Friday, August 10, 2012

Zermat, Switzerland, Friday, August 10, 2012 - The Answer for Houston in August

We will continue with our live update from Zermatt. We have enjoyed our day. We started in Kandersteg and took a cable car part way up a mountain and then walked to the Oeschinensee, a high mountain lake. It was about a20 minute walk and much was downhill. It was beautiful and then it was back up the hill (puff puff) and down the cable car. We were then off to Zermatt. The GPS took us into a train station within about 10 minutes. We paid our money and asked is this a tunnel or a train or what. She said a train and sure enough we drove onto a flat car and were off. It was about a 20 minute train ride right through the middle of the mountain. I am sure it saved a lot of driving. We then had about another hour drive that was beautiful and took us into the town of Tasch. You have to park in Tasch as no cars are allowed in Zermatt. I was worried about how we would figure this out, but it was immediately obvious. Tasch exists as a parking lot for Zermatt and you pull in, get a parking ticket and jump on a train the last 7 kilometers to Zermatt.

Truth be told, Kandersteg was a more beautiful town and was small. Zermatt, though, has the Matterhorn and about 200 hotels. There may be no cars, but there are lots of electric vehicles – one for each hotel, each restaurant and other purposes. There is a fair amount of construction with new hotels going up in multiple places. I was expecting more of a traditional setting, but not to be. It is beautiful though.

We took a series of cable cars and then a gondola to the top of the Klein Matterhorn (the small Matterhorn). And I mean the top – OK, within 200 feet of the top. The cable car takes you to 12,533 feet. You are in the middle of the Alps looking right across to the Matterhorn with some 38 other peaks over 13,000 feet all around you. It was a beautiful day and warm in Zermatt, but considerably cooler here. Then there was the glacier grotto. They have carved out a tunnel through one of the glaciers. They have also carved out a grotto with numerous ice sculptures. It wasn’t just cooler, it was down right freezing. Of course, Tyler is in a water polo T shirt and I am in a short sleeved shirt. When we bought our tickets, the sales person said we would have only an hour at the top and that would not be enough time to see everything. We went anyway and lasted less than 30 minutes in the grotto. We were frozen given that we were completely surrounded by ice. We then came out and walked out onto the snow. This is the answer to Houston’s heat.

We headed back down the mountain which takes nearly an hour. It will be on the highlight reel. A walk through the main section of Zermatt which is basically a series of shopping sites – some quite interesting though. Tyler enjoyed the Swiss knife stores. Dinner outsides and to our hotel where we were sitting on the porch watching the Matterhorn and the changing light on it, plus clouds drifting by.  Zermatt has been on my list since seeing the old Disney movie “Third Man on the Mountain”. The town is nothing like what was in there, but the mountain and scenery certainly are. By the way, there was an old church in town which we naturally had to visit.

Boarding the Train through the mountain

A huge sprinkler

Slate Roofs

Mountains are kind of everywhere

Main Street - Zermatt

Our first view of the Matterhorn

Our Hotel

An interesting cloud - You interpret

Tyler in the gondola, me and the mountains reflecting

Over a glacier


A glacial ice fall

A deep crevasse

Starting to cool off

The tunnel into the glacier

One of the ice carvings

It can't be more than about 5 degrees in here

An ice cave in the ice cave

Another carving

Just relaxing (and ready to race out of here)

Tyler trying on the hat to warm up

How about that? We found a church

Some older structures

Tyler liked this knife and its price

No doubt about it, Candy would have stopped to have crepes and so did we.

On the balcony watching the Matterhorn go to sleep

These slate roofs are pretty interesting. This is next to our hotel

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