My mom was a little concerned with the "droppings" they left in the middle of the road b/c people didn't seem to care if they stepped in it. Little did she know that this sheep poop was nothing! You'll see what I mean in a second:).
About 10 minutes later we started to hear lots of cow bell and the parade began! How cool is this!
Here is a video:
So after the parade of cows was over (at least we thought it was over) we saw most of the crowd turn around and run towards this water fountain in the center of town - so hey since we didn't know what was going on we all followed! Boy was this a good/bad thing:) The cows continued their parade through the little town of Mels and then once they get to the water fountain they all started drinking out of it. Hundreds of cows in this one little area! Then the massive chaos began!
We met a nice Swiss gentleman waiting for the bus home and he gave us the history and run down of the Alpabfahrt - so here it is (of course he could have been making it up and we wouldn't know the difference:)):
During the spring the cow farmers bring some of their cows to Mels and then the Alp herders/farmers come take them up into the alps (this is not a big production with the headdresses and everything). During this time the Alp herders keep the cows to make Alp cheese and stuff (we aren't 100% sure about the business relationship here so if anyone knows please tell us - Nathan was VERY concerned about the money aspect:)). Then when it starts to get cold (mid September) the Alp herder's bring the cows back down the mountain and there are big festivals and the cows get "dressed up". The cows and herders walk for about 5 hours out of the alps to reach the town of Mels. We were told that 5 different sets of cows would parade through the town - (I think it is b/c they were from 5 different alp communities?). Then when the cows get into town they parade through and then stop at the water fountain where the cow farmers come get their cows. That explains why we saw several people with only two or three cows leaving the town center - duh! Such a cute Swiss tradition - we loved it!
While we were waiting for the bus a farmer came by us with his two cows and I asked to take a picture since we didn't get a good one in town (too much chaos!). After they left we all started laughing b/c this is what the cows in the field across from us looked like as the farmer and his cows were walking by! Too funny!
Here are the rest of the pics!