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Published: September 20th 2015
Hallo meine Freunde!
I am wiped, but I did say I need to stay on top of this blog. And stay on top of it I will! Today was my first full, and only day, in Switzerland! What a day it was...both expensive, and breathtaking!
I slept in without apology today. After the long day the day prior, I was okay with that! Waking around 8 AM, I pulled out the map the hotel desk man gave me the night prior, and planned my day. I really dialed into one particular thing. Seeing as I came to Switzerland to see the Alps, and in particular the Matterhorn, I decided on taking the train up to the summit of Gornergrat. The Gornergrat Railway is the highest open-air railway in Europe. The line opened in 1898, and was the first electric rack railway to be built in Switzerland. I figured it would be the perfect place to get some beautiful panoramics.
After getting ready, I first went up to the rooftop terrace, which the hotel boasted had a beautiful view of the Matterhorn. It was a lovely terrace, with flowers and wicker chairs. Unfortunately
Blue Skies Coming out
The Matterhorn is striking on the horizon!
the Matterhorn was masked in clouds. But the other side of Zermatt, which was shadowed by other varying mountains, was clearly visible under the sun! I got some beautiful pictures!!!! I headed on down for breakfast at the hotel. It was a very cozy spread! With juices, milk, varying breads, Swiss (of course) cheeses, meats, oatmeal, and cereals..it was the standard hotel complimentary breakfast. Very tasty. Of course I was excited to eat Swiss cheese in Switzerland!
The railway station was right across from the station to bring me back to Täsch. It cost about $95 American to get a ticket. I knew it would be worth it though! I boarded the train shortly after, which had big bay windows to give beautiful views along the way. The train ride was smooth, lasting about 30 minutes. It took you up the mountains, through the woods...with gorgeous views of varying villages, churches, rivers, and waterfalls. It was a peaceful, beautiful ride. Just like the train to and from Täsch, the woman over the loudspeaker spoke German, French Italian, English, and Japanese. Along the way the train stopped at varying stations, picking up and dropping off mostly hikers. Speaking of that,
I truly wished I had my hiking boots! I would have loved to ascended and descended at least a few thousand feet, among the rolling green fields and crisp mountain air. But I knew I was not staying long, and I did not want to pack anything extra. It is okay, I got the abbreviated version via train!
Getting off the train, I immediately felt the chill! It was about -2 degrees Celsius, which is about 28 degrees Fahrenheit! BRRR! I was actually pretty okay in my puffy vest, supplemented by the adrenaline and excitement of being up so high! Gornergrat is about 3100 meters above sea level, which is approximately 10,000 feet! So high up! When we arrived up there, it was cloudy and snowing! After coming off the train platform, there are multiple panoramic and sightseeing platforms, from which you can have multiple angle views of the Matterhorn and the surrounding Alps. First arriving, it was very foggy (or cloudy really, we were definitely among the clouds!). You could not see anything. I did not let that stop me though! I walked around, read the signs, and tried to learn all the different summit names. I took
photos, and walked inside the building to see what they had in there. It was a big souvenir shop, and a restaurant leading to terrace with a view of the Matterhorn. People were everywhere, taking photos with all the different signs and props. Just a general buzz of excitement which was contagious to say the least. People were up there from all over the world– Japan, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Spain, United States, Canada, and I am sure many other places (these were just the languages I recognized).
I went up to the tallest viewing platform, and stood among the rocks and snowflakes. The cold air and snowflakes felt good on my skin. I have been so used to humid desert weather beating down on me. I made good use of the selfie stick Ron bought me. After about 20 minutes, luck finally went my way. The snow stopped, and the clouds opened up to reveal the Matterhorn, the Alps, and the glacier! The snowcapped peaks sitting among the clouds are honestly one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen. I stared at them in awe. Once I was able to close my mouth, I worked on my
panoramic shots, standalone photos, and a selfie here and there...using a combination of my phone and my camera. Fast forward another 10 or so minutes, and hints of blue sky peaked through...serving as a contrast against the gray of the mountains. I could not snap pictures fast enough!!! I got some fantastic shots I believe...you can judge for yourself in the attached photos! I only wish I had my really good camera out here. Although my tough camera, while sacrificing professional quality, is super rugged, and fits in my pocket. It still got some fantastic photos in my opinion!
In Gornergrat they have a souvenir shop (of cours), an observatory, and a restaurant. They have one of the many one room mountain churches out there as well. You walk in, and it is a very simple alter, with about 8 pews. The alter had some pictures of people, who looked like skiiers and mountain climbers. I wish I knew their stories. For an offering of a few Francs you could light candles up there. I lit 3...one for Uncle Frank, Uncle Mike, and Pop-pop. I said my prayers as well. I thought saying a prayer so high up, in
Main Street of Zermatt
It is like walking through a Christmas village!
such an untouched place, it would get to them faster!
They had one of the pop-up shelters along the ramp. Walking in, there was a sign that said there are 238 versions of the Matterhorn around the world! There were pictures of about 20 of them from around the world...all big beautiful mountains! The one in the US is in Colorado, called the Little Matterhorn (how appropriate).
I stayed up there for about 2 hours total. I really did not want to leave! It was relaxing! But I was getting wet and cold. I walked back down to the station, and took the train back down to Zermatt. By then I was chilled to the bone...so I decided to warm up at the Matterhorn Museum. That experience...is for a future post!
I do not see myself ever going back to Zermatt...so the experience of going up into the Alps and sitting and staring at the clouds roll over the snowcapped mountains is an experience I will treasure and remember forever!
Thank you for reading, as always!
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