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    • Day 41

      Zermatt - Part Two

      August 20, 2023 in Switzerland ⋅ ⛅ 22 °C

      It’s a sleepy Sunday and I’m shattered after yesterday so I decide to have an easy day. I find myself a pub to watch the Lionesses take on Spain in the World Cup Final and am amazed by how many people are supporting the match. From families to older men on their own, everyone’s invested- I never thought I’d see the day that women’s football had so much support!
      A middle aged Swiss guy sits at the bar making excited noises every time something happens. England has the ball? ‘Uufffff’. Spain’s charging up the pitch? ‘Oooooohhheee’. The ref makes a call he doesn’t agree with? A giant guttural ‘Yohhhh’. Eventually Spain score and he lets out a roaring ecstatic yell before politely apologising to everyone in the bar around him… how very Swiss 😂

      Following the match I head to the Zermatt Museum. The museum acts as a time capsule to the town but also to some of the previous Matterhorn summits and attempts. Much time is spent on the first summit, in which 4 men lost their lives. No one really knows what happened on the descent but much mystery surrounds it with the 3 survivors muddying each others names as to their role in the tragedy. The museum houses artefacts from the expedition from the broken rope that claimed the lives of the 4 men, to the boots controversial English survivor, Edward Whymper wore.

      After the museum I take a wander through the town and stumble across the mountaineer’s cemetery. Lying in the shadow of the Matterhorn, and housing the remains of many who have died in chase of the summit and many like it, it’s a somber reminder of just how dangerous these pursuits can be. One grave, with a red ice axe on the headstone reads ‘I chose to climb’. A striking statement which highlights that many of these mountaineers knew the risk they were taking and chose to take it any way.

      Having soaked in the sights of Zermatt, I can’t quite decide what to do with the rest of the afternoon but I’m in the mood for a short hike. I find myself a geocache lying just out of town. For the uninitiated, geocaching is like a rather geeky global treasure hunt. People hide ‘caches’ and others seek out to find them, often using coordinates, or sometimes clues. They range from simple Tupperware tubs to fake snails, rocks or screws disguised in plain sight. You’ll almost definitely have walked past some without knowing. Some are easy to find, some require a little more creativity or skill to find. There’s even one on the peak of the Matterhorn… but it’ll need to wait for next time 😉 Today’s route takes me out and above Zermatt. I walk along roads and scramble up paths and eventually find myself above the helipad of Air Zermatt just as a helicopter comes in. I spot where I think the cache is and make my way off path and up the side of a slope. The ground is alive with crickets and bugs and I curse myself for not wearing insect repellent but here we are. I sit for a while, cache in hand and take in the view feeling incredibly lucky to be here. Cache obtained, its time to head back down and I scramble rather inelegantly to the bottom. (Miraculously, I make it out with just one insect sting… hazards of the job).

      Back down on solid ground I walk along the river Vispa which flows through Zermatt. It’s a powdery blue colour and brings with it cold a whoosh of cold air that’s significantly colder than the temperature of Zermatt today. It’s made up of glacial run off which explains its cold constitution and it’s incredibly full as it runs through Zermatt with some real power. My mind wanders to the impact of climate change on the glaciers around here and I wonder if that’s contributing to the force of the river. But before I can dwell too long on it, I’m faced with another incredibly view of the Matterhorn. I take some photos and sit for ages to watch the moon set behind the mountains. I have the sneaking suspicion that I’m going to have a hard job tearing myself away from these mountains tomorrow…

      (P.S a little behind with updates at the moment but I’m catching up so bear with me!)
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    • Day 2

      Breithorn Occidentale 4.165 m

      October 30, 2022 in Switzerland ⋅ ☁️ 2 °C

      Dalla cima del Breithorn Centrale, alcuni di noi hanno proseguito per la cresta Ovest, che inizialmente scende all’ampia sella che separa i Breithorn Centrale ed Occidentale, risalendo poi al Breithorn Occidentale.

      Io e la mia cordata abbiamo optato di scendere 200 m per la traccia di salita fino al bivio da dove parte la normale al Breithorn Occidentale. Risalita la normale, ci siamo trovati tutti in cima!

      Riscendiamo poi per la via di salita.
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    • Day 8

      Častni krog pod Metterhornom

      July 22, 2023 in Italy ⋅ ☀️ 7 °C

      Sva šla danes na Sprehod nad Cervinom. Najprej z gondolo na koto 2.550, potem pa še dobrih 200 metrov više do planinske koče.

      Je zgledal sprehod v fazi planiranja bolj enostaven, na koncu pa se je nabralo precej metrov v hrib, ki sva jih dodala gondoli.

