30 September 2007

An Alpine Folklore

An excerpt from our recent holiday....

We stepped off the train at Wengen to click some pictures of this scenic village. Out of nowhere, buttoning up his coat, a man in traditional costume made a dash through the crowds of curious tourists and vanished. As the train chugged off into the mountains, the people dispersed. The calm, charming village nestled in nature's lap, the breath-taking landscape and the sounds of lilting melody....was it all a dream? Some one was playing a pleasant instrument we couldn't identify.....where was this beautiful music coming from? We looked and looked and looked, till we saw them.......

An alphorn is a handcrafted, long, flaring spruce tube with a mouthpiece. It measures about 8 to 12 feet in length. It does not have any valves, holes or keys and hence gives pure, soft, clear and resonant music. It is used to call out to the cows.

There was more music now accompanying the alphorn...... cowbells! The sounds grew louder but there was not a cow in sight. Then they marched in.....

Was that a wedding procession? Were they going to church? Like all curious on-lookers, we followed them........as they walked clanging the bells by knocking their knees against them in perfect tandem.

This was a "Cheese Festival". According to a Swiss folklore, as one of them kindly explained to me, at the end of summer the cows return from the high pastures of the Alps bringing the cheese with them. This home coming is celebrated by playing the alphorn and cowbells. The procession ended at this tent where there was more music, fun and games, and food, ofcourse for all the village folk who had gathered there!





Would you like to try.......




Swiss Rosti








or Raclette










or bacon










or pastries, cakes and croissants





or pickles, preserves and jams, flower flavoured sugars



and herb and berry honeys and liqueurs


or say "cheese"?






40 comments:

Sumitha said...

Hi Jyothsna!So you enjoyed your stay in the land of the edelweiss!

Lovely pictures you have got.You are very lucky to happen to see these local festivals and celebrations.Really I would say you got the true flavour of Switz in your trip,not just of the wonderful landscape but also of its people.Listening to the alphorn,cow bells what more of an experience can you ask for!

Asha said...

Beautiful pics! That country is a paradise on Earth. We went to Edam to look at the real cheese too and saw the biggest wooden clog!:))
Enjoyed all the photos J, thanks for posting.

Sig said...

Wow beatiful pics Jyo... Everyone is vacationing these days... I am soo jealous...

Susan said...

Did you enjoy the change in climate, Jyothsna? Looks like you got a nice taste of touring among the locals rather than the typical places at every travel locale. Oh, the Western Europeans and their clanging cow bells!

bee said...

love the glimpse you gave us of switzerland, jyotsna. good to see you back.

sra said...

That's right, go ahead and make us jealous! I went as a kid, would love to go back, enjoyed the pix, Jyo! Send me some travel vibes, please!

Sia said...

aha!!! u r back from ur trip... r u gonna post other pics of other places u have visited there? heaven on earth rt????
lucky girl, u got to see the local cheese festivals too:) i would say cherry on cake;)

Cynthia said...

Jyothsna, what an absolutely exerpt this was! Thanks so muc for sharing it with us.

Mishmash ! said...

WOW! you got the real swiss flavour...enjoying a place through its local flavour is the kinda vacation I prefer :)

And hey, thanks for checking on me...not busy , just took a backseat ;P

shn

Nags said...

such lovely pics. sigh.. wish i could visit these places too..

Shilpa said...

hey girl, looks like you're enjoying yourself! heh heh, where were the cows? :) oh, i definitely love raclette, and in fact, had some at a friend's house on saturday! yum yum!

Jyothsna said...

Sumitha - Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah! I had mailed you :) We really enjoyed every single day there! The alphorn did sound divine!

Asha - Oh, at times I thought I was in paradise, up above the clouds and everything!!!!

Sig - Sweetie, didn't you recently vacation with your parents? :)

Susan - Oh, we did the typical travel thing and also explored the countryside on foot....that was the best part.

Bee - Thanks, this was one experience we loved!

Sia - Had mailed you too. WE loved it. We were lucky to chance upon this cheese festival :) You want more? Maybe the next post :)

Cynthia - Thanks dear! hope to share more :)

Mishmash - Ya, very my kinda thing too.

Nags - Someday, surely you'll travel around the world too :)

Shilpa - Yes :) I didn't try raclette, but fondue - yes!

Kumudha said...

Wonderful pictures of Switzerland. The place is so serene and breathtaking!

Thanks for sharing!

Sharmi said...

you seem to have truly enjoyed. lovely pics of the procession. flower flavore sugar sound interesting. so many cheese varieties !! thanks for sharing.

