After the rock star life in Cologne, we took a very long drive to Zermatt which included a tunnel through the mountains where you drive your car onto a train that takes you through it. It saves about 200km of driving instead of going around them.
Zermatt is a pretty town in a deep valley at the base of the Matterhorn. All of the guidebooks and hiking maps talk about the changeable Alpine weather here, and we got a taste of it. The first day we took the Gornergrat train up to the top of a nearby peak for amazing views. The entire skyline was sunny and clear with absolutely beautiful views of the Monte Rosa, the Dom, and Dente Blanche. The hike back down was great, but the Matterhorn was covered by its own set of clouds and nearly invisible.
All over town there were postcards, photos, and paintings of the Matterhorn that were little reminders of what we were not seeing. The next day was same, but we thought maybe if we headed up a different set of cable cars maybe we would get a break in the weather or a different view. That plan didn’t quite work out. We got to the top of a ridge covered in clouds and decided to start our hike anyway. The winds were over 40kph (and my treasured NZ knit hat was blown off and lost!), but I might have been able to cope with that. When rain moved in, it started to get uncomfortable, and finally when the hail started whipping us, I gave up and turned around. Luckily we made it back to the cable car in time before they shut it down because of the high winds. We got off halfway back down the mountain and were greeted with sunshine again. I guess that’s what they mean by “changeable.”
Then on our last morning in Zermatt during breakfast we noticed a break in the clouds. We left our coffee and muesli and scrambled to get a camera. Finally, there it was. Our view lasted about 15 minutes, but it was so impressive and what we came for… the Matterhorn.
Here is the mountain teasing us:
Finally, here it is!