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    • Day 40

      Gornergrat, Riffelsee and the Matterhorn

      August 19, 2023 in Switzerland ⋅ ☁️ 16 °C

      It’s 3 minutes past nine and I’m sat in the station half asleep and waiting on the most expensive train ride I’ll probably ever take. The Gornergrat Bahn is the highest (and oldest functioning) open air railway in Europe. It takes passengers up to the rocky ridge of Gornergrat at 3100 meters. As I board I ask the conductor if the windows open, he doesn’t understand me at first and so I point to the window beside me and mime opening them. He wins the game of charades and tells me confidently that ‘no, they are closed’. I’m a little miffed that the windows don’t open but as I sit in my seat I decide to give it a shot and sure enough, the window opens… as do all the windows in the carriage. Heavens knows what the conductor thought I was asking.

      The moment we start to climb, I get my first full view of the Matterhorn and I’m absolutely smitten. There’s something about these iconic mountain peaks that just leaves you in awe. And while I have no desire to actually scale the thing, I can understand the obsession that the first climbers must have had in the pursuit of getting to the summit.

      The peak of the Gornergrat overlooks the Matterhorn as well as the Gorner glacier. You can see the path that the glacier has taken over time, the movement somehow visible in frozen ice. I spend ages gawking and taking photos, grinning the whole time. My plan is to hike down but first I take a wander around the visitor centre on the top. First stop is to buy water, since I realised once I was on the train that I’d made a rookie error and left the bottle I’d filled up, in the hostel toilet 🤦🏻‍♀️
      Water (presumably infused with caviar given that it costs me £4.50) in hand, I stumble across a little chapel and then find my way into the visitors centre. It’s filled with stories of Matterhorn ascents- solo ascents with just teddy bears for company (‘exactly the mental support needed’ according to the climber), the ascent of the future pope in 1889, the oldest ascent (89 years old) to the youngest (8 years old). I find a room with hanging seats and VR headsets and next thing I know I’m virtually paragliding around the Matterhorn.

      On the top of the Gornergrat there’s a number of shops. Some selling standard touristy T-shirts and badges, others selling Swiss watches, chocolate and cheese. I stumble across one selling Swiss Army Knives and after a quick flashback to breaking into Rosie’s safe box in Girona, I realise that if I need one souvenir from Switzerland (and this trip), it’s a Swiss Army knife (after all, a girl can never have too many knives 💅🏼💁🏻‍♀️). I pick out the one I want and the saleswoman tells me it’s free engraving if there’s anything I want added. I write out the phrase ‘Per Ardua Ad Astra’. She smiles, plugs it into the machine and asks me ‘Latin? What does it mean’. I explain, ‘through hardship to the stars’ and that it was a phrase that took on huge personal significance when I was dealing with hyperthermia and my body going into shut down on a trek in Nepal. She asks me which route and next thing I know we’re chatting about the Annapurna region as she’s been trekking there too. She notes that she had an advantage with the altitude, working at 3000m daily. She asks where I’m from and when I say Scotland she tells me I know mountains too then. I make a noncommittal noise and tell her not like this. She laughs and says the grass is always greener, ‘when you’re Swiss you think Scotland is wonderful and when you’re Scottish you think Switzerland is wonderful’. I laugh politely all while thinking that while I love Scotland and our mountains, they’re not quite like this.

      Budget firmly drained, I begin the descent. I hop down a station on the train to find the trailhead and then after topping up with suncream it’s down we go. The hike takes me down facing the Matterhorn most of the way, with the odd detour to see lakes, flanked once again with the Matterhorn. The route is absolutely gorgeous, the weather is perfect and I’m fairly sure I smile all the way. What should have been an hour and a half’s hike turns into hours as I can barely move 100m without wanting to take another photo. Eventually though I make it down to the station I need to get to and hop on the last section of the train down to Zermatt and fall straight into bed.
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    • Day 82

      My Amazing Wife

      July 16, 2022 in Switzerland ⋅ ☀️ 54 °F

      We have had such a fantastic trip. 12 weeks, 14 countries, 23 destinations, and it was all planned and executed by my amazing wife!

      She managed all of our transportation, accommodations, activities and still had such a great spirit of adventure. It was infectious! This trip took many months to plan, but it went so smoothly. I'm truly in awe of her abilities.

      These are a few photos I captured at various places along our journey. Some of them are candid shots of her leading us on our trails, making us laugh and taking the photos for us to remember.

      I'm just so thankful that I have such a beautiful, intelligent and fun wife. I love you Amy Dent Beebe! - Sean
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    • Day 3

      Die Eroberung des Whirlpools

      April 11, 2022 in Switzerland ⋅ ☀️ 2 °C

      Nach einem ausführlichen Frühstück waren wir noch nicht ganz sicher, was wir mit dem Tag anfangen sollen. Nachdem der Whirlpool gestern dauerbesetzt war, fiel die Entscheidung aber dann doch recht leicht...ab in den Wellnessbereich und rein in den Pool - wir waren ganz alleine unten, das restliche Hotel war wohl auf der Skipiste - gut so...steh ja nach wie vor nicht so auf Menschen!