Nanditha Prabhu said...

good shots ! an interesting vacation huh?

Jyothsna said...

Kumudha - Yes, it is serene and breath taking :)

Sharmi - I was intrigued by flower flavoured sugars as well! You can google to read more about it.

Nanditha - Yes, it was a good break from the routine!

Bharathy said...

Welcome back Moley!:)

Lovely shots,of the country side or Wengen(we were there in the month of may)...Swiss is a real paradise on earth...ah errr of course after our dear kerala..;)
the pics of whipping up Rosti(i have posted the recipe )is simply great..got soo inspired by the variety of cheeses available there..!!
Thanxs for sharing Jyo..

PS.I am reserving a few mallu recipes for you for JAN-RCI..:)

Latha Narasimhan said...

Wow! lovely pictures Jyothsna!:)) Thanks for shering info on cheese making and the lovely pictures!:))

Latha Narasimhan said...

I can't believe this! you know I just posted comment in your blog and Saw that you were posting in my blog!:)) what coincidence!:))

Daily Meals said...

Hi Jyothsna, great pictures...

Vijaya.

Sandeepa said...

Wow J what a beautiful vacation...Clanging Cow Bells and DDLJ :)

Namratha said...

Hi Jyothsna, your narration and the pictures are awesome! I'm sure you had a great time..the cheese pics made me want to grab some..hehe

TBC said...

Oh wow! Switzerland is beautiful & looks like you had a great time.
And Jyothsna, thanks so much for the good wishes. You are very sweet :-)

Puspha said...

So, u came to Switzerland. Just missed u. I live in Bern.

Sirisha Kilambi said...

wow....Beautiful locales dear......Breath-taking....No doubt its one of the most romantic places in the world......U must surely have had a cozy time :-)

Jyothsna said...

Bharathy - :)Thanks! And I can agree with you!

Latha N - Coincidence, yes :)

Vijaya - Thanks! And welcome here!

Sandeepa - It should be Dilwale Cheese Le Jayenge! :)))

Namratha - Go ahead and grab some :)

TBC - This bit was something we really enjoyed.

Pushpa - Welcome here :) Ah, we passed by Bern.

Sirisha - It is a beautiful place :)

iamnasra said...

as we are having at LIP (www.livinginpoetry.blogspot.com) honoring the voice of Mystic Rose..please join us and share your thoughts on Mystic Rose

Thanks ..Nasra

USHA said...

Hi Jyothsna,

Wonderful snaps...it was really very interesting to view the wedding processing allletc.,Thanks for sharing.

Jyothsna said...

Nasra - Thankyou, I've left a comment there.

Usha - It isn't a wedding.....:)

Susan said...

Oh, Jyothsna, thank you for sharing your adventures with us. The first two pics in particular are stunning! It looks as though you were able to experience true local culture. What a fabulous experience!

Seena said...

Hi Jyothsna,
You are in Sharjah? me in Dubai..I think Kitchen fairy had told me about a blogger from Shj, but you were on vacation that time..Loved the swiss pictures..
will come back...

Linda said...

Oh my goodness, Jyothsna! My dad went to high school in Switzerland, and he used to say he'd take us kids there someday. We never made it; now that I have seen these photos I am going to tease him about that ;) What a wonderful snapshot (no pun intended) of traditional Swiss festival! Thanks for sharing these. I always love your travelogues :)

Jyothsna said...

Susan - Yes, it was a fabulous experience! :)

Seena - Oh, you are in Dubai? Great, will stop by at your blog soon. :)

Linda - Thankyou :) You must ask your dad why he's kept you away from such a pristine place!

Anita said...

All of the above - life is too short! Did someone say "one thing at a time?"

mathew said...

i was in swiss this may..and thoroughly enjoyed the place..surprisingly i felt it was warmer than germany..I guess I will visit again..got some relatives out there..and that helps with free accomodation and good food..great snaps btw...:-)

Jyothsna said...

Anita - Whoever said that!! :)

Mathew - Thanks, next time I take a trip, I'll consult you..:))

Shella said...

Beautiful memories Jyotsna.

Lotus Reads said...

Oh, wow, Jyo, you are so lucky to have witnessed something that is so unique to Switzerland. We were in Zurich a couple of years ago but didn't travel outside the city. Thank you for sharing these pictures with us, I love learning and reading about the festivals of different countries!

Jyothsna said...

Shella - THanks!

lotus - We were lucky indeed!

Vcuisine said...

Beautiful Pictures Jyothsna. Nice to see them. Tks for sharing. Viji