Where We Be
|As we hiked lower, it got warmer and we shed extra layers. While we had plenty of company at Gornergrat, once we started hiking we saw few people.
|The Matterhorn -- Zermatt, Switzerland
We had a fantastic day of hiking in Zermatt. You couldn’t
ask for better – nothing but blue skies, cool but sunny
temperatures, and the Matterhorn covered with a new
dusting of snow. We got our first view of the Matterhorn
near dawn while buying tickets for the Gornergrat cog
railway, and the views only got better as the day went
along. We paid 78 francs for the two of us (and that’s
with our Swiss half-fare cards!) to go up the Gornergrat,
but this is THE thing to do in Zermatt. It made five stops
along the way at Findelbach, Riffelalp, Riffelberg,
Rotenboden and Gornergrat. We rode all the way to the
top, as did most people. Cameras clicked all the way up!
Like a diva that always has to be the center of attention,
the Matterhorn made its way into virtually every picture.
At the top we disembarked and enjoyed a half hour at
Gornergrat station -- at 3131m one of Europe’s highest
railway stations. We were surrounded by a panorama of
29 peaks taller than 4000 meters.
On the way down we passed Rotenboden, which still
looked icy and cold, but got off at Riffelberg. We hadn’t
expected to be able to hike from this high up but the
trails looked clear of snow. The views along this stretch
were wide-open and panoramic. We walked down to
Riffelalp and continued hiking along the "Naturweg" trail
to Findeln. This quaint village was irresistible, perched
on the side of a green valley with the Matterhorn
towering above it. The homes were chalet-style, with
some falling into ruin and others looking spruce and
well-kept. We sat for a long time by the side of the trail
and just soaked in the gorgeous view. What a spot!
|Marmots are just curious enough about us humans to stick their heads out of their holes and see what we're up to
|Hiking down from Riffelberg Station we came across a family of marmots making the most of the good weather
|The view from Gornergrat looking to the right of the Matterhorn
|We tried hard to take at least some pictures of mountains OTHER than the Matterhorn!
|On the day we arrived in Zermatt it was overcast and rainy, and the Matterhorn was completey hidden from view. How disappointing! But we
knew we were in luck when we woke up the next morning and saw this awesome sight of the Matterhorn covered with a fresh dusting of snow.
|This little chapel is dedicated to all the climbers who have lost their lives trying to summit the Matterhorn
|This is more or less the top of the world in Europe -- Gornergrat Station at 3131m. We found ourselves surrounded by 29 peaks over 4000 meters.
|I can't leave you with that menu photo as the last picture from Zermatt, so here's one more of the Matterhorn
|Prices in Zermatt are even worse than the rest of Switzerland. When sweet and sour chicken runs you 29 CHF (about $32 US), you know you're in trouble!
|After a steep hike down from Findeln, we passed through Zermatt, stopping here or there for a look around,
at the river, at the bell tower, and at the cemetary for mountaineers whose lives were claimed climbing the Matterhorn.
|We sat for a long time at Findeln and just soaked in the gorgeous view. Can you blame us?
|Looking down on the village of Findeln, with the Matterhorn and a range of other snow-clad mountains towering above it
|This photo requires a little explanation. When my friend Alan and I visited Switzerland in 1984, we had great fun taking photos of the
Swiss Alps with a banana and a ham and cheese sandwich in the foreground. This is Robin's and my homage to that great moment!
|We lucked out big-time, getting a rare perfect day for hiking in Zermatt
|We did less uphill hiking than I would have expected in Switzerland, simply because transport options nearly always exist making it easy to get to the top
|Wow, what a spot! My favorite part of the whole day.