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Europe: Zermatt and the Matterhorn, Switzerland

«Grindelwald and Kandersteg Southern Switzerland and Milan, Italy»

19 – 22 June 2000

Zermatt and Hiking in the Shadow of the Matterhorn

We awoke on Monday in our Oeschinensee hut to the sounds of cows with bells all around us. The kids and Darren rode a winding slide before we took the chair lift back to Kandersteg. We then boarded a train to Brig and then changed to another one which took us to Zermatt. This famous village, gateway to the Matterhorn mountain, is one of about 20 towns in Switzerland that do not allow cars in town, although electric golf cart-type vehicles still zoom by.

Upon reaching Zermatt at about 3pm, we had a perfect view of the Matterhorn. We walked about 10 minutes to our hostel. The next four nights were spent in a four person room there. After a pizza dinner we visited a park that had life-sized chess pieces and played a game.

On Tuesday (20 June) we split up to go on two different day hikes. Sandy and Kristen hiked up the mountains on one side, with help from the Sunnegga Express underground train, and Darren and Lauren hiked the other side of the mountains from Zermatt. Once Sandy and Kristen reached the end of the line, they hiked about 1,100 feet up to the Flualp Hut, via the Stellisee Lake. The views of the mountains, including the Matterhorn, were stunning! The hut was not opened for the season yet, so they enjoyed a picnic lunch before returning back the way they came.

Darren and Lauren hiked about 2,000 feet up to the Hotel du Trift, another hut. Some of the climb was very steep. This hut was also closed so they decided to hike up another 1,000 feet to see some more of the valley below. They returned in the late afternoon and we all met up for a spaghetti dinner in the town center.

A Day Trip to Saas-Fee and Another Zermatt Day Hike

A visit to Saas-Fee, located in the next valley over from Zermatt, was on the agenda for Wednesday. To get there we took the train to Stalden Saas and changed to a bus to Saas Fee. Once we reached there at about 11:30am after two hours in transit, we took a gondola to Hannig and admired the views from the terrace of the restaurant. There was a great playground for the girls to enjoy. We went back down and walked about the town before going back to Zermatt on the 3:35pm bus. For dinner we had take out bratwurst and crepes and ate it in a park in the city center.

On Thursday (22 June) we took a family hike to Zmutt, which was about a one hour walk from Zermatt. It was a cloudy day and the Matterhorn was not visible. Once we reached the village we had a snack at the restaurant. On the way back to Zermatt we hiked through the village of Blatten and to the Zum See (lake). That night we had a picnic dinner and played another game of chess in the park.

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