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Friday, August 6, 2010

Zermatt - Matterhorn

This was an important day, cause we would visit one of the most breathtaking mountainscape in the world, Matterhorn it is. Also, this is one of the places I dream of going for a very long time.
As weather forecast said, this would be a good day, sunny and a clear sky in the afternoon time. Great, that's exactly what we wanted.
I cooked a simple breakfast (bake beans + eggs), added with bread and orange juice to serve everyone. At 7.30 am, we departed, couldn't wait to reach the heaven.

I looked out from the balcony of the hotel room. Yes, the rain had completely stopped and the midst started to vanish into thin air. Wonderful !

Husband said we would need to drive for about 1.5 hr to reach the destination. Fine for me.

The most time consuming part is this stretch of mountain pass, from Leukerbad Town to Luke Town (15 km), which would take about 20-25 min because we couldn't drive any faster for safety reason.

Husband called this part of road as "retardant", because everywhere we go, we couldn't skip this road.

The reason why husband choose the hotel in Leukerbad instead of Zermatt is because of the huge difference in the hotel room's rate. In general, the accomodation charges in Zermatt is 4x-5x higher than in Leukerbad. So, forget it.

Anyway, I don't find this as 'retarded' as husband think, for the scenery along the pass has its own charm in nature.


Descending all the way....

When we reached Luke Town, located at one junction, that indicates the end of that "retardant" mountain road. We then entered a more straight forward motorway to our destination.

Indeed, the road is straight enough to drive faster.

Husband said we have been to this place before, back in 13 years ago when we first visited Switzerland.
At that time, he planned to take me to Matterhorn, but because of the bad weather, he took me to Saas'Fee instead. And that's the junction. Turn right will lead us to Matterhorn, turn left will lead us to Saas'Fee.
Gosh, I had no recollection of this junction at all. I just remember a heavy snowing when we reached Saas'Fee in that evening. And I was all so happy to see the snowing for the first time in my life.

We drove through many small villages, some at the mid level along the alps...

We didn't make any stop at anywhere, the kids didn't make any complaints or fuss either...

At around 9 am, husband said we were almost there.

Getting closer and closer...

Ok, finally we arrived the village of Täsch (1449 m) at around 9.30 am. The place is 6 km from the world-famous tourist region of Zermatt, and serve as the gateway to this huge and amazing mountain range.
Since no car is allowed to go further, we got to park our car here and take the train to enter Zermatt.

The Gornergrat train station.

Matterhorn, here we come...

While waiting for husband to buy the tickets, I took the kids to toilet, and took this photo too.

These folks look very cute in their costume.

Ok, Täsch-Zermatt tickets on hand now (adults : CHF 15.20, child : CHF 7.60; round trip)

Waiting for the train to come to pick us.

Inside the train, clean and comfy.

About 20 min later, the train stopped at Zermatt tourist center. As usual, husband would check for the updated info from the tourist information center, which located just outside the train station. How convenient.

Picture of Matterhorn is everywhere in the Information center...

Absolutely gorgeous...

When the boys saw this corner where they can do some coloring, suddenly their artistic side revealed, and they actually sat there for 20 min, quietly, just do their coloring....surprise surprise.

Since they look so concentrated in coloring, we decided to give them some time to complete it. Without wasting time, husband went to buy the tickets alone, and I stayed in the center with the boys. At the same time, I stood there and read for some information about the place that we were about to go.

I just felt so moved to see them, being so concentrated on the works. That's not something I can see in every day. Gosh, am I a pathetic mom?

Let me see...same drawing, but different world they see.

Finally, they agreed to leave though they have not completed their works 100% yet. They asked me to give them marks though. Gee...they throw another difficult question to me again. So, I pretended that I was thinking hard.
Then I gave them a very diplomatic answer. I gave William 80% marks because he has completed 80% of the works. And I gave Vincent 80% marks too because he had colored the things so evenly and neat that worth 80% marks. From their look, I think they were very satisfied with my "FAIR" answer.

As the time was still early to ascend the mountain, we decided to hang around the town center for a while.

