Up the Gornergrat to see the Matterhorn

It was dark when we left the Zürich HB on Saturday at 6:32 and dark when we returned at 19:something, but the rest of the day was as sunny as forecasted. Traveling to Zermatt takes two train transfers, and only the train can make it into the town. Cars must stop at Täsch, as there are (theoretically) no cars in Zermatt. The town lies at the end of this valley  and the train is the end of the line.

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Looking north at Täsch and Randa, the two towns just before you come to Zermatt

It was a holiday (All Saints Day) in the Catholic cantons, so I wasn’t sure if things would be running, but apparently the trains run every day. The Gornergrat Bahn, located conveniently across the street from the train station runs every hour or so, and we had a little time to spare to go to the Coop (open!) and buy some provisions, since I forgot our lunch back home. The ride to the top takes about a half hour, covering almost 5,000 feet of altitude. Those Swiss. We love that they have made it so easy to gain altitude nearly everywhere you want to go. IMG_6189 Somehow, without knowing it, we made it to the top during the best light. Before noon. At the top of the Gornergrat is an observatory along with various places to spend your money. Also some tremendous views. IMG_6088 IMG_6093 Although the Matterhorn is the main attraction, I was even more impressed and amazed at the multitude of glaciers. Opposite of the Matterhorn is actually the highest peak in Switzerland, Monte Rosa which tops out at 15,203 feet. The blue, blue skies and the snow made for some spectacular views. We took our time at the lookout point taking photos and just marveling at the beauty.

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Monte Rosa. The highest peak is the right-hand one. The Gorner Glacier is on the left side.

I decided to put up a separate photo album of the mountains because I don’t think that WordPress lets me put up larger photos in my blog. You can see it here. Unsure of what the Tagesteller in our SBB deal would be, we went to see what it would be and were pleasantly surprised. Pork schnitzel (not in the Austrian sense) with noodles and broccoli. I would call it stroganoff, and when you eat it at a cute little table with a clear view of the Matterhorn (photo not taken since there were people sitting in the window), well, it just doesn’t get a whole lot better than that. IMG_6126 After lunch and some more viewing, we hiked downhill from one bahn stop to another to get different views of the mountains and glaciers. (Side note: One year a Tuolumne Ranger in Yosemite taught us a song to the tune of Where is Thumbkin. It goes like this. Here in Tuolumne, you can hike, all the trails are downhill, ha ha ha. – My Swiss song might be: Here in Switzerland, you can hike, all the trails are downhill, if you like.”) Many people were out along the side of the mountain, enjoying the day along with us. IMG_6145 IMG_6162 IMG_6170 IMG_6188 We thought about taking the next trail down, called the Mark Twain Trail, but I knew that that extra trip would tax me too much because of the early morning start we’d had, so we grabbed the bahn the rest of the way back to Zermatt. Tomorrow…wandering Zermatt.

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