Switzerland
Gornergrat

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14 travelers at this place

  • Day8

    The Matterhorn

    September 11, 2018 in Switzerland ⋅ 🌧 13 °C

    Today has been another busy day. I’m currently sitting in the garden on the Alpenrose Hotel in Wengen writing this. It’s 6:30pm and the sun is just disappearing behind a mountain. I can hear cowbells.

    Today was purely set aside for travel from Zermatt to Wengen but when I looked at the travel time (3 hours) and the checkin time (4-7) I realised I had time to look around the Zermatt area. Unfortunately I didn’t have time to do both Gornergrat and Kleine Matterhorn. Gornergrat offered better views but Kleine Matterhorn offered snow to touch (and a different, some say disappointing view of the Matterhorn). I went with the experts on TripAdvisor and took the cog railway to Gornergrat. My cabin on the train was filled with Americans on a National Geographic tour. Fortunately they had a very loud and informative tour guide so I got the info as well.

    It took about half an hour to get up to the top. It’s 3135m at the top and for the first time I noticed the thinness of the air. My walking poles came in very handy for the short walks I did at the top. My knees have been giving me a lot of trouble the whole trip but the poles definitely make it easier on my knees.

    The views were spectacular. I can see why the Matterhorn was a challenge to be conquered but (from a distance anyway) it looks like sheer rock. I had a 360 degree view and the photos I took will not do the views justice. I did however finally learn how to take a panoramic photo on my phone. I’ve only had my phone for 2 years.

    On the way back to the hotel I came across the Zermatt graveyard. One section is for graves and memorials to those who have died while climbing in the region. Apparently a group of 7 where the first to get to the top of the Matterhornin 1865. One member slipped on the way down and took three others with him. The rope broke or all would have been killed. The graveyard was quite poignant.

    I had stored my luggage at the hotel while I did this so I returned to the hotel to pick it up and got a lift to the station. Apparently they are only allowed to pick up/drop you off at the station when you check in or out. The station was only a 15 min walk so easy without luggage. As I was waiting for the driver a man came to the desk and was wanting a lift to the station. When it was explained they weren’t allowed to give him one he asked for a taxi. The receptionist said by the time it arrived he could walk there plus it would cost 15-18 Swiss francs. I told him I had just walked it no trouble so he grudgingly decided to walk. I left him demanding instructions on how to get there. Google maps is great!

    I had just over half an hour before my train so I had lunch at an Italian place at the railway station. The wait staff seemed to be speaking Italian so I ordered Gorgonzola gnocchi. It was very nice.

    The trip from Zermatt to Wengen was mainly uneventful. It was quite hot. I’d worn my jacket up to Gornergrat but as soon as I did some walking I took it off and didn’t put it back on again. It was apparently zero degrees at Gornergrat. As I’ve said before the cold is very different to the cold at home.

    I spent most of the trip trying to undo the padlock on my suitcase. I’m travelling with a suitcase, backpack and handbag. To carry my walking sticks I use my backpack so I emptied it and only put in the things I would need today. As I was checking out I put my handbag in my suitcase. Absentmindedly I put my purse with the key for the suitcase lock in my handbag which I only realised once I’d locked my case. The owner of the hotel managed to open the lock with a pair of pliers which made me wonder about the effectiveness of the lock. All good? Yeah it would have been but I tested the lock and it seemed to work so I put it back on my suitcase. I used it again at the train station with no problems. Once on the train I tried to open the lock to get my iPad out and realised it was broken. Of course I did what most people do, kept trying and trying and trying, getting more frustrated in the process. I debated trying to find someone in Interlaken to remove it but I was hot, tired and frustrated so I left it until I got to to the hotel.
    The porter had no problem using his hacksaw to remove the lock. He’s done it before.

