Swiss Alps, a Cog Train and Theresa May

Let me start today’s update with what I did yesterday…

It was cool and rainy here in Zermatt – a perfect day for a few cat naps and a marathon in Zermatt. I was looking for a break in the schedule for some rest and, voilà, a nice change in the weather. Also a perfect day the Matterhorn UL Traks marathon – which takes the runners up the sides of hills surrounding Zermatt and down again. (I’ve shown you how high these hills (mountains) are, right? These runners were in very good shape. Was out for a walk when the runners came in for their finish. Throughout the day, cameras posted at various points on the trails, were broadcast in the plaza.

Matternorn ULTraks

Before I forget, did you hear that Theresa May (UK’s Prime Minister) was in Zermatt with Philip, her husband, this past week? I guess hiking is an annual event for her. (Who knew?)

I also cleaned up my usernames and passwords. Not sure how everyone else does this, but I use the Last Pass application plus I put my usernames and passwords in Excel and store on my OneDrive. With traveling, I have so many more sites where I’ve registered for travel – so have nearly doubled the number of sites from before.

Today!

I like when the day starts with few expectations. I knew that I wanted to ride the cog train, Gornergat Bahn, up to the station high up in the Swiss Alps. Just a 30 or so minute ride up the “hill”. Thought I’d take in some new sites and maybe do some hiking.

Found out that this cog railway (using teeth between the tracks to pull the train up the hill and regulate the speed going down). Also, this is Europe’s highest open-air cog railway. You can see the middle rail with the “teeth” in the pictures below.

Gornergrat Railway 1 Gornergrat Railway 2

As we progressed up, the view became more dramatic. Being in the valley, the view of the surrounding mountains is limited and mainly see the Matterhorn and some peaks here and there. Now, that the elevation increases, the number of mountains increases as well. The morning clouds started to clear and before we knew it, we were surrounded by a collection of mountains. It would be like if you took the mountains from the Cascade range and put them all together. Wow! And the glaciers! The guide pamphlet said, “The views take in the Monte Rosa Massif with Switzerland’s highest peak (Dfourspitze, 4,634 meters); the second-largest glacier in the Alps, the Gorner Glacier; and a total of 29 mountains above 4,000 meters, including, of course, the Matterhorn.”

When I stepped off the train at Gornergrat Station, I was little dumbfounded by what I saw. Everywhere I looked were these magnificent mountains and huge glaciers. The pictures below do not begin to show the beauty of what I was seeing.

Peak above Gornergrat Mt Dufourspitze

Swiss Alps 2 Swiss Alps 6

Swiss Alps 7

Gornergrat Glacier Gorner Glacier

Liskamm

Me at Gornergrat Me and the Glacier

Me and Matterhorn Me and Matterhorn

Of course, we got a great view of the Matterhorn, which was around 20 Km away, which is a little closer than at Zermatt.

Matterhorn from Gornergrat Matterhorn from Gornergrat

As mentioned above, at the end of the train line, was Gornergrat Station. At the station, was a building that housed a hotel, restaurant and an observatory. Very interesting building. Think I might need to stay here when I return in the winter.

Gornergrat Observatory 5Gornergrat Observatory Gornergrat Observatory 2 Gornergrat Station

After looking around the Gornergrat Station and taking pictures, I decided to hike down to the train station that was just below the Gornergrat Station. Got some great pictures of people doing this hike, which was very steep in some places.

Gornergrat Railway 3 Gornergrat Hiking Trails 2 Gornergrat Hiking Trails 3 Hike down from Gornergrat Station

Got a picture of the Matterhorn, and if you look closely, you can see the mountain’s reflection in the little lake.

Matterhorn and Riffelsee Matterhorn with Reflection in Lake

Gornergrat Hiking Signs Sign Posts on Trail

Another excuse to post another picture of the Matterhorn with cog rail.

Gornergrat Railway 4 and Matterhorn

View of Zermatt from the railway.

Zermatt from Railway

What a great day. Just finishing up dinner, then will take my evening walk around Zermatt. Forgot to mention that last night, I heard the church bells start to ring about a quarter to 7:00 as I was taking my walk. Saw people go into the church in the center of town and went in to join them for mass. Why not? Was a very nice service and glad I followed my hunch.

Who knows what I’ll find tonight during my walk. I’ll publish today’s update and add anything new tomorrow.

 

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