Do you like decorated cows, Saint Bernard dogs, alphorns, cheeses, caramel...etc? Yes...duh!
This weekend, a group of about ten of us decided to head to a small village in the Jura mountains, called Saint-Cergue, where something called Désalpe is held.
Désalpe is a annually celebrated folkloric event held in the alpine regions of Switzerland. It signifies the transition from summer to autumn; during the summer cows graze in higher alpine regions and when the seasons transition, they have to descend back to a lower elevation - hence the name 'Désalpe.' The name itself means driven from the mountain pasture. And, the Swiss celebrate this descent with music, decorations and artisan markets.
Basically the festival is a combination of all of the Swiss stereotypes that have been dancing in my head since I arrived in this beautiful country.
After leaving Geneva around 09h00 and two trains and a bus later, we arrived in the quaint village of Saint-Cergue. Besides the name of the festival and some quick research, most of us did not know what Désalpe would entail. But, I can safely say it was one of the most enjoyable days that I have had. What couldn't be better than great company, cows, cheese, and caramel? The answer, NOT much!
We were in the city centre for less than half an hour, when we a herd of cattle came rushing through the streets - it was exhilarating! The sound of festival announcements in French, the ski club selling coffee, the unforgettable sound of the cattle hurrying with ginormous bells affixed their necks, and the crisp mountain air made the whole experience seem like a movie.
At times we were so close to the cows that we would have to push back against the people behind us, so that we wouldn't get run over!
About once every twenty minutes for two hours, a herd of cattle would grace the streets, but in those twenty minutes of waiting we were not void of entertainment. Every minute there seemed to be another aspect of Switzerland exhibited on the streets of St. Cergue. From herds of sheep running through the street to displays of traditional Swiss folk dancing and music, I was so over stimulated that I was almost giddy from pure excitement and happiness.
Above are a small portion (because keeping track of ten people was a bit challenging) of the amazingly beautiful people that I had the pleasure of meeting! And, below is of course a photo of us after an insanely delicious lunch, filled with Raclette and Fondue! Perfect for a chilly day!
After we had finished eating and as we were planning our return back to Geneva, a couple of us decided to run up the hill that was just behind where we were sitting for lunch.
I felt like a little kid, and it was amazing!