Today was a day to sleep in. We were not going to move the recently belled cows until 9am so our family let us graciously sleep in. After breakfast we watched as the farmers, neighbors and our host family moved the cows to the community pasture down the mountain. We were a bit confused as to what was going on because it was all in German and everything was happening so quickly. By the time we finished breakfast the guide strings had been put up and everyone had gathered near the barn to start the walk... only it didn't turn out to be a nice leisurely walk down the mountain... it was a full on run. I don't know why the cows decided that it was a good idea to sprint down the hill but they did. Kristin and I still didn't know what was going on so we were the caboose in the runaway cow train. Eventually we lost sight of them but we could still hear the bells so we knew we were going in the right direction. We continued to walk to find the cows just because we wanted to see where they would end up.
I find it very interesting that the people in this area do not complain, or at least to my knowledge, about the agriculture going on around them and even sometimes through their towns. The farmers are able to walk their cows to another pasture without the disruption of people getting upset because there is a little manure on the streets. The people understand and appreciate that agriculture is a large part of their economy.
After this adventure, Barbra took us to see the vineyards that they owned. We stopped by the red grape field first and she explained to us that next week they will have to walk through every row and put the vines between the wires so that the grapes will grow in the right place and so they don't break in the wind. Next to their first field there was a 100 year old wine making and tasting building. The Rouf family wine was sold at this restaurant along with many other local wines. We learned that the wine they drink at home they make themselves and the wine they sell another person makes for them. A drive by the white grapes finished our tour of the local vineyards. Albert had just sprayed fungicide into the fields so we weren't able to do any work in them today.
Following lunch, which was again amazing, a small nap may or may not have occurred. I guess all of the manual labor and four days of continuous go, go, go finally caught up with me. Our next adventure would take us to a place that was truly breathtaking. Barbra, Kristin and I went for a walk on the Heidi trail up the mountain. Thankfully to save our legs a little Albert drove us part way up so our walk would be two hours instead of... the rest of the afternoon. As we walked up the mountain the view became more and more indescribable. Pictures and stories will never do the Alp Mountains justice on how beautiful they are. The hike up took us about an hour and a half until we came up to a resting point that was 1,111 meters in altitude. But this was not the highest point we walked to. We walked through a grass pastureland that looked like it was digitally enhanced. It didn't even look real it was so beautiful. Neither Kristin nor I can stop saying how beautiful it is here. At the end of our hike Albert came to pick us up in the car because we would've been walking for another several hours just to get down the mountain.
After dinner I asked if we could visit Reto and is fiancé Veronica at their home. Barbra showed us the way and in the end I am very glad that I asked to meet Veronica. Both Reto and Veronica speak English so we were able to ask questions that had come up in the day or anything that came to mind. Our discussions ended up being a comparison of Swiss and American cultures. We learned:
•How apprenticeships worked, number of years and schooling
•Schooling system and taxes
•Reto's village government job- Head of Agriculture and anything nature related. We think he is the equivalent of a city councilman.
•Their plans for the future for the farm and their family
oThey will be getting married this Saturday
oHaving a baby in August
oHaving a baptism and church wedding next year
oWe saw plans of the new barn they want to build starting next spring
•Family life in Switzerland
oMost couples live in the man's village, unless in the city sometimes
oFamily sizes are usually 2-4 children
We also learned about what happened to Reto during his bachelor party. Veronica explained that she slept very good last night because Reto slept on the couch because of his... contributions made during the party. Reto told us that they stopped at the pub for several hours and played games. A catch that happened with these games was that the loser had to take a drink... and Reto lost... every game. He said that good friends like his changed the rules so he could never win any of the games. This made for a sluggish Reto when we were moving the cows and a great story for Kristin and me to hear.
It was a very good experience to visit Reto and Veronica for the night. I enjoyed learning about their culture and everyday living... and the occurrences of a Swiss bachelor party :)