I’m participating in the #AtoZBloggingChallenge 2016 with the theme – Pins on the Map of my Memory – which is about places that bear a special connection with me for reasons mostly personal!
(My very last post for the A to Z Challenge ends with this little vignette of another Swiss holiday. I am glad that despite the odds I undertook the challenge and was able to successfully complete it. I did surprise myself when I had initially signed up for it but once I took it up, there was no looking back. The A to Z journey has taught me a lot and I have discovered so many new blogger friends and their amazing blogs and realised how much more I need to learn and grow as a blogger, as a writer and as a person. There will be more travels and there will be more posts to come and with every new experience, there will be new experiences to cherish and to share with you all. Until next time :-))
Z for Zermatt
Snuggled up in the snow, at the foot of the Matterhorn – one of the deadliest peaks in the Alps and the most photographed mountain in the world, lies a cozy little mountain village that is a dream destination for many, including that of yours truly – one that I had the good fortune to visit many years ago! Zermatt is famed as a mountaineering and ski resort of the Swiss Alps. Its’ location at the foot of the Matterhorn and in the middle of an enormous hiking and ski region makes it one of the world’s most attractive vacation villages in the world.
The region is legendary amongst mountaineers: There are challenging international routes meant for serious trekkers and climbers that takes several days to complete. Even for non-climbers, there are walking trails that guide them on climbing through the mountainscape of Zermatt.
Apart from exceptional and awe-inspiring natural beauty of the region, Zermatt also stands out for being a car-free zone, as only electric cars have been allowed here since 1947! So, walking, cycling, mountaineering and high-Alpine tours are some of the popular activities that can be undertaken in this region.
The Gornergrat Railway Station
The cog railway operates between Zermatt and the 3089-metre-high Gornergrat. The summit offers spectacular views of the Matterhorn, the glaciers and the Monte-Rosa massif. One of the highly recommended train rides in this region – I prefer to call it the ride of a lifetime) is aboard the Glacier Express, a train that goes through the Alps and connects Zermatt and St. Moritz.
The cableway, at a height of 12,000 feet, also offers a fascinating panoramic vista of the Matterhorn and the summits of the Swiss, Italian and French Alps. The glacier palace can be admired 15 metres beneath the ice surface. Tourists throng Zermatt from all over the world in an attempt to not only to ski, but also to walk the mountains during the summer and fall. Young and old, they reach for the sky and the highest peak possible.
Zermatt shows a mix of old history and modern tourism. A visit to Matterhorn Museum under the glass dome of the former casino open the world of old Zermatt – of the poor farmer’s village. It houses the items of equipment used during the first ascent of the Matterhorn in 1865 which ended tragically. The mountaineer’s cemetery is a moving reminder of the accidents that have occurred in the mountains around Zermatt. A tranquil site and a memorial to all climbers who have lost their lives here.
The Gorner gorge seemed to me more like a hair-raising but unique experience, where a footpath across narrow bridges and steps and a fixed rope route guides visitors through a steep gorge. I must confess I was happy to give this one a miss and instead settled for a walk through the village of Findeln – which is an original Valais settlement with a small chapel that shows you some of the most quaint houses of the region, complete with bright flowers hanging from their windows – a scene almost straight out of a picture postcard!
A trip to Zermatt can best be summed up as a dream, one that needs to be experienced. I can assure you no travel brochure can ever do justice to what you see and experience with your naked eyes.
Fortunately, throughout our stay, we had glorious weather, as we enjoyed the sun and breathed the crystal-clear air, against the backdrop of a breathtaking mountain panorama. It was an amazing experience to treat ourselves to the culinary highlights in some of the finest mountain restaurants and experience an idyll at the heart of nature, leaving us with memories to cherish forever.