Zermatt and the Swiss Alps

Zermatt is a small town of only about 6,000 residents located at the foot of the Swiss Alps. Tourism keeps the local economy going with some of the best skiing slopes in the winter and beautiful hiking and mountaineering trails in the non-snow filled months. Getting there is a litte tricky though and it took us about 3 hours via a couple of trains from Zurich.

Zermatt’s biggest attraction? The Matterhorn. At 4,478 meters (14,692 feet) it’s not at all the tallest peak, but it is the most majestic and has become an emblem of the Swiss Alps. It is also one of the deadliest peaks in the range taking some 500 lives between 1865 and 1995. We chose the easy way up, a cable car. Two cable cars actually; a smaller Matterhorn Express car gives you that personal mountain experience while a second, 100+ people cable car, gives off that “how is this even possible” feeling. With so many people inside I shouldn’t have felt any fear when casually gliding high over the sharp rocks below, but it was those same people that made me think how does this thing even move and what if that swiss chocolate I had for breakfast is going to put us just over the weight limit…no ever checked the weight!

Naturally in Switzerland everything works in tip-top condition and we were at the top of the range in no time. As we arrived the Matterhorn was just coming out of the clouds and we were awed by its sheer beauty. I don’t know what it is, but the Matterhorn is just unbelievable to see in person and it keeps you staring at it long after the shock of its sharp edges wears off.

We sat at the restaurant atop the cable car station and while drinking hot rum tea (45% alcohol!!!) we soaked in the view.

Karolina came to Zermatt a week prior to our trip and saw nothing but falling snow and cloud covered mountains. This wasn’t the case with us and we couldn’t have asked for a better weather.

While walking through the town on our way back to the train Karolina explained to me why some of the houses were built on weird looking flat stoned. Do you know the purpose of the stones seen below?

The answer is relatively simple, mice. If a mouse cannot get past the flat, wide, rock, it also cannot get inside the house or inside the food locker. Simple yet how ingenious. What wasn’t as smart as the rocks were the typical touristy shirts on display at the local shop. I understand trying to make a buck, but while funny, I didn’t find the humor at all appropriate for Zermatt. The town just has a much different feeling than the drunken-design shirts seen below represent.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. This looks like the perfect place to read “Magic Mountain” by Thomas Mann.

  2. We spent a great week hiking in Zermatt. What a wonderful place! It’s the best place we’ve been for staying in one hotel and having a full week of different hikes to do right from our doorstep. It looks equally good in the winter.

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