Breathtaking.  Absolutely breathtaking!  As I took in the view, I remembered back to when I was a small child growing up in Lakewood, California, eighteen miles from Disneyland.  Back then, Disneyland issued ticket books, and the rides were categorized by ticket letters.  An “A” ticket ride was a yawner, but an “E” ticket was the most coveted— your ticket to the best rides (with the longest lines).  My brother and I always made a beeline for the “Matterhorn,” a roller coaster ride that took you by bobsled in and around the mountain.  At the time, I didn’t know there was a real Matterhorn in Switzerland; I just thought it was a thrilling Disneyland ride!

Here we were seeing the real thing, as close as we could get without getting in the snow and hiking to it.  What a sight to behold!  The highest point is at an elevation of 14,691 feet and we were viewing it from Trockener Steg at 9,642 ft.  And, we had the entire viewing deck to ourselves for a while.  Where was everybody?

Our tour leader, Susy, sharing information about the Matterhorn to our group of nine travelers.
Not your typical souvenir! The Matterhorn was inside this bar glass.
Taking in the views from the gondola on our way back down.

On the way back down, we all got off at the Furi gondola station.  The group decided to stop at the restaurant for a snack before deciding whether to ride the gondola back down to Zermatt or hike the remainder of the way.  As we settled in, I gazed out the window and saw nothing but clouds.  The beautiful blue sky was shrouded by those clouds I had seen roll in earlier that morning, which meant the Matterhorn was now white on white—that is, if you could see it at all.  We celebrated our good fortune of having seen it during the morning before the clouds rolled in!

To save his aching knee (most likely, another meniscus tear acquired during our Patagonia trip), Bruce opted to ride the gondola back to town.  I hiked the three miles back—or at least I had hoped to “hike,” but I ended up on a paved road the entire way.  Still, it was a beautiful walk, and I was able to find some interesting subjects to photograph:

Susy said to follow the Zermatt signs back down to town, but there were three different paths. Which one would lead to where I would be meeting Bruce? It was an adventure, but I managed to get there!

Scenes along the 3-mile hike back down to Zermatt:

Those clouds I mentioned earlier? There they are! This is that white-on-white I was talking about; snow against a mucky sky. Zermatt is in the valley off in the distance, and where I was headed during my solo hike.

After meeting back up in town, Bruce and I visited the small historic quarter on Hinterdorfstasse.  The 17th century wooden homes, barns and sheds were so interesting.  Some had been renovated, others left as is.

It had been such a magical day!  We were so grateful to have experienced such a wonderful week in Switzerland, especially this day.