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A Goatherd Family in the Alps


Beñat and Natahlie spend July and August in a hut called spulüi, in the Swiss Alps, almost 2,000 metres above the sea level, looking after a herd of goats and making cheese. Their sons Kemen and Oihu are staying with them..

Spulüi is not an ideal place to locate an alp. It is situated on an artificial terrace, built in a hard stony slope where only grow nettles; in the middle of a small clear of the forest Chioll, a forest of fir trees on the slopes of the Brunesc peak. Grass is not good, that’s why goats tend to go on the other side of the mountain when Beñat loose them. In Switzerland they call alp to herder’s huts which are 1,500 meters above the sea level and Spulüi is 1,827 meters above, in the District of Vallemaggia, in the canton of Ticino. Spulüi means rock or cliff, and apparently, a big rock that was used from long ago to shelter the flocks is the reason why the hug is named this way. A stone where you can still see the marks of the buildings that were once made onto that rock.


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