Cows decorated for the Almabtrieb in Tannheimer Tal, a valley in Tyrol, Austria
© Hans Lippert/Alam
Till the cows come home
These stylish cows are decorated to celebrate their annual return from high Alpine pastures to the towns and villages where they spend the winter. Known as the Almabtrieb, the tradition is generally held in late September or early October throughout the Alpine regions of Europe. These cows are in the Tannheimer Tal, a valley of the Allgäu Alps in Austria, where more than 100,000 head of cattle make the seasonal migration.
Most years, the event brings farmers and villagers together for a festival with music, dance, feasts, and booths selling food and artisanal products, but this year the public celebrations have been canceled. Nevertheless, the Almabtrieb is a festive annual tradition that's been happening for thousands of years and will surely happen again. So even though the cattle drive through Alpine villages will be relatively quiet this weekend, let's still raise a glass of milk—or schnapps—to mark the passing of another summer.