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Summer pastures / subida del ganado a los puertos

 
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Terechu
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Joined: 24 Jun 2003
Posts: 1554
Location: GIJON - ASTURIAS

PostPosted: Wed Apr 26, 2006 5:17 am    Post subject: Summer pastures / subida del ganado a los puertos Reply with quote

It's time for that one annual event that no child who has witnessed it will ever be able to forget: the driving of the cattle to the mountain pastures. I have a lasting memory of the time I saw the cattle farmers of Colunga, La Riera and Libardón drive their cattle and horses to the Sueve mountain. I was only three years old and it is one of the few things I remember from that age. Little children were not allowed to join them, because the drive took several hours.

Years later, as a young adult, I witnessed the return of the cattle to the valleys in Germany's fore-alps, the Allgäu, and it was so thrilling I could have cried. (With the exception of the Picos de Europa with their unique ocean backdrop, the Alps provide the most breathtaking landscapes of Europe). The sight and sound of thousands of cows coming at you, the most beautiful among them decked out with flower wreaths, special painted bells and red leather collars, and driven by sunburned men of all ages. The villagers welcomed them back with a marching band and dressed in regional costumes. It was a sight!
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Estamos en esa época del año en que tiene lugar un acontecimiento que ningún niño que lo haya visto podrá olvidar jamás: la subida del ganado a los puertos para pasar el verano en los pastos de montaña. Mantengo imborrable la imagen de los ganaderos de Colunga, La Riera y Libardón subiendo las vacas y caballos al Sueve. Sólo tenía tres años y es de los pocos recuerdos que tengo de esa edad. A los niños no nos dejaban subir, porque eran horas de caminata.

Años después, siendo una joven adulta, ví la bajada del ganado a los valles en la zona prealpina de Alemania, el Allgäu y me apetecía llorar de emoción (salvo los Picos de Europa con el mar de fondo, no hay paisaje más sobrecogedor en Europa que los Alpes) . La visión y el sonido de miles de vacas engalanadas, las más guapas con esquilas especiales pintadas y collares de cuero rojo, lindadas por hombres de todas las edades quemados por el sol. Los del pueblo los recibían con banda de mùsica y traje regional. Una pasada!

http://www.lne.es/secciones/noticia.jsp?pNumEjemplar=1254&pIdSeccion=40&pIdNoticia=398083

Here's a link. Remember you can get a crazy translation into English by clicking on your right mouse button.
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carol k



Joined: 10 Sep 2005
Posts: 9
Location: Pittsburgh, PA, USA

PostPosted: Sun May 21, 2006 4:45 am    Post subject: Memories of Cattle in Spain Reply with quote

Dear Terechu.

I have never seen the major cattle drives you describe but hearing about the cattle drive brought back memories from my last trip to Spain. Here in Pennsylvania, cattle farmers do not move the cattle to another place for grazing. I guess they have enough land to keep the cattle feed throughout the year. If you are driving by farms in this country you will often see cattle in fields but I have never seen cattle being driven anywhere. This should help to explain our amazement when we were driving in rural parts of northen Spain that we would often encounter a small herd of cattle being driven along the road. We would pull off to the side to let them pass. How strange to have them passing right next to the car. We would roll down the windows to enjoy this rural experience that we had never seen. We were like litttle children excited to see an animal up close. Sometimes the animals seemed as curious about us as we were of them as they looked into the car as they passed. One one occasion, a cow put it's head in the car and seemed to want to kiss my friend Jeanne who was traveling with us.
She and her husband have no connection with Spain or Asturias but accompanied us on a trip through Asturian and then across northern Spain. Jeanne's husband is an artist and the following year he had a show of his art which is very abstract. One of the pictures he titled "Jeanne and Cow" and another was "Cows Along the River." Both pictures were influenced by this experience which was so unique for us. This might seem such a simple ordinary experience to those people who herd the cattle but for us it was a look into another world.
For me, this had special significance. I remember my grandfather telling me that a a small child he would take the few cattle owned by the family to a pasture overlooking the sea and then to drive them to the barn at night. When I went to his home, the home of my ancesters in Piedras Blancas, I walked along the road up a long hill to a field and thought this might be the same road he walked to take the cattle to that pasture every day. As I came to the crest of the hill I saw the sea. To stand in this place and to see the same vista he described to me connected me to his life and my heritage.
Thank you for bringing those memories back.

Carol Kowall
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