    On the train from Lauterbrunnen to Wengen I sat next to a Canadian woman. She heard me call the hotel to ask them to pick me up from the train station and did the same. She is staying at the same hotel as me. We had a lovely chat on the way up. She’s visiting her nephew who lives in Zurich and is just staying two nights.
    We are going to have dinner together shortly as we both have half board (breakfast and dinner). Half board is great. I had it last night in Zermatt and you get a 4 or 5 course meal with only two choices. Last night I was so tired it was lovely to not to have to think too hard about what I wanted to eat. I even chose the tomato soup of the beef carpaccio which normally I would have because it is something different. One of the courses is also salad. Last night they called it a rich salad buffet. I rolled my eyes. It it was rich. They had a prawn salad as well as 7 or 8 other creamy salads plus plain salad veg. I would have been just happy with the salad course.

    Time to go inside as it’s starting to get cold. I’m just waiting for Irene to come down so we can have dinner.

    All the photos except the last are of the Matterhorn.
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  • Day38

    The Most Amazing Day of All

    October 25, 2018 in Switzerland ⋅ ☁️ 9 °C

    I seem to have been repeating myself lately. Perhaps it is a sign of extreme old age, or maybe it's because I am running out of superlatives when trying to describe the scenery we have been enjoying every day. There is only a limited number of times you can use words like "amazing", "spectacular" or "breathtaking", before they become depreciated.

    What I will say is that today has been one of the most memorable days of my entire life. Allan and I began early with a trip on the cog railway from Zermatt to Gornergrat. This is a famous scenic location that offers 360 degree views of the surrounding mountain peaks.

    Although the Matterhorn is the most famous, and certainly the most recognisable of these peaks, it is actually not the highest. There are several others in this region that are considerably taller. Allan and I climbed to the highest point we could find and were thrilled that we had the place to ourselves. We spent the next 30 minutes just taking in the surroundings and pinching ourselves to make sure we weren't dreaming.

    Once again the weather was absolutely perfect, with blue skies, warm sunshine and no wind whatsoever. It was such a peaceful location to just sit and be thankful that we had this opportunity witness such beauty in such ideal conditions. Apparently this run of fine weather is coming to a dramatic halt this weekend. Plunging temperatures and snow is predicted for this region, but today you would not believe it.

    I found a lovely narrow alpine track along a ridge line and decided to follow it for some distance. On either side there were steep slopes disappearing down into the values below. I guess that is why the signs warned that the path was not suitable for anyone with vertigo. In the shady patches there was still a lot of hard ice, which made the walking a little treacherous. Fortunately I only came to grief once, and that didn't really count as I only fell onto one knee and not my backside.

    I found another isolated and elevated position and just sat and admired what was all around me. There is nothing like this in Australia and I was so glad that we had made the decision to spend this time in Switzerland. As I sat I could hear distant sounds from way down in the valley below me. Overhead white vapour trails marked the paths followed by numerous aircraft crisscrossing their flights across Europe.

    I could also hear something else. I think it was the sound of crackling forming on the top of my head and face. I had somehow stupidly left my hat in the hotel and I could feel the powerful rays of the sun burning their way into my exposed skin. It was time to head back.

    After a celebratory coffee and strudel at the summit restaurant we caught the train back as far as the first station. From there we walked to the Rippelsee, a lake that provides beautiful reflections of the Matterhorn. We then decided to continue our walk past another lake which had frozen solid and then down the hill to Rippleberg Station. The steep descent really tested my legs, but I could not help but feel that we were so privileged to have been able to share a day like this together.

    Tomorrow we catch the train to Geneva for our final night in this country, then it will be time to begin the long journey home. It has been a trip full of diverse experiences and I feel almost overwhelmed with the huge storehouse of memories I will be carrying home with me. That is the main reason that I have kept this blog. I hope also that those who are reading this have been sharing some of the trip with us.
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  • Day48

    Gornergrat

    July 27, 2016 in Switzerland ⋅ 🌫 9 °C

    The Gornergrat is one of those places that everyone should visit at least once in a lifetime.

