... in the Hörnerdörfer
Beginning from the year 1000 AD on, cattle has been “summered” on the mountain pastures of the Allgäu (called “Alpen” in the Allgäu and in Switzerland, “Almen” in upper Bavaria and Austria).
In the 19th century, the estimation of the mountain pastures rose together with the significance of milk farming in the Allgäu. The cattle was and still is “sent on holidays” to the mountain pastures by the farmers in order to keep it healthy and hardy; moreover, the farmers are thus relieved during the haymaking in summer and do not have to additionally look after their cattle.
Today, however, the aspect of landscape conservation is in the foreground. The grazing on the mountain pastures keeps the open green areas intact and thus prevents a karstification and overgrowing of the Alpine meadows. A state-funded “culture landscape programme” financially supports Alpine agriculture to the benefit of the cultivation and preservation of our marvellous mountain scenery.
Today, mostly young cattle - and not “grown-up cows” - is to be encountered on the mountain pastures, many of which are to be found in the Hörnerdörfer area of Balderschwang, where seven of them run their own private dairy production, as do the Alpe Schattwald in the Rohrmoos valley and the Alpe Ornach above Bolsterlang. The mountain dairies produce mountain cheese, soft cheese and butter.
When hiking through the Allgäu mountain scenery, you will thus find many opportunities to make a stop in the mountain huts, managed between June and September, in order to once try fresh milk, buttermilk, decent snacks and cheese in various forms.
The rural evenings, summer-night-festivals, forest and costume events of the local historic societies and associations of the individual villages are “pure” Allgäu culture.
Get to know the local costumes with the typical “Edelweiss-suspenders” and listen to traditional yodelling and local music as well as string music. The brass bands of Fischen, Bolsterlang and Ofterschwang have a large repertoire and make rustic music on the occasion of the popular spa concerts.
Even the youngest practice the “Schuhplattln” in local costumes. It is important to know that all this is no “show”, but lived tradition – as is the Oberallgäu dialect which is not that easy to understand for most of the guests, according to the motto: “Mir händ a Tracht, a Museg, d’ Fehla und a Froid am Leabe”…("we have Tracht, good music, girls, and pure joy of living)
The Viehscheide (driving down the cattle from the summer mountain pastures) ring in autumn in the Allgäu.
Every year in September, the Alpine herdsmen terminate the approx. 100-day-long summer holidays of the cattle on the mountains. Proud mountain farmers drive the decorated calves will loud bell-ringing down to the valley where they are handed over to their owners on the “Scheidplatz” (place where the cattle is separated and individually divided up). The region’s first Viehscheid dates back to the turn of the century, and since then the animals have traditionally had flower garlands and large bells as a festive decoration which is bound to the cattle already one day before Viehscheid. Also the beautiful floral wreath which is worn by the leader of the herd as a symbol for an accident-free Alpine summer is made by willing hands from mountain flowers and fir branches. Thousands of visitors come to the Viehscheid every year, and a rustic frame programme with beer tent and live music is a must!
If you have any QUESTIONS on the holiday region of Allgäu or want to make a BOOKING by phone, just contact us.
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How to get there
The Allgäu can be reached quickly and easily