The village of Zermatt, while dense, is geographically small. There are three main streets which run along the banks of the river Matter Vispa, and numerous cross-streets, especially around the station and the church which forms the center of the village. In general anything is at most a 30 minute walk away.

Apparently, this is the main street, quite commercial one.
Accommodation in Zermatt is among the most expensive in Switzerland. There is virtually no budget hotel can be found in this place, alright.

Along the street, there are many hotels, restaurants, shops that sell all sort of items that are so well known to the world, like Swiss Chocolate, Swiss watches, Swiss knife, you name it.

Cartier watches...

Omega watch..

When William saw this multipurpose swiss knife, he bugged me to buy him one. Crazy, why do a 7-year-old kid need this for? Anyway, I promised I will buy him one when he gets older later.

Since we didn't come here for shopping, so it's rather aimless to walk on this street.

But when we saw this 2nd floor-cafe who supply light breakfast's menu, we decided to take a break here.

The atmosphere inside the cafe is very casual and relax, I like it..

Husband and I ordered croissants + buns + coffee for ourself. For the kids, they have fried eggs + fruit juice. Very simple, but nice.

To prevent air pollution which could obscure the town's view of the Matterhorn, the entire town is a combustion-engine car-free zone. Almost all vehicles in Zermatt are battery driven and almost completely silent. Electric vehicles are allowed for local commerces.
Anyway, the Cantonal police can issue a permit which allows residents to drive and park at the northern outskirts. Some emergency (fire trucks, ambulances, etc.) and municipal (buses, garbage trucks, etc.) vehicles are also allowed to use combustion engines.

Electric car in the street of Zermatt

Husband especially like to see the flowers being modulated in such a way, with a long tail swaying in the air. He said it for twice in that day.

The clock that show time at 1100 sharp. Ok, time to go up now...

We just don't have the habit to walk straight to the destination without delay. Forever, there are something along the way that will capture our attention...

Saw the horse outside of the station.
Many of the higher-end hotels have porters who will greet the guests at the station with a small electric car / truck and then, they will ferry the guests directly to check in. A few of the really exclusive ones still use horse-drawn carriages. Cool.

Ok, finally we arrived at the station.

He could have played there for some more time if we didn't push him.

The Gornergrat (montain railway) that will take us to the Gornergrat peak (3,089 m), via Riffelalp, Rotenboden and Riffelberg, (with limited stops at Findelbach and Landtunnel just above the town).

Husband said we should take the seats on the right hand side, because we would get to see the best from that side. I wonder how the hell he get to know this also? Then I remembered he has been here before with his colleagues, some years ago.

The train was moving now ...saw the river Vispa runs right through the town

View of Zermatt.

The alpine trees here look a bit different from the others...more slim and straight, like supermodel.

The suburb of Zermatt.

Husband pointed to that direction and told me that's Matterhorn...I was like : you got to be kidding me, I see no pyramid objects or what-so-ever, just clouds...

He asked me to look carefully. So I did...and OMG, I saw Matterhorn, from the narrow gap between the clouds. I prayed hard that I could see the whole Matterhorn, when the sky get clear later on.

The railway track leading to the peak..

Bit by bit, Matterhorn revealed himself to us...like he is very shy or something.

Although still covered by thick clouds, I was so amazed to its beauty...

Awesome! I really wish I could get to see the whole of it.

I believed everyone who was there at that time felt the same too...

The train climbed up to Rotenboden station at around 12 noon.

We get to see more snowy mountain at higher elevation. The view is so spectacular breathtaking.

Husband said we would walk this hiking trail when we reached the top later. I really look forward to it now...

I was totally amazed by those fascinating scenes...

at the same time, felt very excited to walk on this beautiful trail...

I looked back, the most photographed mountain in the world was still covered by clouds.

Almost reached the top now...I was totally fascinated of this magnificent mountainscape.

Gornergrat Peak (3089 m)

Gornergrat , the last stop.
We get off the train from here, and started a beautiful voyage to the heaven....


sy said...

awesome vacation, as usual. (same old boring comments, i also malu liao, but really, these pics render me speechless, completely out of words!)

jessylee said...

oh hi, welcome back.
I miss u so much leh...

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