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We spent a weekend in Verbier towards the end of July this year. Kind of a last minute thing. Verbier is about a little more than an hour’s drive away.

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Verbier is a primarily a ski resort but during the summer, it actively promotes itself as a haven for outdoor sports. Not just hiking and biking though, it also put together a classical music festival.

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The music festival is best known for an intimate atmosphere (since it lacks any big venue) and a didactic tradition (masterclasses, student performances).

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We were lucky because the weekend we went coincided with the annual village fair. One of the main event took place in the Alpage des Grand-Plans, Les Planards, an open pasture above Verbier.

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Apart from a street market in the village, they also held the annual Bataille des Reines (“Battle of the Queens”) – an institution in the local community.

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The highlight of the full day event was the Battle – a cow fight. There are no matadors, no enraged bulls and and no stabbing. Humans are not involved here.

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This is a tradition that has grown out of letting the cows establish a pecking order.

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The cows are sorted according to age and weight before being led into a ring.

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The animals were nonchalant around people and standing calmly as a group until provoked.

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They appear to ignore each other and eat grass until they decide to get into a bit of a head butting contest.

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They were all wearing their cow bells so there were a lot of clanking noise.

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We did not see the end because it took them a while to get the cows started and then to separate them. But it was fun.

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It was a nice day and we got sunburned because it was not hot or sweaty at that altitude and we did not wear any sunblock.

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It is odd to write this post about summer pastures while it is probably snowing up there and knowing that the same place is now all white and rather cold.

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