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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.


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.


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


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.


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.


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.


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


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


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


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


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


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.


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.


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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