    The observation platform is accessible all year, the Gornergrat is at an altitude of 3,089 m, has been one of Switzerland’s top excursion destinations since 1898.

  • Day48

    Glaciers

    July 27, 2016 in Switzerland ⋅ 🌫 10 °C

    The panorama is among the finest in the world. The views take in the Monte Rosa with Switzerland’s highest peak Dufourspitze, 4,634 m and the second-largest glacier in the Alps. The Gorner Glacier and a total of 29 mountains above 4,000 m and the Matterhorn in all its glory.

  • Day48

    Lunch with a View

    July 27, 2016 in Switzerland ⋅ 🌫 10 °C

    Starting to get hungry so we walk up the summit to the Hotel at Europe’s highest altitude for lunch .

    We sat outside under blankets to take in the view of the Glaciers, mountains and of course the Matterhorn.

    Lunch was very nice, a fondue and an Aperol Spitz. When in switzerland you must dine like the Swiss.

    It was a very enjoyable day.
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  • Day36

    Zermatt 1

    July 3, 2017 in Switzerland ⋅ 🌙 4 °C

    We had decided to come to Zermatt due to a promising weather forecast. After the cloudy, cool and windy day before, today looked much better. Everything is very expensive in Zermatt, so with some help from the tourist info centre we made a plan for the day which involved buying tickets to the top on the Gornergrat Express and part of the way back down. A return ticket to the top costs 94 Swiss Francs, or about AU$130.

    We left the train at Riffelberg and followed walk 19 via Riffelsee to re-board the train at Rotenboden. We saw large groups walking on other trails but almost had our trail to ourselves until we got to Riffelsee where you see a reflection of the Matterhorn in the lake.

    We had a coffee at Gornergrat, sitting in brilliant sunshine. When we moved to get away from a smoker we got talking to a local couple who have spent a total of 6 years in Australia. After coffee we walked up to the panoramic viewpoint nearby, then caught the train down to Riffelalp where we followed the number 21 walk to the top of the SunneggaExpress, an underground funicular railway.

    We didn't have tickets for the Sunnegga, but had been told we could take it to the bottom and buy a ticket there. There was some problem with the train, so we joined the large number of people sitting on the cold damp steps from which you board the steeply sloping train. After an hour the problem was apparently fixed and we were allowed to board. In France we have yet to have our tickets checked on any train or tram. In Switzerland you pay or you walk, with conductors checking tickets on every train, and at Zermatt your electronic ticket is required to get either on or off every lift or train.

    We suggested to the man supervising the exit gates that, since we had waited for a full hour due to a fault, perhaps he could just let us out without having to buy tickets. He didn't take too much persuading and opened the gate for us.

    Dinner included a very nice bratwurst from the barbeque in front of the butcher shop.

    So many wildflowers I have created a Google Photos album: https://goo.gl/photos/mYWQYmBUcTvSTi517

    11km 511mts climbing
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  • Day5

    Gornergrat and the Matterhorn

    June 23, 2016 in Switzerland ⋅ ☀️ 11 °C

    Cog railway station at end of the main street took me up to Gornergrat, a 30 minute ride through 4 intermediate stations. Matterhorn with blue sky beyond, a postcard perfect picture. It was 10000ft at top viewing area, air felt crisp and clean, but still quite warm. I took train back down to Rotenboten station for short walk to Riffelsee Lake. The Matterhorn was brilliantly reflected in the glacial waters. Could anywhere be more beautiful? I hiked down to the next train station, taking a wrong turning at one point due to a lack to signs, got back on the right trail and had to cross a section of deep soft snow blocking my way, with hot sun overhead. This is such a wonderful place to hike, not many people around, the peace of the mountains, and that Matterhorn view making you want to keep looking at it because it is just so beautiful.Read more

You might also know this place by the following names:

Gornergrat, غورنيرغات, Gornergrato, ゴルナーグラート, 戈爾內格拉特

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