Monday, September 22, 2014


I woke up early to the sound of rain. It wasn’t too bad yet, but the forecast that day called for 100% rain so I was pretty sure it was going to keep up. I also knew that it probably meant if I was going to be doing the guided sheep hike I signed up for, I’d be doing it myself. The two j’s were definitely going to stay snug in their beds all morning.

I needed to do two things. Decide if I was going to do this hike, and make it to the goat parade. I had hiked the day before in my running sneakers, but in the rain they just weren’t going to cut it. I’d have to find a rental shop to get some hiking boots from, since I was ill equipped for the weather, or really for Switzerland at all.

I set out in my giant borrowed sweatshirt and flimsy raincoat (the one semi-smart item I packed!)  in search of rental boots and the goats, of course!

A bit of background on the goats. Since you’re most likely curious because who wouldn’t be?

Every summer for six weeks, there is a goat parade of sorts through main street in Zermatt, twice a day. They are led through town on their way to pasture, by local children, and strut their half black/half white selves with large horns down the main drag. If you’re anything like me, this could be your sole reason for visiting Zermatt.

It was pretty early, so I was off to inquire about some hiking boots first. Luckily I found a sports store just as they were opening up for the day. I explained my intent to do the sheep hike, despite the rain. The dude found me some snazzy high top hiking boots and wished me luck, since besides the rain, it was also really cold out. This was my last full day in Zermatt, a place that had stolen my heart thus far, and I was determined to make it count. Even in the rain.

I exited the rental shop and checked the time. I had to hurry if I was going to get ready and get over to the meeting point, a hotel about a ten minute walk from mine, for the hike. But I wanted to see the goats! Where were they?! 

Just as I was about to give up, I heard someone calling out, and bells..bells could only mean one thing. There was about to be a goat parade! Then I saw the child, who was leading the herd of Valais blackneck goats down the street through town. He was yelling out, leading the goat way. I was awestruck by the impromptu promenade of goats. It was as if I was meeting a celebrity. They were so cool, casually swaggering along with their beards, not a care in the world.  

I wondered if any of them would try to veer off down a side street, and if so, I planned to follow the little daredevil. 

But no, they kept themselves pretty well together in line down the street, no chance to befriend and/or take home one of the goats. But seriously though, I just witnessed a goat parade in Switzerland. I couldn't even wrap my head around it. 

I was on a high. Now let's go herd some sheep!

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