The MatterhornSeptember 11 in Switzerland
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 notice 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 to 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.Read more