Another warm week of work, but fortunately not as bad as the previous couple and it stayed at 25 or barely above most of the time. Good thing no excuse is needed to run down to the Aare River, take off your shoes, and dangle your toes in the cool water.
It’s also a good thing no excuse is needed for ice cream!
One particularly beautiful evening went for my usual run, but paused at the top of the super long climb at the end to take in the view from the Bundeshaus. Bern is seriously ridiculously picturesque!
One final day off before heading home (three days out of 22, I’ll take it!) and it was forecast to be absolutely gorgeous and cloud free down south so I decided to risk it and go see the Matterhorn!
Took two trains to get to the streets of Zermatt, but once there I was amazed I’d heard relatively little about this charming little car-free town. Yes, it was a little on the touristy side (and I’m told it’s even more so in the winter when the skiers come to town) but it was still super charming!
Plus, from the streets of Zermatt on a clear day you can very easily pick out the Matterhorn!
It was about a 15-20 minute walk from train station to the cable car station where you can start heading up to the Klein Matterhorn Paradise (Little Matterhorn Paradise) which is where you get a view of the real Matterhorn. Only way up the Matterhorn itself is mountaineering!
In the SBB railways app it looked like a series of four cable cars to get there, but not really – it was one cable car with three stops (total of nearly 30 minutes!) and then one final panoramic cable car to the top.
The line for cable car tickets was longer than I expected and took nearly 30 minutes at 11am, and I was amazed for over $100 how many people wanted to go up. I know lots were buying tickets to get off at intermediate stops, but still! Quite a pricey day.
The ride to the first transit point was pretty long, but how can you complain when you’re treated to views like this the entire time!
Finally arrived at the transit point for the final cable car to the top. At 9,642 feet above sea level the Trockener Steg station is about the same elevation as the Diavolezza mountain where I had lunch nearly two weeks prior. Only one more cable car and 3,000 feet of climbing to go!
Incredible view from the cable car of the Matterhorn when getting close to the top of ride!
Glacier nearing the top of Klein Matterhorn:
Finally – the summit! What struck me was that this stop was about 3,000 feet higher than Diavolezza, but it was noticeably thinner air…slightly dizzy and harder to breathe…I could definitely feel the altitude!
I felt like sitting down and relaxing a bit would be just the thing to adjust to altitude…but I’m not sure having a rösti covered in cheese, bacon, egg, and washed down with a beer was exactly the smartest idea!
After eating, I went for a trek through the glacier caves. Carved into the Klein Matterhorn there were all sorts of tunnels and ice carving…but even a bit of walking in here was pretty challenging and made me a bit dizzy!
Finally, I felt like I’d adjusted just enough to head to the lookout point. Heeeey Matterhorn!
At 26F it was quite a bit chillier up here!
But despite being in shorts once again (did you expect anything else from me) I didn’t notice the chill at all, because the views were absolutely breathtaking!
Panoramic view from the lookout…Matterhorn and all.
Starting to get a bit chilly, and feeling the thin air, I decided heading back towards sea level would be a good idea after nearly three hours at altitude. Back in the cable cars for the hour or so long trek back down to Zermatt.
Amazing glacier view on the way down.
The cable cars just keep going and going….it was an amazingly scenic ride. Not great as someone who doesn’t like heights, but…
roaring river Matter Vispa
lots of tacky souvenir shops
stopped for a snack
After ice cream it was time to begin the trek from Zermatt back to Bern. First Zermatt to Visp on the meter gauge railway and then from Visp to Bern via one of the longest railway tunnels in the world. It really was a slick trick, and very convenient!
I may have to come to Zermatt again, for two other “famous” railway trips. One is the Gornergrattbahn Railway which rises almost 5,000 feet in 6 miles from Zermatt to the top of the Gornergrat at 10,300 feet!
Next is the Glacier Express which goes from Zermatt to St. Moritz and is supposed to be the most scenic railway in Switzerland. Unfortunately, you pay through the teeth for the privelege, and from what I understand it’s full of tour groups….so maybe that will wait.
I’m back in Switzerland in a few weeks, however, and maybe the Goernergrat will happen….
The day was also Swiss National Day, and I got back to Bern just in time to see the fireworks from the University of Bern right atop the railway station:
The last few days in Bern were quite a bit cooler with temperatures only about 25C – it figures it always seems to happen like that where the nice weather arrives just as you’re getting ready to leave!
One last run along the gorgeous blue Aare River…
…then it was off to Zurich for the night before flying home…for just under four days before heading off to South Africa for work. Coming up next!