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The long-awaited Viehscheid has finally come to Immenstadt. We’ve been told this is the traditional time when cow herds that have summered in the high alpine meadows are brought to town for repatriation to their respective owners. In my never-ending quest to learn German I tried looking up “Viehscheid” in my little yellow Langenscheidt German/Englisch dictionary. There was no entry for Viehsheid but “Vieh” is defined as cattle or livestock. There wasn’t exactly an entry for “scheid” either. The closest thing was “scheide” which translates to English as “vagina!”

So anyway, we hurried into Immenstadt this morning to attend this vagina festival or whatever. The streets were lined with thousands of German tourists, many of them dressed in traditional lederhosen garb. This is perhaps one of the few places one is likely to encounter lederhosen-clad Germans in this day and age.

From what we could tell, all of the hullabaloo is to see the cows herded through the streets of town to a marketplatz where they are corralled for redistribution.

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P1020915.JPGViehscheid

Judging by the crowds, I would say Germans are very nostalgic for the farming traditions of old. Many separate herds come through town and the crowds stood around for hours waiting for each one. The herd is preceded by a young woman wearing a dirndl and carrying a sign with the name of the herd. Bearded, lederhosen-clad men guide the cattle. The cows wear enormous bells around their necks and the procession produces a deafening racket in the narrow confines of the cobblestone streets. As one might expect with cows, after all is said and done, the streets are covered with a patina of cow shit which everybody seems to take in stride.

In addition to wearing lederhosen and seeing flower-bedecked cows, Viehscheid is one more opportunity to drink beer and eat schnitzel. An enormous tent has been erected near the platz in which one can buy beer by the 2-liter mug. Mary doesn’t drink and I had to pass on the beer. I’m afraid two liters of beer would leave me sprawled on the floor in a puddle of my own pee.

P1020926.JPGMary in the Beer Tent

P1020919.JPGRoom With a View of Viehscheid

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