Yes, the 7132 Hotel even has its own cows. Their milk is used to make cheese, yoghurt and butter for the breakfast buffet. Allows us to introduce Jenny and Franziska: two staff members at the 7132 Hotels, although in fact they’re on permanent holiday in Vals. Read on for details of when and where the two of them may be found when you’re out and about in the area.
We’re here on the Mittlagada farm on the edge of Vals on the right-hand side of the valley. From here there’s a wonderful view of the whole village. The farm belongs to the Schwarz family: son René has been running the place for a year now, but father Bernhard is in the cowshed every day too, of course.
This is where our two cows live – Jenny and Franziska, both of the Brown Swiss breed. Jenny was born on 29 September 2010 (the ladies expressly gave permission for their ages to be revealed): she's the somewhat more spirited and outgoing of the two. She’s never afraid, and although she has her moods, she's generally very affable and straightforward. Franziska, born on 1 December 2009, is placid and level-headed, though she can get a little nervous when there’s a sudden storm. Like many animals, she’s very much in tune with the weather. And she has one special characteristic: she’s one of the few cows nowadays to have kept her horns. Farmer René Schwarz says that Franziska’s horns aren’t a problem, but adds that Jenny is sometimes easier to handle because she hasn’t any.
Both of them have calved. Franziska's calf Bella, born in September 2016, stays with her mother in the cowshed.
They spend the winter along with at least 30 other cows, a few goats and calves in their cosy cowshed. They’re served with food and they go through the milking machine twice a day; apart from that, they simply enjoy the peace and quiet. In spring, which up here at an altitude of 1,300 metres or so is more likely to be the end of May than April, they spend three or four weeks in the pastures above Vals known as ‘Volchtanne’. They then go higher still up to the ‘Leisalp’, which is at over 2,000 metres. This is where the two of them spend the summer. A milk pipeline transports the organic milk down to the dairy in the village, where it's used to make organic dairy products. In mid-September the cows return to their farm in the village. They take a daily walk at sunrise from their cowshed to the pasture known as ‘Rovanada’ on the slopes on the other side of the valley from the 7132 Hotel, and they go back again at sunset.
Anyone wishing to meet our two ladies now knows when and where they can be found. A hike in June to the ‘Volchtanne’ pastures leads through alpine meadows full of flowers; it takes around four hours to get there from the 7132 Hotel and back again. From July to the end of September, the view from the Leis alp offers a magnificent panorama. And a walk to ‘Rovanada’, about 30 minutes from the hotel, provides superb views of golden larches and sugar-coated mountain tops.