After another delicious, huge breakfast at Le Charlot, we headed out for our next destination: Zermatt. We actually took our bread with us because there was so much food. I don’t think Europeans stay skinny on travel breakfasts, that’s for sure! Before heading out, we stopped to buy SMS a sweater for the mountains and check out the lake one more time.
Speaking of (not) skinny, on the way to the train station, we stopped in the Laderach shop with its amazing Swiss chocolate. There was a cute “museum” inside with a 1 room exhibit in French and English. We bought some snacks for the road and off we went.
We took the train to Visp and transferred to a smaller train that everyone had to take into Zermatt since it’s a car-free town. Watch out for the zippy golf carts though! We walked to the Hotel Alphubel, a slightly dated but very nice hotel with an excellent price. We dropped off a load of laundry at Womy, which was reasonably priced and inside a little shopping center next to the COOP across from the train station.
We then took the 1536 train up the mountain. The “Happy Afternoon Pass” on the Gornergrat Bahn Cog Railway gave a discount better than the one with Swiss Rail, so we took it. Or rather, the ticket lady just issued it! We had figured out from the last train that we should stand farthest from the entrance in order to sit at the very front of the train. Well, we lucked out even further because the train driver opened up his compartment to us- one half could be closed off for him and the other half gave a stellar view of the Matterhorn at several bends in the track! He initially left the door open but then closed it when he figured out we weren’t German. We got mistaken for German a lot on the trip, which was never that big of a deal. It led to a few funny moments, like in Ticino where the waitress apologized (in German) for her poor German and we tried to explain (in worse German) that we didn’t even really speak the language.
The train ride up was about 40 minutes. We stopped at the visitor center, used the restroom, ate ice cream and drank cocoa and began our hike down. It was exquisitely beautiful. The hills were covered in wildflowers, little streams and the Matterhorn was so majestic. There were clear blue skies and it was awesome. The last 1/3 of the hike was in evergreen forest and really pretty. We were a little early in the season so no restaurants were open for Summer so by the time we reached the outskirts of town at 1930, we took the train in for one stop. It saved us a mile or two and by that point, we felt it was well worth it!
Zermatt was quite expensive, not that Switzerland itself would ever be considered a budget travel destination! We found a relatively inexpensive place for dinner, Cafe du Pont, which had excellent raclette freshly melted on the corner grill.
We headed back to Hotel Alphubel and had a great night’s sleep. We felt very lucky because this part of our trip was arranged just to see the Matterhorn. Most guides say to allocate 2 or 3 days since the weather can be so variable but we were on a tight timeline for all we wanted to see so we were happy it all worked out!