KOENIGSSEE, Germany – The image of cattle on a boat may seem peculiar to some, but not in one far-flung corner of Bavaria, where mountain farmers driving cows down from Alpine pastures are forced to navigate the picturesque Koenigssee Lake with their livestock in tow.
After spending around 100 days at their summer pastures in this southern area of Germany along the Austrian border, some 30 cows must be brought back down to their stables located in a narrow valley on the other side of the lake that can only be reached by boat.
Once at the lakeside, the placid beasts are loaded one by one onto an improvised wooden corral fixed on top of two boats tied together – some individuals need more encouragement than others.
From there, the herd of animals is driven across the narrow but deep body of water.
The pine trees coating the highest slopes above the crystal clear waters of Koenigssee lake are already dusted in snow but many of the hardy Bavarian farmers sport tradition lederhosen.