In the Spanish city of Pamplona, you have the running of the bulls. In the spring and fall throughout the country of Switzerland, you have one of the more interesting spectacles that might define the essence of Switzerland. I don’t know the actual German translation of when the cows are taken up into the mountains in spring, or brought down from the mountains in fall, but I call it, “The trotting of the cows.”
A simple description of the trotting of the cows is that all the local farmers in a region get together and walk their cows to one common meeting place in a town near where they live. I am guessing it is part social, part camaraderie, and part cultural. One of the more melodic and interesting sounds to hear in your life is a pasture full of Swiss cows with bells in summer.
I think they put on larger bells for the procession, as the auditory sound levels are quite high, and you can hear each farmer coming up various paths through the town to get to the meeting place, long before you see them.
If anyone is interested in seeing more images, just email me. While the Swiss are known for banks, watches, fondue, cheese and chocolate, I think witnessing the trotting of the cows truly has been the most memorable “Swiss” moment I have experienced.
While not running from bulls in Pamplona, standing around and watching the trotting of the cows is far safer to witness and participate in.