Destination

SWITZERLAND & NORTHERN ITALY #6: ZERMATT & THE MAGNIFICENT MATTERHORN

When we went to bed the previous night, we had hoped to wake up to a sunny day and blue sky.  Snow-capped mountains look so flat against a mucky background, and we were hoping to see and photograph the Matterhorn at its best.  Bruce and I were not disappointed.  Just look at the view out our window!

(For all photos, click on the image for a full screen view.)

I could hear cowbells off to the right. I was quite surprised to find this kilt-clad shepperd checking out his cell phone.

Before heading to the Matterhorn, however, Susy led us on a walking tour of the town.  As more clouds gathered in the distance, all we could think of (and mutter to each other) was, “Let’s get on with this tour and get up to the Matterhorn before we lose our awesome weather and views!”  Zermatt could wait until after the Matterhorn! No disrespect to the town, though.

Zermatt, in one word, is AWESOME!  Sure, it’s a tourist town, but for good reason.  In the winter, it’s a premier ski and winter sport resort, and the rest of the year, Zermatt is great for hiking and so much more, including skiing!  The area is Europe’s largest and highest lying summer skiing region, and the training site for numerous national ski teams. 

Full of Swiss charm, Zermatt is very photogenic.  I can remember admiring Zermatt and the Matterhorn in picture calendars my dad used to bring home from his medical office.  Pharmaceutical reps gave them out at the end of the year, so they could remind doctors of their drugs they “should” prescribe to their patients throughout the following year.  But how many calendars does one medical office need?  Lucky for me, Dad kept the notepads and pens at the office and brought home the calendars for us kids to enjoy.  I blame those calendars, in part, for inspiring my insatiable desire to travel.  I blame my dad’s slide show screenings following his international adventures with my mom, too.  And, I “blame” with total gratitude…

An interesting feature of Zermatt is that gas and diesel vehicles are prohibited, which is great for the environment.  The only vehicles allowed in Zermatt are electric— music to my ears!  (We realized just how much we had appreciated the quiet once we arrived in Italy and were surrounded by loud motorcycles!)

During our walking tour, we saw a few locals walking their dogs, and we also saw a guy walking his bull.  BULL???  After doing a double-take and catching this shot after he passed, I had to wonder what would have happened if his bull got angry.  I didn’t want to stick around to find out.

As the path through town gradually ascended, our anticipation of seeing more of the Matterhorn grew.  This was our first unobstructed view:

Our walking tour ended where the magic was about to begin—at the station where we would board a gondola to the Matterhorn viewing platform.  Surprisingly, we had beaten the crowds and had no problem getting on the next gondola.  When we arrived at the top, there were times we had the entire viewing area of the upper deck all to ourselves!

Free Kleenex was offered before boarding the gondola. That’s a first!
We were headed up the line on the left with the first stop at Sunnegga, followed by another ride up to Blauherd.

Coming up next:  SWITZERLAND & ITALY #7:  ZERMATT & THE MAGINFICENT MATTERHORN (Part 2)

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