“Fall has always been my favorite season. The time when everything bursts with its last beauty, as if nature had been saving up all year for the grand finale.” – Lauren DeStefano
No matter how old you get, there are always “first experiences” to be had. One of ours happened this weekend, at Naustadt Am Kulm’s Almatrieb. Every summer in the Alpen region of Europe (southern Bavaria included), the cows are lead up into the Alps to graze on the fresh green grass. When summer melts into fall, the cows are welcomed home in a tradition called Almatrieb. There are huge festivals, the cows are decorated with wreaths, flowers, & ribbons then paraded through town. Of course there are celebrations after with beer, food, and local vendors. Since Justin had gotten back from the field the day before this festival, we decided that driving four hours was not what we wanted to do on his first day home. Luckily for us, Neustadt am Kulm, located in northern bavaria, welcomes fall in their own way. They host a Almatrieb, but with goats!
We were unsure of how busy this festival would be, so we got there a little early and decided to walk around, looking at the little booths along the way. There were handmade goods, canned goods, & antiques lining this small town’s Main Street. I came home with some raspberry jam & pumpkin marzipan. I saw a few fall wreaths I wanted to buy, but didn’t want to carry them around and be fumbling with the girls. It was actually hot & the sun was out, which is the opposite of how it felt this time last year, so the girls got an ice cream and Justin & I got pretzels in true Bavarian style.
As with most festivals that occur in Bavaria, people were wearing their drindls and lederhosen. Why I didn’t think to put Stella into her drindl, I don’t know! But they’re always fun to look at. The goats were cute decorated with wreaths and flowers, but the parade was rather short. It took all of 10 minutes from start to finish. Bringing up the rear were men and women carrying their Alphorns. I was excited to see them play!
Playing With the Goats
In true 37 weeks pregnant fashion, I had to go scavenging for the bathroom. As we were looking, we found a pen with some goats where you could pet and feed them. Stella & Nora were excited, so I was able to go to the bathroom on my own – Hallelujah! All the kids were milling around, picking up stalks, and trying to lure the goats closer.
Unfortunately, Nora had not napped (there were too many things for her to see!) & they didn’t play the Alphorns right away. After walking around the food and beer tents, Nora had a break down because she spotted French fries and we told her no. As we were rounding the corner out of the town’s center, we heard them warming up – go figure.
We were only there for a few hours, but with the sun beating down we were all tired. It was a nice little day trip, especially with kids! In the fall, everyone is hyped up about Oktoberfest, but we enjoy smaller events like this that are family friendly. I don’t know, maybe we’re just getting old and don’t need the excitement anymore.
I hope everyone is enjoying fall! It’s my favorite time of year & great in Germany because it is the kick off for all the festivals and markets that will occur until Christmas! 🎄