Sunday, October 24

Zermatt

We left France early this morning for Zermatt, Switzerland. Along the way we stopped at a beautiful mountainside, covered with golden trees, with a snow-capped mountain behind it. Then we walked down a small trail along a pretty stream, until we came to a bridge. Josť likes to use a neutral density filter in his pictures to even out bright areas with dark ones. He often helped us and shared his equipment with us.

We crossed back into the Berner Overland area of Switzerland ,and stopped again at the pulloff overlooking the village of Martigny. We had stopped here on our way into France, and there was fog, but the trees were green. No they formed a mountainside of gold with a few evergreen trees mixed in for accent. It was gloriously beautiful in the morning sun!

We enjoyed our buffet lunch in Martigny so much that we stopped there again for lunch! It was just as good the second time!

From the road, we were able to see the Castle of Sion at the top of a small hill. Vineyards were planted right up to the castle.

The vineyards had turned gold also, and I tried to photograph them from the bus window, with only slight success. It was fun trying though.

Eventually we reached Tasch where we unloaded everything from the bus, and said Auf Weidersein to Walter, our driver. Walter spoke no English, and none of us spoke German except Josť who translated everything for us. Walter was a good driver, and handled our 48 passenger bus skillfully.

We loaded all of our gear onto the train for Zermatt. It had a self service baggage car, and other cars with seats for passengers. The ride to Zermatt was not long, and soon we found ourselves in the Zermatt train station which had about 2 tracks. Since Zermatt forbids gasoline burning vehicles, all the taxis are electric powered. We loaded our luggage into two of them, and Josť assured us that the walk to our chalet was only a half mile, virtually flat. To Josť, a strong, young man, it must have seemed flat, but to the rest of us dragging our carry-on luggage over cobblestones, it was anything but flat. I was fortunate to be able to catch a ride with our luggage taxi, which had room in the front passenger seat. Everyone else arrived panting. The hill was quite steep, and we are not as young as Josť. This was a nice, warm day.

Like all our other "hotels" our Alpenrose Hotel had remained open after the usual season just for us. It was nice not to have to deal with crowds of summer tourists, nor with the winter crowds of skiers.

Our room looked directly at the Matterhorn (14,692 feet)! We could see it dead-on, and could merely open the door and walk out onto our balcony for a perfect view! I don't know if the rooms were assigned alphabetically (Marilyn's last name begins with "D") or we just got lucky, but it was beautiful! We watched the sunset that evening.