mercredi 19 mai 2010

Crazy long weekend...

The A plan was:

- What: climbing/biking for 4 days
- Where: Traversella
- Who: a large bunch of people, 18 of us in total: 8 from Fribourg, 3 from Paris, 7 from Geneva...
- Accommodation: Camping!

The B Plan was:

- What: eating in nice restaurants, playing games, spotting salamanders, eating "atomic" Brownies, laughing a lot (?), drinking beers (and not bears...), reading comics, eating a nice pumpkin fondue, visiting Fribourg, and... climbing the last day, eventually!
- Who: the same lads!
- Where: Traversella, and then back to Fribourg earlier than planned
- Accommodation: wet&cold camping, and then my comfy bed!

But that was one of the best weekend ever, with a lot of fun!

The great pics are kindly provided by the not-less-great Caroline. (is it enough? ;o))

lundi 10 mai 2010

Queens fights (Combat des reines)

You might find the title a bit intriguing, and ask who are "the fighting queens"? It is difficult to guess, indeed... they are... cows! And it is quite an important tradition in the Wallis region of Switzerland...

You might find this disgusting at first stand, making animals fight for our pleasure. But it isn't that at all: this special breed of cow (the Herens breed) is actually made for these fights. Indeed, every spring, the strongest cows of a herd fights together, the winner becoming the queen of the pasture. The stock breeders from Wallis simply built a contest in order to determine the strongest cows of the region.

And I can tell you that the proprietary of the winning cow, and even more his queen, become world famous... in Wallis at least. Surprisingly, the contest is not random, and it appears that often a cow will win a couple years in a row. Basically, the queen of the queens will be the strongest minded of all of them... as well as physically super strong, weighting up to 800kgs of muscle.

This makes an impressive spectacle, where the violence of the fights was striking. But despite the violence, barely any cows got injured, and the rare ones got treated immediately by the many present vets. As well, when a breeder is feeling his queen getting too tired, or not in a high spirit, he stops the fight directly in order to avoid any harm for his baby...

Yes really, the queen is part of the breeders' family, maybe even more important than other members... These cows from the Herens breed are supposed to be very attaching for they breeders, being even the nicest and sweetest cows you can find on earth... when they are not fighting, obviously! There was strictly no violence against humans, the violence being limited to the duels.

Here are a few pics illustrating all this, as well as a video showing the start of a round.