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LIVING TRADITIONS IN THE 21ST CENTURY – BRINGING THE CATTLE DOWN FROM THE MOUNTAIN PASTURES

Each year the alpine herdsmen and farmers celebrate with a cattle driving ceremony around Lake Achensee in Tirol as a traditional farewell to the alpine summer and start of the winter stalling. If the time spent on the pastures has been happy, healthy and free of accidents for man and beast, the cattle, festively decorated with flowers, are ceremonially driven down to the farms. If misfortune has occurred during the summer months, however, the cows return to the valley unadorned or with a simple black ribbon of mourning.

Stars of the day: 52 dairy cows, calves and young cattle

On the day of the ceremonial cattle drive, which takes place this year on 19 September 2018, all attention is on the cows and calves. There has also been a black ribbon during the cattle drive from the Posthotel Achenkirch’s pasture and due to the absence of bells it is referred to as a “silent home journey”; however usually the cows’ home journey is a real reason to be joyous! The Posthotel’s farm currently includes 28 dairy cows, 14 young cattle and 10 calves, which return to the valley as summer draws to a close. All animals are decorated, mostly using alpine rose, mountain pine and silver thistle as well as colourful ribbons and bells. The best dairy cow of the summer is the leading cow of the cattle drive and is decorated in special grandiose headwear. Her crown which is made from twigs, flowers, grass and ribbons is artistically woven into the shape of a crown. A mirror incorporated into it is supposed to ward off evil spirits while a cross on the crown prays to the heavens for protection.

Almabtrieb Kühe

Decades long tradition at the Posthotel Achenkirch

With the Posthotel Achenkirch’s 100th anniversary, the cattle driving ceremony is a well upheld tradition that brings lots of joy to guests and employees who become exited in the months leading up to the event. This year it will take place for the 35th time, since the journey home of the cows between September and October has been celebrated in Achenkirch since 1983.

When the big day arrives…

On the morning of the legendary cattle driving ceremony, our hotel manager Karl Reiter will personally guide you through the beautiful town of Achenkirch and into the unspoilt nature of the Karwendel Mountains.You’ll hike together past waterfalls and streams to reach your destination: The hotel’s very own Falkenmooßalm hut at around 1300 meters. As a reward for the climb you’ll be greeted with a substantial snack of ham, bread and a hearty soup. An important part of the ceremonial cattle drivving-tradition: A specially prepared Schnapserl from our very own Gustl, making the perfect get-together in the Tyrolean Alps!

After a tasty refreshment it’ll be time to begin- the actual cattle driving descent begins. The festively decorated cows are all driven down into the valley, past the Posthotel and into the stalls where the animals spend the winter. As a toast to the successful event, you can try the best cattle driver punch in the world – a secret concoction of fruit tea and liquers by Gustl.

Almabtrieb Kühe

Things do not finish then however, the evening of the Posthotel’s anniversary year will include an evening programme not to be missed! A large festival tent will be set up for guests in the courtyard with festive live music and alpine decorations in honour of the event with dancing, swaying and celebrating. The kitchen team around Fabian Leinich will put on an amazing buffet full of Tyrolean delicacies and in addition to the opportunity to find out more about the cattle driving tradition, all guests will receive a surprise gift to commemorate the Posthotel’s 100th anniversary.

Our tip: Be involved instead of a bystander!

Even though we are currently all awaiting summer with joyful anticipation, what’s planned is planned. That’s why we advise booking your room and place at the Posthotel cattle driving ceremony now, our most popular event of the year! Our special Alpine Rose package includes, amongst other things, a buttermilk bath and 5-night’s accommodation in our 5-star hotel – that’s how relaxing traditional experiences can be today!

If you want to dress up for the big day then feel free to bring a Dirndl, some Lederhosen or any other country house wear. We are already looking forward to celebrating this event together with you.

Video clip of the Achensee cattle driving ceremony

Almabtrieb Kühe

ALPINE ROSES

Driving the cattle down from the pastures in October is a highlight for visitors and locals alike and so we have arranged a special package for you: a 5-night stay including ¾ gourmet board and use of the spa area as well as a fine buttermilk bath followed by a body poultice in the Atrium SPA and a little Posthotel surprise during the cattle drive. Learn more

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