We happened to be in Austria the one weekend when the cows return from the high mountains, where they spent their summer, to their farmers and stables, where they spend the cold months. Our friends told us how as kids, starting at about 8 years old, they spent a couple of weeks every summer up in the mountains herding cows–just like in Heidi. Just some kids, cows, and shepherds. Not surprisingly, these remain some of their most enduring childhood memories–being independent, going to bed when it got dark, waking up with the sun (there was no electricity), working hard. Amazingly, the tradition continues more or less unchanged. In the pictures above you see the kids shepherding their cows home, up the local highway, and in the picture below, waiting for their cows to make their seasonal descent from the mountain.