Julie and I came to Zermatt right before the world shut down. It was our first winter in Switzerland, and we decided we wanted to go skiing in the Alps. There was talk about the virus in China, and they had just announced some cases in Italy. Wow Julie and I thought it would be fitting to come back as the world opens back up. We are spending a week here hiking and relaxing. When we go back home; Julie has to start going back into the office, and she has about six weeks of incredibly long days ahead. The annual filing has to be completed by mid August; so she gets a breather before the marathon starts.
I think Julie would agree with this. Out of all the places we have visited, in Switzerland, we like Zermatt the best. The town is very different from when, we visited last, however. I thought it might be virus related, but our waiter last night was saying that summer is a lot slower than the winter, Many of the hotels are actually closed right now. We do not feel like we are being overwhelmed by golf carts this visit. However, the scenery is fantastic. The food is unbelievable! The hiking trails have a wonderful mixture between easy and strenuous. It is also very easy to get here. It is about the same driving or the train. We opted for the train this time, as Julie does not like the mountain passes. Maybe our next visit I can convince her to let us drive.
We have lucked out with the weather. Last week, the prediction was storms all day every day this week. So far, today has been the only bad day. Every other day, the rain held off until late. We have been able to hike every day; so we feel very Swisslike!
We started off with a pretty hard hike. It was over 6 miles long. Thank goodness most of it was downhill. We talked to the desk person at the hotel, so we could buy gondola tickets, and she told us to take the hike backwards. Thank goodness we did. The hike was 5 miles downhill, and then 1 mile uphill. If we had done it the “right” way, it would have been 1 mile downhill, and then 5 miles uphill.
I have to talk to my friends Mike and Steve, for when they come visit next year. I found a fly fishing excursion that takes us to one of the lakes we hiked near. It is a private lake, but I could see the trout swimming! The excursion includes all the gear we need and licenses. We can let the ladies relax in town, while go fish for two days! Let me know what you think. Price wise it is a steal for Switzerland! Plus from the picture below, you can’t beat the views.
The other benefit of taking the hike backwards is that after 1/4 mile hike up the mountain you come to a bar; so you can rest and have a drink before continuing.
After the hike I had bit of a panic. I thought I had lost my sunglasses on the train coming down the mountain. I looked all over the hotel room and could find nothing. I kept thinking of the thousands of dollars I was going to have to spend on new glasses. The next morning, though I found them. The glasses case had fallen down in between the mattresses of the bed. That is one thing I will never get used to over here. You almost never find a queen or king sized bed. It is always two twin beds pushed together. Sometimes they will be in the same bed frame, but not always.
Our hike the next day was much easier. We hiked about 5 miles from Zermatt to Täsch. We cheated though, and took the train back instead of hiking! We also learned how the “rich”people vacation here. They rent a chalet way up on the mountain, and hire a helicopter to take them and all their gear up the mountain. The group we saw took 4 trips. 1 trip for the people, and then 3 more trips for the gear and food. From just the cases of wine I saw on the sling loads, these people are going to be living REALLY good this week.
I have decided that whoever has put the time estimates together for the hikes is on crack or meth. Maybe the estimates are ok, if you are walking as fast as you can, and you do not care about looking at the beauty that surrounds you. For example, the hike from Zermatt to Täsch is supposed to only take an hour and a half. That would mean you are walking at about a 20 minute per mile pace. Maybe a little slow on flat paved ground, but probably about right if you are going as fast as you can walk on trails. It took Julie and I almost 2 1/2 hours, of course we stopped and took pictures, or just gazed at the waterfalls.
This morning (Tuesday) we had a small unplanned adventure. Today the forecast is for rain all day. There was a little break in the clouds after breakfast; so we thought we would just take a quick walk around town, before the rains started. We walked down by the river, and saw a sign for the Gornerschlucht (Corner Gorge) and thought we would check it out. We hiked back and up to the gorge, and THEN we saw the sign advertising the price to go through. Well, we were already back there, the rain was holding off, and the price was only $5 (cheapest thing I have found living here). We were both really glad we went back there. It was beautiful. Our short walk turned into almost a 4 mile hike, as the gorge was one way, and then we had to hike around until there was another bridge across the river. :). We had a great time, even though the heavens opened up a couple of different times. Our city shoes got a little muddy, but other than that no problems!
We made it back to the hotel, before the heavens really opened up; so we are going to spend the rest of the day just relaxing. I am furiously typing away at this post; so we can go sit at the pool the rest of the afternoon!
Zermatt is again showing itself to be wonderful place to vacation. Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear the weather will cooperate so we can go way up into the mountains like we did when we were skiing. It just doesn’t make sense to pay for the gondola ride, when you are not going to get the views. Hopefully the weather predictions will be false, because I really would like to go back up again.
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That is about all for now. I hope this finds you well. Enjoy the pictures. I will have some video to add next week. That will give me something to do once Julie goes back to work!