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Cows compete for crown in Valais resort

Compared to bull fighting, traditional Swiss cow fights are harmless

(Keystone)

Cows will lock horns in the alpine village of Grimentz next weekend to see who will become queen for the summer.

Cow fighting in canton Valais has long been part of the traditional cattle procession up to the mountain pastures in early summer. Competitions take place across the canton, and it will be the turn of Grimentz on June 15 and 16.

Grimentz has turned the annual event into a festival. But the cow fights remain the main attraction. The short and stocky black "Herens" cows go head-to-head and push each other until one gives up.

The eventual winner is honoured with the title, "Queen of the Cows", and is rewarded with the choicest bit of alpine pasture to graze on for the summer.

Grimentz also boasts a number of attractions in the village and access to an excellent network of mountain hiking trails.

Bourgeoisie

Free-guided tours are given through the narrow lanes of the well-preserved old village and of the "Burgesses House".

The Bourgeoisie of Grimentz built the house as their administrative centre in the 16th century. Today, it is a museum, displaying objects telling the story of the village's colourful and sometimes quirky past.

In the house's cellar, a peculiar wine called "Vin du Glacier" is stored in ancient barrels. Each June, the new wine is decanted into a barrel about 25 years old, and must age for at least as long. The wine is never bottled.

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