Redcliffe Pier

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Adventure in Europe 2008 PART 18 (Switzerland-Zermatt, Gornergrat)

Tuesday 16 September

Today was our last day in Spiez. It was time to say good bye to my brother and sister in law. They were going home to London and we were off to Zermatt. We all had breakfast together and then had lots of hugs and kisses and a few tears as we said good bye, knowing that this could be the last time we see each other as we are all getting older.



Bye, bye David and Ann.
Now it is time to wrestle our luggage onto the train for another exciting trip through the Alps. Paul is eagerly waiting. The first train took us under the Alps, through the new long tunnel from the dull misty weather into bright sunshine. Woohoo we can see blue sky at last. We changed trains in Visp for Zermatt.
Climbing up towards Zermatt. Look! We can see the snow covered mountains.
Getting closer and just look at that blue sky, we haven't seen that for ages.
Around every bend was another spectacular view. Then we arrived at the station and were picked up in an electric taxi and taken to our B&B called "Welcome". There are no petrol vehicles in Zermatt and the air is clean.
We were upgraded to an apartment for 5 and it was very comfortable with a view of the Matterhorn Mountain.
We had lunch across the road from our B&B and there were no clouds spoiling the view of Matterhorn. We were very happy. We just wanted a light lunch but this is what came when we ordered..........
....cheese on toast. Bill told us we would get a better view of the mountain from the end of the village......
.....so we walked through the old part of the village.......
...where the houses are centuries old. These are old farm buildings once used for storage but are now being renovated into apartments.
Looking back towards the town of Zermatt.
Hello!!! There she is in all her glory. The Matterhorn. Unfortunately the sun was getting low and shining into my camera.
Carol and I discovered a walking track disappearing into the mountains and we were keen to find out where it went. The others preferred to go back and explore the town.
Carol had a map that showed us the path went way up into the high peaks but there was a little village and a dam not far up so we headed for that. We passed these mountain houses.
These houses have stone roofs.
There is nothing more exhilarating than hiking in the Swiss Alps. How lucky I am to be here and have a wonderful daughter to patiently wait for me when I got puffed. We were climbing up an up and up for about an hour before we saw.........
......a tiny village and a restaurant. Yes, unbelievably, a restaurant in the middle of nowhere. We stopped for a drink as we had come with only one small bottle of water. We asked how far was the dam... I was determined to make it there but it was getting late and we didn't want to be going back down to Zermatt in the dark. We were told only about 10 more minutes, but she didn't mention..........
...that it was up, up, up some more. We looked back at the little village of Zmutt perched on the edge of a ravine.
Yeahhhhh!!! We made it!!There was a little hydro power station nearby. We were told in the village to walk over the dam wall and it would bring us back to the track for the descent to Zermatt.
At the end of the dam wall the path/road went into the mountain. It was dark and scary, so we hung onto each other and giggled our way through the tunnels until we "saw the light at the end of the tunnel" literally.
Back on the track I started to hurry down hoping to beat nightfall and the cold. It was a spectacular walk.
After an hour we could see Zermatt in the valley below. Lucky for us it stays light well into the evening, so we made it.
We turned back and said good night to Matterhorn, still clearly visible and without clouds. How lucky are we today?
That night we found the best restaurant. It was very traditional, friendly and cosy. This guy is making Raclette Cheese. The two half yellow cheeses are put under a grill (the black thing on two posts) until it melts. Then he swings it out and scrapes off the melted cheese onto your plate, usually on top of potato.
But we didn't have that. I ordered a salad but not understanding the menu properly I got a plate of various cold meats and cheese. It was tasty.
Wednesday 17 September

The next morning we caught the special mountain train up 3000+ metres to Gornergrat. We were so pleased that the weather was good. Good morning Matterhorn. It looked so close from the train. It was a magical climb up the mountains teetering on the edge of ravines on one side and sheer snow covered peaks on the other.
When we alighted from the train these beautiful St Bernards were there to have your photo with. They didn't look very interested and of course the big one turned his head away when I tried to sneak a photo.
Words can't describe it.(photo by Carol)
Some of us were feeling a bit woozy with the altitude so we soon caught the train back down. Some tougher than us walked.
Quite a few were walking down.(photo by Carol)
From the train we could see where Carol and I had walked the day before. Can you see the path, the little village and the dam wall?
We arrived back in Zermatt and walked through the main street and did some retail therapy.

How happy can you be when you get a kiss from your daughter at the foot of the Matterhorn?
Zermatt
One cannot visit the Alps and not have a cheese fondue. Carol's favourite, on our last night in Zermatt.

8 comments:

  1. Oh Diane, what a wonderful trip you must have had. This post sounds so exciting. It must have been wonderful on that walking track up into the mountain. You certainly are having adventure before dementia!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I love those houses, but they appear to built upside down, stone on the roof and wood for the walls? How interesting.

    Those mountains are lovely, a freidn of mine who lived there for several years was just telling me the other day how wonderful it is to just go walking in the mountains.

    You must feel blessed indeed to have seen so many beautiful places.

    ReplyDelete
  3. You're right. No words can describe it accurately. I'll try. Incredible, beautiful, magnificent, .... they don't come close. Wish I was there!

    ReplyDelete
  4. WOW! (I think I've used that word in almost every comment here on your blog.) ;)

    Matterhorn is MAJESTIC!

    And that walk through the Alps must have just been so surreal! I can only imagine....*sigh*.....

    I love the picture of your daughter kissing her daddy. Being a daddy's girl myself, that really touched me.

    I have never had cheese fondue, but my mother loves it. I would imagine in the Alps that it would be even better.

    God Bless,
    Amy:)

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hello, Diane! I'm Amy's Mom from "In My Life," and she told me about your beautiful pictures that you posted! There's a possibility that I may get to visit Germany next year so I was very interested - it must be awesome for you getting to see such beauty in Europe! I couldn't believe the Matterhorn! AWESOME!
    I'll have to check your site more often!
    Sandra :)
    (Amy's Mom)

    ReplyDelete
  6. That Matterhorn is really something! I have to wonder what life would be like in those tiny little high altitude vilages.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Diane,
    Words can not do justice to such a magnificent spot and your walk is a once in a lifetime.....

    I feel quite emotional with this post...

    Elizabeth

    ReplyDelete
  8. I can't describe how much I have loved looking at your adventures, Diane & Bill.
    The Matterhorn was covered by cloud when we were there so it made me feel a little overwhelmed when I saw your pictures.
    Keith hasn't seen them all yet but he will feel the same.
    Will email soon, Jill & Keith (housesitters)

    ReplyDelete