Riding the Rails to Zermatt
The route from Geneva took us through the Swiss towns of Nyon, Morges, Lausanne, Vevey, Montreux, Aigle, Bex, St.Maurice, Martigny, Sion, Sierre and Leuk before arrival in Visp.
Zermatt is the most popular vacation spot within Switzerland for the Swiss. It’s a huge ski resort and a perfect spot for summer hiking.
We had a really nice train ride to get here. Two and half hours to Visp, much of the ride around the Swiss boundary of Lake Geneva, a brief change and then another hour along an incredibly beautiful mountain route into Zermatt. We saw beautiful, green pastoral views with vineyard after vineyard during the first leg of the trip. It seems like homes here have vineyards in their yards along with their flowers.
Zermatt is a pedestrian village, with the exception of the hotel trolleys (and horse-drawn carriages) that transport visitors and their baggage to and from hotels.
We were lucky the forecast changed and the 90% rain predicted did not happen. Our first mission was to take the Gornergrat Bahn, known as the Matterhorn Railway, straight up to see the peaks of the Swiss Alps. We took the train to the highest open-air station in Europe, and got to experience sleet and snow during our visit. Unfortunately, dense fog settled over the peaks, obliterating any long-range views.
The station is 10,134’ high, and I was light-headed immediately upon arrival. Because of this, we had to report directly to the restaurant on top for lunch consisting entirely of a dark chocolate torte covered in powdered sugar. I figured stimulants could only help . . .
They say the best views of the Matterhorn are from the center of Zermatt, so we have one more chance to see it tomorrow.
The village of Zermatt is charming and very walkable, with temps in the high 50s. We spent a few hours wandering around and exploring. Lots of shops, but nothing I wanted to buy. Loads of restaurants, one of which we returned to for dinner, during which I enjoyed traditional cheese fondue.
Tomorrow we set off early for the Glacier Express scenic train from here to St. Moritz. Fingers crossed, we see the Matterhorn.