      Nachdem wir ganz durchgegart und schrumpelig waren, machten wir uns ausgehfein. Vorher noch einen kurzen Abstecher in den Hotelshop und das Shoppingbudget in eine weiße Softshelljacke investiert - sowas braucht man unbedingt und weiß ist irre praktisch 🙈 naja wir gönnen uns ja sonst nix

      (glatt gelogen, wir gönnen uns ständig - aber klingt halt gut )

      Also einmal die Shoppingmeile rauf und runter, paar Souvenirs geschossen (ohne Mitbringsel verlässt Rainer keinen Urlaubsort) und auf dem Rückweg noch in den Hinterhöfen und Nebenstraßen Zermatts verlaufen und uns an der Frage aufgehängt, wie die da oben am Berg in ihre Hotels kommen ohne das Sherpas denen die Koffer da raufschleppen...

      Nachtrag: Es gibt da tatsächlich Tunnel und Aufzüge, die das regeln!

      Sonnenbrand im Gesicht gab es gratis dazu ☀️
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    • Day 3


      April 11, 2022 in Switzerland ⋅ ☁️ 0 °C

      Das Abendessen bekommt jetzt hier einen extra Platz - einfach um noch einmal hervorzuheben, wie genial es ist, sich richtig geiles Essen frisch gekocht aufs Zimmer bringen zu lassen. Ich feier das einfach, weil - naja wir müssen nicht nochmal über mein gespaltenes Verhältnis zu Menschen und ihrer Anwesenheit reden 😅 Guten Appetit 🍽🍷Read more

    • Day 63

      Zermatt Switzerland Matterhorn Hike

      July 10, 2022 in Switzerland ⋅ ☀️ 15 °C

      Today we got up early and hit the trail not long after sunrise to tackle the Zermatt Edelweiss Hohbalmen hike. It's a grueling 20km loop trail that rewarded us with great views of the Swiss Alps, Zermatt, wildflowers and Matterhorn along the turns. We stopped at a few huts for their homebrewed cold tea which was a berry and mint tea. We even rewarded ourselves with homemade apple strudel once we made it past the first sharp incline. It was beautiful out, with fresh mountain air, scenic waterfalls and even a mountain goat we spotted way up high.Read more

    • Day 82


      July 16, 2022 in Switzerland ⋅ ☀️ 57 °F

      We hiked up to the suspension bridge (hangebrucke) just for fun of crossing it. There was an ultra race was happening at the same time and many runners were coming down. Willow skipped out since the trail was through grass.Read more

    • Day 82

      Matterhorn Glacier Paradise

      July 16, 2022 in Switzerland ⋅ ☀️ 54 °F

      This really is a paradise - and it will literally take your breath away at 12,740 feet!

      We summited Klein by taking an elevator up and then walking up a few steps. I'm sure that those brave souls who first climbed these peaks were giving us major side eye.

      If you look closely, you can see people hiking across the glacier and then up Breithorn. This has now been added to my bucket list!
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    • Day 84

      One Last Hike In Zermatt

      July 18, 2022 in Switzerland ⋅ ☀️ 55 °F

      I took one last hike in the morning before leaving Zermatt. I went on the trail by Gorner Gorge up past Blatten and Zum See and nearly to Furi.
      I took some pictures of the church in Blatten. Some of the trails were lined with flowers on both sides.
      I'm going to miss Zermatt! - Sean
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    • Day 3


      April 22, 2022 in Switzerland ⋅ ⛅ 0 °C

      Beim Erkunden des Skigebietes (ohne Ski) gestern hat es Sven sprichwörtlich in den Beinen gejuckt.... Also muss er heute auf die Piste....Bedingung ist aber die Panoramafahrt mit der Gornergrat Bahn... Seltsamerweise sind hier die Tagesskipässe etwas preiswerter als eine Touristenfahrkarte (teuer ist beides trotzdem - aber der Ausblick unbezahlbar).... Das Wetter meint es weiter gut mit uns, die paar Wolken stören bei Temperaturen um die 0°C überhaupt nicht... Auf der Sonnenterrasse des Riffelberg dann eine Brotzeit mit (zumindest der Farbe nach) Rotkrautwurscht eingelegtRead more

    • Day 3


      April 11, 2022 in Switzerland ⋅ ☁️ 0 °C

      Nach einem Stück Kuchen 🍰 machten wir uns auf den Weg nach draußen.
      Kleiner Abendspaziergang Richtung Matterhorn, das hat nochmal richtig gut getan. Jetzt sitzen wir im Zimmer und warten auf ein letztes Abendessen mit dieser Traumaussicht ☀️Read more

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