Thursday, June 14, 2018

At the Meadow - Zermatt, Switzerland

The Matterhorn caught in the clouds
During my night's stay in Lausanne, I reached out to my host Silvia in mountain town of Zermatt to tell her about my change of plans.  I shyly asked if I could stay an extra night being I was not going to be pedaling my way around anymore.  To my surprise, she offered her home to me for multiple nights and I could have not been blessed to stay in that valley for a few days!  After a quick walk about Lausanne in the morning to snap a few more shots, I hopped on the train to begin the next adventure - see the Matterhorn!  As the train skirted along the shoreline of Lake Geneva toward Montreux, the valleys were growing more and more shadowed by the heights of the Valais Alps.  Watching the lake fade from view, my attention shifted to the remarkable peaks and the villages that the Swiss had built on the sides of them!  I was entranced by everything that I was seeing from my window seat that I nearly missed getting off the train in Visp to switch lines!  I quick grabbed a pastry to help pass the time while I waited for the train to arrive at the last platform of the station when I looked up the valley that I was going to be going up.  At that moment, I was partially thankful that my bicycle had gone missing for the road up was a steep one!  Throughout the windy train ride, there were half a dozen times that the train required cog track to pull us up the narrow valley and my appreciation for the comfort of the train ride grew stronger by the second rather than me struggling up the road on my bike!  After a series of tunnels blasted through the sides of the valley, the train finally reached the end of the line "in the meadow".  The name Zermatt comes from Wallischer German 'zur Matte' meaning "at the meadow" which could not fit this picturesque mountain village anymore perfectly.  

After walking about the narrow streets of the central area toward Silva's house, I began to notice that there were only these golf cart sized vehicles occasionally driving about the town.  Come to find out that there are no cars in Zermatt!  The streets were established centuries before and intentionally built narrow so that the eaves of the buildings would keep as much snow off the walkways as much as possible.  Plus, not having traffic adds to the tranquility and gives a sense of time travel.  That was not the only interesting aspect of Zermatt that caught my attention... Chocolate shops!  I swear they were on every block as I made my way southward through the town.  When I finally stopped craning my neck at the displays of confectioneries,  I looked up to see one of the most recognizable mountains in the world shrouded in a blanket of low clouds.  Even then, I knew that was the mighty Matterhorn before me and I could only stand there in awe of the mountain's beauty.  After a few moments of standing there and taking a few pictures, I realized I needed to keep on going to make my walk to Silvia's to shed my pack and get ready for my adventures in this breathtaking alcove of the Alps.

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