Sunday – We are going to Zermatt, the Matterhorn ski area today. More wonderful views of tranquil villages as we climb higher and higher. As we get closer to the area we start seeing many hand gliders floating in the sky, I would love to do this! The weather couldn’t be better, the sun is shining without any clouds. We are going to stay the night up here so first thing is to book into the hotel. The village of Zermatt reminds me of Whistler except most of the buildings are the traditional Swiss design and many have been here for over 100 years. Our boutique hotel is family owned and operated and includes dinner and breakfast. It’s a two bedroom with one bedroom a loft with its own bathroom. We have a view of the Matterhorn from our balcony! The loft has an angled roof of huge wood beams, a king size bed with cozy duvets and totally modern bathroom. The lobby is cozy with a fireplace and colourful easy chairs covered in sheep skins, with coffee and tea set out in elegant urns. But first to the mountain. A tram took us the 45 min. ride up to Gornergrat where 29 peaks surround us – The Matterhorn among them. Against this backdrop we eat our picnic lunch of the traditional bread and cheese. Fed and full of energy we hike down the mountain to a little lake that has the reflection of the Matterhorn in it. This is special because you have to have sun and no wind to get a good reflection. Apparently they had a poor summer and this weather is spectacular for the end of September, 75 degrees and calm. Hiking a little further we stopped at a little chalet to have a snack and were able to rest our tired feet and relax in lawn chairs sitting in the sun with a view of the mountains all around. Back at the hotel we went for a quick swim and then to dinner which was a 5 course meal with china and silver, old world style and service, Conrad would have loved it! The owner of this hotel also owns 300 sheep which roam around the village, so of course we had lamb. What a special treat.
In the morning we took 3 gondolas up to the ‘Little’ Matterhorn which is next to the ‘Big’ Matterhorn (only accessible to very brave mountain climbers). At the top we took an elevator inside the mountain to the very point at the top. It was so cold and windy at this small look out, but the view of the glaciers was spectacular. From the top of this mountain you can take chair lifts to several ski runs making skiing possible year round. There is also an entrance to an ice tunnel that leads into the actual glacier where they have several ice carvings with coloured lights to illuminate them. Cool! 🙂 We watched a short movie of two brothers who have hiked up all the tallest mountains. They acknowledged God several times as they are so conscious of the extreme risks they take every time they tackle a new mountain. This trip up the mountain was an experience, and I felt quite emotional as we tried to take in the majesty of God’s creation, feeling so small against it all. Back at the coffee shop we realized that Mike had left his backpack on the main gondola on our way up and Beda’s cell phone was in there. Going back down we checked at the transfer station and someone had handed it in. Thank you to the Swiss for being honest. What a fabulous little side trip.