Europe 14 - Day 10
Another day in Zermatt. This was partly planned as a rest day or a contingency for bad weather. It dawned as another cloudness morning. I had read that if you were lucky you might get to see the sunrise light up the Matterhorn, so at 6.05am I ventured out onto our deck to look. It was freezing cold (no shoes...) and I had just missed the start. Well there would be another chance tomorrow. A after breakfast we walked the short distance back to the station and boarded the Gonergrat Railway for another venture into the high Alps. Again it was well worth the money and the cold. At the top lies the "3100 Kulm Hotel" so named for its elevation at 3100m. It too has an outside deck where you can eat (and drink) and watch the Matterhorn, so we did. On the way down I hopped off the train and walked the last leg through the forest. Good in theory but the last of the snow under the trees had turned to ice and parts were treacherous and almost impossible to walk on.
The Gonergrat railway is another cog rail. It runs from the centre of Zermatt, climbing steeply out of the valley. Soon you are into deep snow with Zermatt a smudge of green far below. The train soon reaches the hotel where you are greeted by wonderful views and a St Bernard dog or two. We watched the black birds (choughs pronounced "chuff" - relatives of crows and ravens) hop around hoping to snatch some food from unsuspecting diners, then it was time to take the train back down again.
Going down - by train and walking track
We hopped on the train and headed back down. I had seen on the map that you could get off at any of the stations and walk. The snow was rather too deep for most of the way, so I got off at the last station - Findelbach - and followed the well-signposted track down. Only problem was the overnight freeze had turned the top of the snowpack into ice, so that the downhill was more ice-skate than walk. I had good hiking boots on. The couple that followed me had smooth-soled shoes. I think she might have had problems....
Last updated: 21/09/2014