, autumn means many things – folk festivals, harvest, morning mists, pumpkin soup, wild game and spaetzle in the restaurants, and socially acceptable fondue-eating (eating fondue prior to autumn is for tourists and people who are too crass to know better – according to the Coop cheese counter guy who refused to put some fondue cheese together for me on a summer day).
The golden period of time between now and the last week or two of October also means HIKING. I am determined this year to make use of every (reasonably good-weather) weekend for this purpose and am off to a good start with yesterday’s trip to Braunwald.
Braunwald is an alpine village and the base-point for a vast outdoor sport paradise in Kanton Glarus – about an hour’s drive from here. Had I known how beautiful this whole area was I would have lobbied to live there in the centre of it all. A little late for that, but its my new favourite. I could go on about the dramatic landscape, easy to comprehend (for me) dialect, pretty victorian main city and super-good alpine cheese I had for lunch but I will post some pictures instead.
Oh – and the highlight of the day – we were in a traffic jam on the Kanton’s main road due to the yearly procession of cows coming down for the winter from the high alpine pastures (Alpabzug or Alpabfahrt). The prima donna cows lead the procession with garlands and bonnets of flowers and bells the size of swiss refrigerators, with the babies and badly behaved black-sheep cows bringing up the rear. Somehow, I find these old traditions here incredibly moving – bringing me to tears. My family had a good laugh at my expense but I know they were fascinated too by the decorated beauties plodding by, two by two.
Sigh, Switzerland in Autumn.
Happy Sunday – HD