Gornergrat & Matterhorn: Monday 9 January 2017

I’ve been keeping an eye on the weather forecast – looking for a day this week to take the cogwheel train up to Gornergrat, as I did in August last year. And today was the day! I woke to clear blue skies and the forecast was saying that it would hold throughout the day. At last – time to play in the snow!

After taking my clothes to the laundry (not self-service) and stopped by the ticket office for the Zermatt-Gornergrat train – had just enough time to return home, take a shower and put together a day pack for the trip to Gornergrat.

The railway uses cogwheel trains (also called a rack railway or rack-and-pinion railway) since there is a significant elevation climb up the hills and the ice and snow.

As I was leaving for the station, I took a picture of the Matterhorn from outside my flat. The mountain looks different as the sun rises and moves across the sky. I also took a picture of the where I’m staying. (See below.)

From the station, I took a picture of “Wolli” (Zermatt’s mascot) holding the elevation sign for Gornergrat. 3,089 meters is 10,134 feet – almost the height of Mt. Hood at 11,250 feet.

During the first leg of the journey, I took a picture of Zermatt. A little hard to see (below) because of the shadow from the southern hill.

Up at Gornergrat, a location that is surrounded by 29 Swiss Alp peaks rising about 4,000 meters. There are a couple of restaurants in the main building as well as Europe’s highest-altitude hotel, the 3100 Kulmhotel Gornergrat. (Loved the dark blue sky.)

I used the opportunity, once I arrived at Gornergrat to take a selfie of me and the Matterhorn.

I had planned to have lunch up here, so proceeded directly to the cafe-style restaurant since the full service dining was not open. I selected a few items and headed out to the open deck to enjoy the view. Just as I was getting seated I noticed a black bird (crow?) noticing me. I knew what he wanted – and he knew that handouts were common from the humans. Just as I gave him (or her) a piece of my croissant a few of his buddies hopped up on the railing. (I should have known.)

After lunch I took pictures of the surrounding mountains. (Including the Matterhorn.)

Below is a video where I panned the mountains to the north of the station.

And Paddington Bear was here too!

I was a little fascinated by the cogwheel railroad, so took a couple of videos (1) showing it come up the mountain, (2) arriving at the station, and (3) unloading passengers – skiers starting their ski run.

On the way down from Gornergrat, I took a couple of pictures looking back up the hill.

Further down the hill, I stopped at another station downhill and watched the skiers. After seeing how well groomed the slopes are, I could probably put on a pair of skies again. Really! Maybe next year?

As we got closer to Zermatt, the train passed near a deep gorge that I hadn’t noticed before. Wow – that is a long way down!

Back in Zermatt, I ran a few errands. In an earlier post I had mentioned that the tennis courts I saw last summer are now ice rinks. Below are a couple of pictures showing the transformation.

From there, I picked up my laundry and also bought the train tickets that will take me from Zermatt to Milan. From Milan, I travel to Cairo next week. (Funny story: I woke last night about 2:00 wondering about the connections for the trip, so I got on-line for the next 30 minutes doing research.) Hopefully tonight I’ll get some sleep – but not before watching “Goodbye Charlie” a Debbie Reynolds movie from 1964. I may also have time to watch “The Unsinkable Molly Brown” too.

 

 

 

 

 

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