By: Blonde Two

Today I saw some marmot holes. And then I saw some marmots, they really are quite cute. At least I think they are cute because I was viewing them from a variety of heights and hanging-travel-devices as I hanging-travelled my way into Switzerland. I don’t have any marmot pictures for you as the chances of me managing to un-grip my fingers (white knuckles) from the chair lift bar, get my phone out of the rucksack and take a picture without dropping it were minimal. Here is an Austria/Switzerland border photo for you though plus one of the final hanging-travel-device which was a) double decker, b) the steepest and highest yet, (200 metres – couldn’t see the marmots because my eyes were mostly closed) and c) won’t be getting my custom again!Austria Switzerland BorderTwinliner Switzerland

One of my favourite things about Austria has been the cows. You Dartmoorites will know that Dartmoor has her fair share of lovely looking (and quite spooky in the dark) cows. Alpine cows appear to be different; they are a lovely mushroom colour, they are much more friendly and they like to wear tuneful bells around their necks. Obviously I am intending to bring a collection of cow bells home with me, I don’t think you are allowed back across any Austrian borders without buying at least a soprano and a tenor. I must have at least one – the melodic rhythm (can you have a melodic rhythm?) of bells swinging gently too and fro as cows graze has accompanied me on all of my walks.

I wondered at first whether the bells were, these days, just for us tourists. But the cows here are quite well camouflaged against their rocky mountain pastures and sometimes you have to look hard to see where the tune is coming from. Maybe we could use a similar system instead of GPS trackers for our young Dartmoor expeditionists (Blonde One has a bell on her keys and I haven’t lost her yet). It would be lovely to hear the kids jangling their way down the hill towards us.

One thing I have noticed is that the cows in a group have different sized bells on, this makes a much more jolly sound than if they were all playing the same note. Although it was probably the farmers who arranged this (the Austrians are a musical lot), I prefer to think that it was the cows. At dawn, in my Blonde head, all the cows on one mountain gather together and split themselves into groups suited to whatever piece of music they feel like playing that day. They then amble off to eat delicious alpine meadows and entertain the visitors.Cow

Whichever of the above is true, the result is lovely and I think bells should be adopted by the Dartmoor cows. Do you think I can bring enough home for all of them?

Favourite German word of the day – das Krankenhaus (and no, I won’t be going there!)