Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Great Saint Bernard Pass

Colle del San Gran Bernardo

Colle del Gran San Bernardo — While the lovable, slobbering Beethoven may have earned Hollywood star status for his kind, Barry the Saint Bernard carried much more credit to his humble name. The Great St. Bernard Pass that leads into Switzerland wasn't far off from our lodgings, so a visit (by car) to where monks used to train the large breed as a rescue unit was a sort of salute to the canine world. Did we see a bunch of Saints? Well, yes and no. It depends if you're intent on seeing tables lined with stuffed pooches instead of living, breathing, panting hounds. Those rescuing days are long gone, having evolved into the hi-tech methods of modern times. I only remember having seen the dogs once on italian news where they were part of a search team. We didn't cross into Switzerland as Maddie and MrB had no passport, but we did take a short stroll around. The views are so unbelievably gorgeous in the Alps - no matter from where you are in the midst of it all.

St Bernard souvenirs

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Blogger mlesnapshot said...

wow, what a beautiful view!

I didn't think about the dogs needing passports, how do you go about doing that? Do they need certain shots?

Have a great time!

4:31 PM, August 26, 2009  
Blogger Cynthia said...

I crossed that pass once and saw SB kept in a kennel at the pass. They were mean -- growling and memacing. Nothing like Beethoven.

5:16 PM, August 26, 2009  
Blogger Rowena... said...

Emily - passports are good only for a year and require up-to-date rabies shots (25€ I think). I hear it's a lot stricter in the UK.

Cynthia - I've read that the monks have been hurting for sponsors so I don't think many dogs are there anymore. A good thing they kept that SB in a kennel, no?! We did see a couple of Saints off-leash, but they were with their owners, completely oblivious to the smiles and stares from everyone around them.

6:53 PM, August 26, 2009  
Blogger Ciao Chow Linda said...

Spectacularly beautiful area.

9:22 PM, August 26, 2009  
Blogger debi_in_Hawaii said...

LOL all those toys! I wonder if Germany has markets like that full of Dachshund stuff!

12:35 AM, August 27, 2009  
Blogger K and S said...

what a great trip! get them some passports so that you can come visit us :)

1:17 AM, August 27, 2009  
Blogger KennyT said...

Wow, what a magnificent view!!!

7:50 AM, August 27, 2009  
Blogger Fern Driscoll said...

The stuffed dogs are cute, but I prefer the larger, breathing, drooling ones. What a lovely alpine lake. L used to stay in a hotel with a resident SB to welcome guests, nice touch (for dog lovers).

8:20 AM, August 27, 2009  
Blogger Rowena... said...

CC Linda, KennyT - it truly is, but this is only the beginning. It gets better along the way!

Debi - if we should ever cross the border I will make it a point to look into stuffed doxies. You will have to give me a mailing address if I hit the dachshund mother lode.

Kat - that would be just too cool. I know for sure that Mads would LUV Japan!

Fern - as I am very fond of dogs, I'd love to stay at a place where one of those Bernard's greeted me at the door. Just please don't jump because I'm sure the force of the wind right before impact would surely blow me down. :-O

12:06 PM, August 27, 2009  
Blogger debi_in_Hawaii said...

I mentioned to B years ago, I know they have Gummy Waldi...
Gummies in Dachshund shapes! I've seen them on eBay

12:27 PM, August 27, 2009  
Anonymous RONW said...

I'm guessing that the barrels around the necks of the stuffed animals are filled with brandy.

12:46 PM, August 27, 2009  
Blogger Rowena... said...

Debi - stop it! Just the thought of gummy sausage dogs makes me wiggle for joy. I better get workin' on those passports.

RONW - they used to be filled with brandy, until the state decided to lay even more taxes on alcohol. Like pakalolo, it didn't matter if the use of brandy would benefit the recipient - they just wanted to be sure that said recipient would be paying for it, and dearly.

2:11 PM, August 27, 2009  
Blogger Zhu said...

The view is beautiful, although the water looks a bit blah... dirty maybe? Is is shallow or deep?

5:07 AM, August 28, 2009  
Blogger Rowena... said...

Zhu - how should I know? You think I'm going to jump into a freezing cold alpine lake? {laughs hysterically!}

8:29 AM, August 28, 2009  
Blogger Jenny said...

We went through the pass on our way to Italy a few weeks ago. It is amazingly wonderful and of course a delight to arrive in Italy this way.

2:27 PM, August 29, 2009  
Blogger Brad Farless said...

My wife would love those stuffed animals.

Passports for dogs huh? I never even thought of that. Is that something Italy does, or is it recognized by other countries in the area? I need to start thinking about how Dapper and Thumper are going to make the trip back to the states with us in the future.

10:55 PM, August 29, 2009  
Blogger Rowena... said...

Jenny - isn't it? There is something about crossing the border into another country that gives me a little thrill, a thing that I never experienced while living on an island in the middle of the Pacific! ^-^

Brad - I only ever hear about passports for dogs, but I'm sure cats need them too. Passports apply to all of the EU countries as far as I know, but they are especially strict in Switzerland. No one ever asked for Maddie's identification when we drove to France, Spain, Belgium or Germany.

11:48 AM, August 30, 2009  
Blogger Brad Farless said...

That's nice to know. Too bad there's no universal pet passports, so I can get them for my cats here. ^_^

1:50 PM, August 30, 2009  

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