      Imela sva delno oblačno in precej vetrovno vreme, tako da je bilo slačenja in oblačenja precej. Noge naju bolijo, kot da bi midva odtekla nek gorski tek, ki so ga odtekli (brez gondole) gore-dole še pred nama tekaški intuzijasti.

      Sobota ni ravno za v posh centre it, ker je bil Cervino poln že od osmih naprej in imela sva srečo, da sva Coniglia stlačila nekam ob kontejner.

      Zdaj počivava na nekem piknik placu, mogoče bova zmogla zvečer kak qwirkel ali dva.
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    • Day 113

      Lost in the Swiss Alps!

      July 12, 2022 in Switzerland ⋅ ⛅ 50 °F

      Miles: 15.7!! A new high
      Steps: 35989
      Flights stairs: 29

      Zermatt is an amazing city - it’s carless! There are a few vehicles but only for businesses, buses and taxis - and they must be electric. It sits at the base of the Matterhorn and people flock here to hike and to climb - and these are serious hikers and climbers. 3000 people attempt the climb every year - 500 have died since 1865.

      There are at least 8 different cable cars going up into the mountains surrounding the Matterhorn - and a scenic train that climbs to the very top of the mountain next to it. Unfortunately, we’re in the most expensive city, in one of the most expensive countries in the world. So .. can’t do all we’d want to. I wish we could have stayed here a week!

      But we read all the literature, found a moderate difficulty level hike, and went for it! We picked the “Matterhorn Glacier trail” which all the information people said was a good choice for our abilities. We took two cable cars to get to the top (10,000 ft) then we hiked 4 miles in about 3 hrs around the base of the Matterhorn. It was phenomenal. Then we decided instead of taking the cable car back down to town, we’d attempt a second trail. Should have been 3 miles, about 2 more hours. All down hill, supposed to be a mountain “stroll” - figured, why not? Well, it wasn’t very well marked and we got lost … really lost. Eventually we were off the trails heading straight down steep hills just trying to get to the river, which we figured we could follow to town.

      In the end, after I had another tumble in the gravel, we made it back, obviously. The entire trip tho, which should have been about 7 miles, 5 hours … clocked in at 15.6 miles and 8 hours!!

      We’re both in a lot of pain tonight - but oh what memories we made trying to get off that mountain! And … I think I’d do it again if I ever got the chance!!
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    • Day 2

      Day 120: Nothing Else Mattershorn

      May 9 in Switzerland ⋅ ⛅ 25 °F

      There are a few ways to see Matterhorn, one of the tallest summits in Europe. There is a scenic train, a gondola (also used by skiers), and you can see it from the town. Online sources agreed the gondola was worth it so we forked over the money for the trams. We desperately wanted to ski as well, but we didn’t have our gear or clothes so the rentals and jackets alone wasn’t worth the price.

      Visiting the gondola station the previous day, we power walked from the train and jumped on the next car. The gondola dipped up and down, and Kieran started to get motion sickness. We climb high enough that the casual skiers were hopping off, and we got very sad. We jumped off with them and took time to appreciate the slopes while Mary ate some snow. We finally make it to the top station at 3838 m and Kieran is feeling the altitude sickness. There is a panoramic viewing platform where you can see mountains and snow for miles.

      Across from Matterhorn is a huge slope where skiers must climb with gear and eventually ski down. We were excited to watch the skiers execute their runs and a man next to us says, “I have something for you” and pulls out some powerful binoculars. Mary immediately notices he has a Bethany Beach jacket, complements him, and says we are from Baltimore. Surprise Surprise he’s from Baltimore too! We spent an hour talking to Ron Goldstein outside on the viewing platform about travel, Baltimore, and life. We talk so long we get cold and need to get Ron on his way to Italy.

      The gondola pass also includes free entry into the Matterhorn Glacier Paradise Ice Castle which is carved into the glacier. We walk through pretty quickly because we lost all our heat talking to Ron. The ride down messed Kieran up and we needed food/water/rest immediately. Grabbed a half chicken from the grocery store and just sat at a park watching kids play ball.

      Kieran wanted to hike more, but we decided this was a bad idea and got him home. It was the right decision as Kieran either had food poisoning or altitude sickness the remainder of the evening.

      Matterhorn Glacier Paradise
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    • Day 24

      Run day: Zermatt to Gornergrat

      July 1, 2023 in Switzerland ⋅ ☁️ 8 °C

      The long awaited day is finally upon us. We started training for the Top20 half-marathon run in April.

