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Really nice photo report, Alex, thanks! All those mushrooms, while here it's dry and there are none!

Just one thing: as a former mountain shepherd, I can tell you that tourists' dogs running about free are a damn nuisance (most of all, those who have a natural tendency to want to herd sheep). You say there's no such rule as having to keep your dog on a leash, but it's at least recommended and is one of the rules of mountain etiquette applied by those who know the mountains well. Perhaps this shepherd was unpleasant about it, but he did put up a notice as a reminder. Why was your reaction to think: "Huh, it's not official, who does he think he is?", instead of thinking you were coming into a sheep area and it might be an idea to take care? As for him yelling at you, if you'd asked me why I didn't have my dog on a leash, hmmm... Also if I'd been told by however nice and reasonable a girl that I lived off tourism, hmm-hmm... I honestly think you said some pretty provocative -- and unfounded -- things.

More broadly this poses the problem of the increasing appropriation of the mountains as a leisure zone, and the feeling of those who live and work there that they are considered, not only a dying breed, but one people are in a hurry to see gone and departed. I know you're a vegetarian, but don't you think meat (and dairy) production are better carried out by extensive methods on permanent grassland (like the alpage), than by the intensive methods currently favoured by the agri-industry? Don't you know the mountain slopes you see now would not be the same without their use as pasture, and you'd have a job finding a path to follow in the vegetation? (As for the dog roaming free, forget about it...)

As for your other points, well, we could debate them if you like because they're debatable. BTW, the shepherd won't be living in that mountain hut during the winter... But maybe you were joking?

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Aug 24th, 2006 at 02:57:51 AM EST

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