We had a very brief sojourn in Zermatt (about 30 minutes to be precise) a few years ago as we waited to start our trip across to St Moritz on the Glacier Express. We’d come up from Brig down in the Rhone Valley early in the morning. There was just enough time for a quick stroll up the high street and a tantalising glimpse of the iconic Matterhorn in the distance, before we had to head back to the station.
Although we were staying up in Spiez (see here) in the Bernese Oberland, we worked out we could catch a train up to Zermatt via Visp (the connecting station down in the valley) head up to Zermatt for lunch, do the trip up to see the Matterhorn from the Gornergrat viewing platform in the afternoon and still be back in Spiez by dinner time. The joys of the ultra-efficient Swiss transport system! The weather was forecasting a clear day up in the mountains with heavy rain and fog due to set in the next day, so we decided to make the most of the opportunity.
A seamless ride, including changing onto the small branch line at Visp, took us up into the high Alps via the scenic Matter Valley. We passed through several pretty villages with charming names such as St Niklaus, Randa and Taesch, alpine farms and smallholdings with mountain goats and sheep happily basking in the spring sunshine.
Zermatt is car-free apart from the few electric golf buggy style vehicles that ferry goods and baggage to the shops and hotels. Cars have to be parked at Taesch (see here for details) and the journey continued by shuttle train or taxi. Hence it is an easy and relaxing place to wander round.
It is, not surprisingly, a tourist paradise with its outstanding location and association with the Matterhorn. In the winter months it is an uber-chic ski destination for the rich and famous and in the summer months hiking opportunities abound. We were glad to be visiting in the comparatively quieter “shoulder” season in May.
Having pre-purchased our tickets for the Gornergrat Bahn, we had an hour or so to find lunch. Wandering a little way up the street we came across the Hotel Pollux and were drawn to the pretty little terrace. For some reason, despite the pleasantly mild weather, most other patrons were eating indoors so we had plenty of room to spread out and people watch! When up in the mountains eat as the locals do. We ordered Roesti – the delicious Swiss recipe of finely diced potato pan fried with cheese topping and for good measure eggs on top, all washed down with some local white wine.
We could have lazily whiled away the afternoon enjoying drinks on the the sun dappled terrace but the trip up the Gornergrat Bahn beckoned. More to follow!
Copyright © 2017 Rosemary Thomas Le Chic En Rose. All rights reserved