Adventures in the Alps

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August 8th 2010
Published: September 27th 2010
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To Zermatt

Up, up and awayUp, up and awayUp, up and away

Going up the mountain in the funicular.
On August 5 we left Corfu. We took the shuttle to the ferry port, waited for the next ferry to Igoumenitsa where we caught an overnight ferry to Ancona, Italy. Now this ferry was huge. I don’t remember if we mentioned Dan’s disappointment in the size of our last ferry. But he had previously been on a cruise-like ship and this most recent boat didn't meet his standards. However, this ship did. It had a swimming pool, several lounges and dining areas and more. We set up camp in one of the lounges where we hung out most of the night, watched movies and eventually fell asleep. We thought it would be great to go to Zermatt in Switzerland. So we took a train from Ancona to Milan where we got on another train to Brig. From Brig we had to take a special train to Zermatt. For some reason (we never really figured out why) we had to transfer to a bus in the middle of the trip. Even though it was pitch black we could see the outline of the mountains and we wondered how a bus can make it up those precarious roads. Getting to Zermatt was no
Fuzzy sheepFuzzy sheepFuzzy sheep

These sheep were really, really fluffy.
problem. It was the finding accomodation that night which presented much more of an issue. Much to our dismay Zermatt shuts down at 22:30. We got to town around 22:15 and found a map to locate the hostel. We called the hostel to make sure they had room. By this time it was 22:25 (by our watches anyways). However, we reached the hostel answering machine which said that reception closes at 22:30. Since things had always worked out in the past we weren’t panicking too much yet. We figured we’d walk up to the hostel to see if anyone at reception was lingering. Fortunately for us the doors were still open; unfortunately, there was no one at reception. We were still convinced we could find a rather cheap hotel that would be open and have vacancies. We were wrong. After walking back to town and finding that only five star hotels were still open we went back to the hostel with the hopes that the door would still be open. We were wrong again. There we were, standing outside the hostel with our bags and no way of keeping warm during the night.

At that point Dan kicked into
Shrunken MatterhornShrunken MatterhornShrunken Matterhorn

It's not that small, I swear.
survival mode and suggested I put on as many clothes as possible, which doesn’t make much sense when all you have are skirts and dresses (that's all Ashley had; Dan didn't have any of those things) and don’t even begin to cover you up and protect you against the cold. We put on as many clothes as possible and snuggled up on the bench outside the hostel in our silk sleeping sheets. We slept for about 2 hours before we woke up shivering non-stop and couldn’t go back to sleep. Around that time someone came out of the hostel for a smoke and he was kind enough to let us in so we could sleep on the couch inside. It still wasn’t the best night’s sleep but it was way better than being outside all night long. At about 0600 we got all our stuff together and left the hostel so no one would find us when they came into work. We walked around and ate some breakfast before returning the hostel when it opened and booking a room for that night.

Zermatt is one of the most beautiful places on earth. Surrounding all sides of the town are
Dan on his hikeDan on his hikeDan on his hike

He was in awe of the scenery on the mountain.
mountains, the tallest of which is the Matterhorn. We did a hike called the 5 lakes Way which, according to the guide was was a 2 hour walk but took us more like 6 hours, probably because we sauntered and took long breaks, including stopping at a tea house for a cup of tea on the mountain. We had to take a funicular and then a gondola up the mountain to the trail head. Yikes, was that ever expensive…59 swiss francs for both of us. After paying that much for a one way ticket we decided to walk all the way back down. Once we got to the top of the funicular we found super furry, long-haired sheep. They were so shaggy and cute. As we made our way around the weather went from overcast and cool to sunny and warm. We figured that Zermatt is the European version of Banff: touristy mountain ski town. Once we got back to our hostel we took a siesta, went to dinner and then went for a drink and snacks at a local bar.

The next day we made our way to Bern to visit Carina who we both met while working
The MatterhornThe MatterhornThe Matterhorn

The mountain looked beautiful as a reflection in the first of the five lakes.
at BML in 2005. It was so crazy to see her because it felt like no time had passed. Carina and her roommate Simon took us around Bern to see the bears, I bet you didn’t know Bern had bears huh, and saw some of the old city center. The highlight of the visit was going to a fair in Solothurn about an hour from Bern. We spent the night meeting locals, chatting and exploring the fair. There were rides and beer gardens and kiosks selling everything from candy to jewellery. Unfortunately, Dan and I didn’t have the stamina that Carina and her friends had and there were no trains or buses back to Bern after midnight. Actually, there was one bus at 03:15 but we missed it because we couldn’t get a cab. So Carina’s friend Antonia offered us her couch until we could catch the 05:15 train. We took her up on the offer since we were practically falling asleep on our feet and Ashley was freezing cold. We got back to Carina’s house at 06:00 and went straight to bed; we didn’t get up until 13:00. We hung out with Carina for a few hours more but
Dan and AshleyDan and AshleyDan and Ashley

Just taking in the scenery.
it really was a fast trip. That night we headed to Frankfurt for a day of just doing nothing.

That night we got to Frankfurt and stayed at a hotel so we could just relax for a day the next day.

Additional photos below
Photos: 9, Displayed: 9


Empty TownEmpty Town
Empty Town

A random town in the middle of the mountain. Not totally sure if people live here year-round, or if they're holiday homes.
Ski seasonSki season
Ski season

There are actually people skiing on the glacier in August!

27th September 2010

That says it all.
28th September 2010

You Bums!
Sleeping on park benches? What's next! What is a funicular?
28th September 2010

It's not our fault, I swear :)
Unfortunately, our lack of planning kicked us in the butt that time but we haven't had to sleep on any other benches. A funicular is like a train that goes up the mountain. This particular one went through the mountain.
28th September 2010

Wow the Matterhorn is gorgeous!

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