A day trip to Zermatt (Switzerland)

Background

Let me brief you on how i got chance to go for a day trip to Zermatt. I was on an official trip to Switzerland for 3 and half month in 2004, roughly August to November. We were working in Geneva for a bank. The project was almost over and I guess it was my last weekend in Swiss. On Saturday late evening while i was browsing the net, I somehow opened the official website on Zermatt (www.zermatt.ch) and to my surprise, the
temperature recorded was -14 degree Celsius
. Projected temperature for Sunday was similar. I called Ankur and Sachil, my colleagues in Switzerland, and instantly we decided to catch the morning train for Zermatt to feel the chill. Yoohooo…

One more thing to reveal here that by that time we have already been in zermatt once :-). in October beginning with every one in the team and parents of one of our team members (Shagun, now my wife). The first experience there was wonderful, but the weather was a little cloudy that day. Will probably cover that visit in detail in a separate post.

Guess, we didn’t have enough of Zermatt the first time, so we started again the next day early morning.


Interesting Morning

There is this bus system in Geneva, rather Swiss which is very accurate and very strict in timing. If bus reaches station at 05:17 and your train is at 05:30, you can catch the train after buying tickets with 5-10 people in the queue. Yes, being in Swiss for 3 odd months I can bet that buses and trains never get delayed there, never.

So we took the first morning bus, reached the station, bought train tickets and got to the platform. Sachil got this idea to shoot the Geneva platform and realized he didn’t have his Camcorder!!! He left it on the bus seat. We rushed out of the station and went to bus stand. Our bus had already left. The station officer told us about the lost-and-found office, that takes care of all such matters and one could collect any lost stuff from there. But since it was a Sunday and we could contact them only on Monday i.e. the next day. Being from India we did not believe that we could ever get something as expensive as a camcorder back this way! I mean why some body will return a brand new camcorder back to the bus office!!!

The last resort – we went to the same bus stand. Caught another bus on the same route (route number -3), told our story to the bus driver. He asked us to get in the bus and started driving so that other passenger’s don’t loose time. He talked on his walky-talky and after 2 stops, said – “Wait on the opposite side of the road. The bus in which you left your cam will be coming in 2 minutes. Board on that bus, sign some documents, get your cam, get tickets from opposite stand and go back to the railway station”. We were still not sure about what was happening, but we waited for the bus anyhow and all that he’d said actually happened! We got the camcorder back in less then 25 minutes :-).

Finally we got back to the train station. Of course we’d lost the early morning train . But the next train was waiting for us and we shot for Zermatt still mesmerized by the whole experience.

Zermatt – The Village Without Cars

Yes, as the title suggests, it is a village without cars. So you can not reach here by car, train is the only option so you can use Swiss railway’s official website www.rail.ch for planning any trips trip.

Let me take a break here and tell you more about Zermatt. Zermatt is famed as a ski-resort and is a main tourist destination in Swiss. The main attraction here is the mighty Matterhorn (Klein Matterhorn). I guess this is famous for its interesting slopes of skying and also for its stylish look. This part of Swiss is very near to Italy border and these peaks also extend to north Italy. If you are a chocolate lover and ever had ‘Toblerone’ ( http://www.toblerone.com/), you might know about Matterhorn, that’s the shape of the chocolate.

During our train journey, we were comparing everything with our last visit like the little water falls that had frozen now and ground which was covered by snow this time. We reached Zermatt around 11am and at that time the temperature was around minus 8 degree. Brrrrrrrr!! Yes it was freezing!!! In snow, once you get out of the sun, you can suddenly use the temperature change! Fortunately, this time the sun was smiling at us even in -8 degrees :-). The place looked beautiful laden with snow. We compared almost every thing while roaming around the village with our last visit.

To reach close to this stylish peak, there is a cable car system which takes you near Matterhorn’s peak. We tried that last time but when we reached the last point, it became very windy and we could not bear it more than few minutes and rushed back to the heated area.

Since the temperature this time had dropped down drastically, we decided not to take the cable car and explore more of Zermatt. We started walking in different direction from the cable car station and found ourselves in the middle of snow to explore what ever our hearts wished! During this walk we were slipping a lot we weren’t wearing snow shoes, but it was fun. After some time we discovered a restaurant in middle of a snow ground and had our lunch.

It was very relaxing and thrilling at the same time. Without any plans we were just roaming around in a village and trying new adventures. We also played with snow balls :-), fell in snow number of times and I almost lost my digicam once in snow.

Any way, as I already mentioned that the temperature was at an interesting level, afternoon was not that open for adventure and we started to feel the chill. We did not realize that we had detoured very far from the main market and station and started back for the station.

At the station, the weather had gone too cold, I do not remember the exact temperature, but standing outside had gotten unbearable so we quickly decided to get in a café to have coffee/tea. I had Irish coffee which had some alcohol which definitely helped!

Leaving back for Geneva

After having coffee, while waiting for our train we clicked the last few pictures of the peak and departed from Zermatt for Geneva.

On informative note, I will suggest to take an early morning train from any where in Swiss (wherever you stay) and spend at least 1 night in Zermatt like we did last time.More in next post.

10 Comments

  • Nandan says:

    Makes me wonder that how many such hidden treasures are there on this planet. The village with no cars, splendid.

    I am not a snow-chill person but I can imagine that it would be even more beautiful in summers. Thanks for sharing.

  • Aditya says:

    Thanks Nandan, for your comment . Actually this part of Switzerland become more interesting in winters. Even there is separate train called ‘Glacier Express’ which starts from Visp (a place near to Zermatt) and cover all snow laden peaks and destinations in this area.

    No doubt, summers are more pleasant and you can enjoy the place more because you can roam around with temperature in non negative side of scale :-). I will cover more in my next post.

  • manish khamesra says:

    Aditya,

    The last photograph of your post is just amazing. It let its impression for long.

  • Aditya says:

    Thanks Manish.

  • backpakker says:

    Amazing photographs..just breathtaking..I am regretting that we did not go to Zermatt , went to jung frau though …the trains and the buses are awesome..in fact my entire trip was only on public transport

  • Aditya says:

    Thanks backpakkar, Actually this place is generally not in itineraries of popular tourist places in Swiss. We also come to know from a local person(our Manager in bank).

    Any way do it in your next visit :-)

  • ad says:

    Aditya,
    First detailed account of zermatt…very informative…it has convinced me to include it in my holiday this summer. Tell me, is it possible to go on a day trip to zermatt from basel (i’m gonna be based there) or which are the best economical options for overnight stay since my budget is not too high.
    Thanks for sharing

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