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The Great Saint Bernard Pass




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.

Comments

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!
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.
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.
Ciao Chow Linda said…
Spectacularly beautiful area.
debi_in_Hawaii said…
LOL all those toys! I wonder if Germany has markets like that full of Dachshund stuff!
K and S said…
what a great trip! get them some passports so that you can come visit us :)
KennyT said…
Wow, what a magnificent view!!!
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).
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
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
RONW said…
I'm guessing that the barrels around the necks of the stuffed animals are filled with brandy.
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.
Anonymous said…
The view is beautiful, although the water looks a bit blah... dirty maybe? Is is shallow or deep?
Rowena... said…
Zhu - how should I know? You think I'm going to jump into a freezing cold alpine lake? {laughs hysterically!}
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.
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.
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.
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. ^_^

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