      Our day started early, with a quick warm up and stretch; still overcast, but not raining or too cool. We did a light jog along the river. After a good stretch, had a light breakfast and headed to the race start location for 9am.

      We started near the back, and slowly meandered our way forward.

      J slowed down as the road incline increased, while A took off like a gazelle. Around the 7 km mark the road levelled out, and J picked up speed, but A was no where in sight. For the next 8km, the route was a combination of road and narrow trail. For the most part, only a slight incline.

      J finally caught up to A after km 15, just passed Riffelboden. Here the route got insanely vertical. From then on things got really gruelling. At this point "running" was just a notion, it was a chore just to get one foot in from of the other. J attempted a slow jog for a short stretch and quickly realized that walking was a better use of energy. A's ambitions of walking a bit faster were squashed by quads and hamstrings threatening to seize up! 😵‍💫

      A typical half marathon is 21.4km, this route was 22.1km... Every twist and crest became the next milestone. It was a bit deflating when the finish line became apparent at the top of Gornergrant. But in the end we both made across! The things we put ourselves through for a "finishers" tshirt 👕🤣

      It was an incredibly beautiful course to complete! This finish line is the highest for an event in Europe, 3089m!

      After some half-hearted stretching, and refreshments, took the train back to Riffelberg to pick up our clothes bags, and shower. The shower space was more like a prison or military shower setup: four rows of shower jets with space for about 40. The warm water felt amazing!

      We then headed over for our free beer🍻. It was terrible 🤢 We found a gopher🐿️ hole to dispose of the rest after a couple sips 🤣 Probably not a bad thing considering soon after J's stomach started to protest. We followed his nose to a Weiner stand, they wanted 9CHF for a slice of bread and sausage. All we had were Euros that they didn't accept, which is strange as its on parity and an international event 😕

      The train down was very hot and over crowded with tourists and runners. It was a challenge to stay upright and get to the bottom. By this point J was very naustious, and crouching near the floor. Once at the bottom, A grabbed a few food items from the store, and we headed back to our accommodations for a quiet restful night homemade Bratwurst and some rose wine.
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    • Day 8


      April 6, 2023 in Switzerland ⋅ ⛅ -7 °C

      Am nächsten Tag ist das Wetter richtig gut und deshalb gönne ich mir die nächste Zahnradbahn auf den Berg. Bei der Gornergratbahn gibt es gar keinen Interrail-Rabatt, sie kostet "nur" 88 CHF hin und zurück.
      Den Ausflug mache ich zusammen mit meinem Zimmernachbarn aus Finnland.
      Und es hat sich gelohnt. Ich würde sogar sagen Gornergrat ist noch besser als Jungfraujoch. Zum einen sieht man auf der ganzen Fahrt das Matterhorn, zum anderen hat man oben mehr Platz zum herumlaufen.
      Im Ticket inklusive ist eine kleine Erlebniswelt mit drei Attraktionen: ein Video über die Jahreszeiten am Matterhorn, projeziert auf eine Leinwand die geformt ist wie der Berg, digitale Periskope mit denen man das Panorama beobachten kann und ein VR Paraglidingflug in einem schwingend aufgehängtem Sessel.
      Aber das Highlight ist natürlich das Bergpanorama und der spektakuläre Blick aufs Matterhorn.
      Den Rückweg machen wir zum Teil zu Fuß, im oberen Teil im Schnee, weiter unten durch den Wald, immer das Horn im Blick.
      Zum Abschluss des gelungene Tages gibts noch ein paar Bier in Zermatt 🍻
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    • Day 30

      Riffelberg - Gornergratt

      September 3, 2022 in Switzerland ⋅ ⛅ 7 °C

      Ticked off another hike in Switzerland 😍 we took the train from Interlaken to Zermatt and saw snow peaked mountains, glaciers, AND the matterhorn (unfortunately not in all of its glory because it was hiding behind the clouds). From Zermatt, we took a train up to Riffelberg and then walked down along the glacier and then back UP to the peak of Gornergratt (the hike up was a trek). The elevation gain was about 700m and the total hike up was roughly 7km. Absolutely stunning. Then at the top, we did some broke-student-budget mischief and broke a couple rules by "picnicking" inside the hotel (stealth mode kept us out of trouble😂). From the home you could see huts that people were camping out at. My dream.Read more

    • 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 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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    You might also know this place by the following names:

    Zermatt, زيرمات, Цермат, সেরম্যাট, Τσερμάτ, زرمات, Prât-Borgno, צרמט, ツェルマット, ცერმატი, Церматт, 체르마트, Pratobornum, Cermatas, 采尔马特

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