It was a slow start thanks to a migraine, but fortunately it cleared up soon enough that we didn’t miss one of Mittenwald’s highlights of the year – the ringing in of the goats. This is a festival that marks the return of the goats from their Summer pastures in the upper Isar Valley. The locals and goat herders don their traditional costumes, and tourists swarm in to the town. It’s like a villege fete, with a difference.
Scheduled to start at 11am, the goats didn’t present themselves until almost noon. There aren’t that many of them but if you like the character of goats you won’t be disappointed by the procession. It was followed by a prize giving ceremony in the market square but by this time I was desperate for the loo and the public toilets in the Tourist Information office had closed so that the staff could attend, so I walked very quickly back to the apartment, whilst Rich stocked up on groceries.
After lunch, we set out on foot to explore the northern and eastern parts of the town. There are lovely footpaths along both sides of the River Isar, and the houses are extremely picturesque – this is definitely the most affluent part of Mittenwald. We walked as far as the road bridge over the river, and then back in to the town centre to catch the tail end of the goat festivities. Some of the goat herders were a bit worse for wear, so not surprisingly a few goats tried to escape whilst they thought they had their chance. Watching four burly men try to catch a goat made for a surreal scene. We enjoyed a drink whilst listening to the band play what Rich’s gran would describe as oompah loompah music, before heading back to enjoy the sunset from the balcony.