Almabtrieb is a special event at the end of the summer-season, when the local farmers take down their cows from the alps, where they stayed during all of the summertime. I was lucky to see such a small Almabtrieb, when I had been in Meiringen at the end of October 2005. See my photographs : the first in the procession was a police-car, that directed all cars to stop as far as possible at the side of the street, leaving the main-space for the cows and the farmers family, who directed the cows towards their home-stables. All of the cows were decorated with giant bells and other decorations.
When-ever you are in Switzerland, check the local newspapers - some of these events will be posted there and will be big festivities with hundreds of cows, traditional folk-music etc.
Ballenberg - 10 km west of Meiringen
Ballenberg is a great open-air-museum 10 km west of Meiringen. Plenty of houses of all over Switzerland had been rebuilt there.
It was amazing for me to see the differences in style and details and all of the 90 farmhouses still have cows, pigs, horses, geese etc. as well and during the day most of the buildings are open for the visitors and you may watch the employees of the Ballenberg-museum-village, when they work on the farms like in the old times, when they were producing their own baskets, made wood-carvings, weaving, spinning the wool, baking bread or making cheese etc. There is also a blacksmith you may watch, or you may have a meal in one of the various traditional inns.
From Brienz train-station there is a bus to Ballenberg. Walking-time from the station is about 25 minutes. When you arrive by car : follow the sign-posts at the east-end of Brienz !
The openair-museum Ballenberg is open for visitors
daily between May and October : 10.00a.m.-05.00p.m
besides that time you may walk around on your own without entrance-fee !!
the entrance-fee is 16 sfr / 10 Euros !
There is a really large parking at the entrance - free of charge !!
and also several lockers for small luggage !
...and psst : this quiet parking is perfect for motorhomes at night !! :-))
the village of Meiringen
The village of Meiringen has still plenty of old wooden houses and so it makes sense to take a little walk. Next to the church you will see some of the most beautiful houses with lovely balconies, full of flowers. Meiringen is not full of tourists like Brienz, Interlaken or Lauterbrunnen, you will rather see hiking-tourists there or skiers in wintertime. Do not expect a fancy nightlife, but at least they have a cinema ! (in the street that leads from the station to the big church.
The chapel of 1486
next to the campanile in Meiringen you may see the tiny chapel of 1486 - it was first used as a bone-house and includes a small chapel on 1st floor.
take a look inside, it looks really nice and is open for visitors without restrictions during the day. Something special there is the old harmonium and the great frescos around the windows - see my pictures !
Hasliberg, the sunny terrace above Meiringen
"Hike from Planplatten to Bidmi"
Together with Sandy (sandysmith) I had a short but very enjoyable hike on September 21st, 2002. Due to heavy fog we did not our forseen hike from Planplatten to Engstlenalp but from Planplatten to Bidmi, the sunny side this saturday. This picture was taken at Maegisalp. In the background you can see the well known mountains of Bernese Oberland, Eiger, Wetterhorn, Mittelhorn and Wellhorn
I took this picture of Maegisalp from the gondola to Planplatten. The cows were still on this alp.
After about a 1 hour hike we arrived at Haeggen where we had a rest. To taste a meringue on an alp above Meiringen was almost a must!
The fountain in the background served as a refrigerator.
The path is very well signposted and easy to hike with almost none difference in altitude till Kaeserstatt.
It's steeper from Kaesterstatt to Bidmi.
We were quite glad not to cross to many cows!
Another famous speciality is the Haslikuchen, decorated with an eagle, which you see as well on the flag of "Haslital". We tasted this cake at Kaeserstatt, before we did our last part, the steeper one.