Thursday morning we boarded the first train that would eventually lead us to Zermatt. One can always tell which are everyday passengers versus tourists. We are agog at everything we see and the locals just sit in boredom tending to their particular electronic device. We traveled around Lake Geneva with Mont Blanc in sight, through small towns and past snowy fields. Even though the trip took several hours, the time went by in a flash as there was so much to see.
Arriving into Zermatt, we walked to our hotel, The Phoenix, which meant scaling a bit of a hill but the hike was worth the result. Very happy with the hotel and Trip Advisor will receive a top-notch rating. Wonderful view of the Matterhorn, however, we never saw the cloudy peak til we were pulling out of the rail station the next day.
As we arrived late in the afternoon, there was not much time to waste and we managed to hop on one of the last gondolas up the mountain. Several skiers and snowboarders were trying to take one last gasp at the slopes. There are a series of gondolas heading up to a mountain lake, however, we didn’t get up that far. The wind was getting stiff and, at one point when we were changing gondolas, we got hit with a gust of wind and snow that turned us around to head back down to the town.
Breathtaking views that we are just not used to in Florida. The closest we’ve seen to anything like this in the states was Big Sky, Montana.
By the time we hiked back into town we were ready for supper and found a reasonable place that Rick Steves recommended. Turned out it served the best burger we’ve ever tasted…perhaps because we had worked up an appetite with the icy adventure we had just experienced. The cozy warmth of the restaurant coupled with a good burger and beer made for the perfect meal. We’d recommend the Brown Cow to any Zermatt visitors.
After dinner, we had just enough time to visit The Matterhorn Museum, located underground, below a glass dome. (BTW, our rail passes gives us free entrance to all museums in Switzerland.) A lot of the exhibits were authentic artifacts from the first successful climb which resulted in half the team losing their lives in a fall on the way back down. A short movie about the everyday life of mountain rescuers was enlightening. They risk their lives daily to save stranded climbers who might take on more than they can handle.
After walking the snowy hill back up to the hotel, we took advantage of the fireplace in the cozy lobby and enjoyed a Bailey’s coffee. We also were surprised to see three girls from California, who we had met on the train. Who’da thunk we’d be staying in the same hotel. They are studying in Spain for a couple of semesters through their Seventh Day Adventist college in southern Cal and take advantage of their breaks by visiting various parts of Europe. Very sweet girls who seemed to appreciate the beauty and diversity of this part of the world.
The next morning we caught the Glacier Express, which travels at low speed through mountains and valleys of the most overwhelmingly beautiful scenery you can imagine. It’s impossible to capture it with my little Nikon but the memories will last forever. This time we sat next to students from Beijing, studying in Nottingham, England. Their English was sketchy but they seemed to want to practice and were just as gaga over the sights as were we. The whole trip takes around 5 hours and left us at Chur, which is the oldest town in Switzerland. We learned that the man who started the Ritz Hotels had lived in one of the small villages along the way and actually was surnamed “Ritz”…thus the origin of the word “ritzy”.
After an hour in Chur we boarded a train to Zurich, then on to Nyon, then back to La Chevrerie and the snowy walk up to the chalet, which was warm and inviting. Saturday will be a day of catch-up with laundry and chilling out. Sunday we are dining with a neighbor, Helena, after a trip to a market just over the border in France. Toodleoo from snowy La Chevrerie! – More pics to follow – it’s taking a super long time to upload them to the blog, for some reason.