July 22 ~ Zermatt, Switzerland
Today we explored the quaint haunt of the rich and famous – Zermatt! Primarily known as a ski resort and mountaineering base for those wanting to challenge the infamous Matterhorn.
“The Matterhorn was one of the last alpine mountains to be conquered (in 1865),and the first expedition that reached the top ended dramatically with only 3 of the 7 climbers surviving the descent. The story is related in the Matterhorn Museum.” ~ Wikipedia
The Matterhorn Museum was right around the corner from our hotel, but sadly we ran out of time and did not get to visit it.
The town itself is quite manageable on foot with the only motorized vehicles allowed on the roads being the small hotel shuttle vans. We saw numerous backpackers with their walking sticks and a few on bicycles.
Most of the windows are adorned with flower boxes overflowing with multicolored thriving flowers. Many in the geranium family.
But our big excursion today was to take the cogwheel train up to the top of Gornergrat.
The scenery along the climb to the top improved around each corner.
The air was a bit thinner at the top with an elevation of 10,132 feet (3089 m), but I took my time climbing the steps up past the visitors station to get to the upper viewing platform.
After a relaxing lunch at the restaurant on top of the world, we got back on the train and then got off at the first stop, Rotenboden (9235 ft) to start our hike to Riffelsee to try to get a reflection picture of the Matterhorn. From there we would continue down to Riffelberg (8471 feet) where we would rejoin the train back to Zermatt.
There was a breeze which ruffled the water on the lake, so the reflection shots did not workout very well, but the hike itself was another huge hit for us.
We also enjoyed the numerous but miniature alpine flowers along the way. They were small but so mighty to survive at this elevation and in this extreme climate.
Upon returning to Zermatt, we walked through the cemetery next to the church where a special section was devoted to those who had lost their lives while mountain climbing in the area, including a tomb of the unknown climber.
GRATITUDE MOMENT: Today I am once again awed by just how powerful Mother Nature is. To be surrounded by this much beauty is both over whelming and humbling.