(This post continues from Chamonix to St. Niklaus posted on 20 Dec 2016.)
As per our original plan, we were to explore Zermatt and then take a scenic ride from Zermatt to St. Moritz via Chur on the Glacier Express. Although we changed our mode of transportation, we didn’t change our destinations.
Now, Zermatt being a car-free city, we couldn’t have booked an accommodation there. Further, we didn’t find reasonable accommodation in Tasch (the farthest place to where we could take our car) either. And this is how we landed in St. Niklaus. After spending an unexpectedly eventful day in St. Niklaus and Grachen, Zermatt beckoned us.
So, after a hearty breakfast of French bread, Swiss cheese and chocolate milk that we had bought from a supermarket in Chamonix, we set off for Zermatt. We drove to Tasch along the only route existing. Along it ran a river which, as I mentioned in my earlier post, could be Gornera or Zmuttbach. The drive wasn’t long. We parked our car at a privately-owned parking lot for about 7.5 CHF for the full day.
Then, we bought 2 return tickets for Tasch-Zermatt-Gornergrat and back. This was our first train ride in this trip. I was very excited. Somehow, I love train rides in Europe.
The train ride to Zermatt was short and smooth. The cogwheel train to Gornergrat departs from another station across the road. A train had just left and another one was expected in about 15 minutes. Vinod sat on a bench, but I queued; I wanted a window seat. I had read that the peak of Matterhorn can be seen from the windows on the right side.
I was glad I queued. Throughout the ride on the Gornergrat Bahn – the Matterhorn Railway, we enjoyed clear views of Matterhorn. There were many stops on the Gornergrat Bahn; we got off at the last one, Gornergrat.
Gornergrat is a 3089-metres high mountain. It offers great views of the Matterhorn mountain and several other mountains of Switzerland and Italy. Gornergrat itself too is stunningly beautiful; it is spread across a large area with a few plateaus and many slopes.
There is a hotel named 3100 Kulmhotel Gornergrat; its restaurant offers nice views of the slopes. However, we missed that and ended up having lunch in a crowded self-service restaurant. After lunch, we occupied a bench on a plateau and spent a lot of time admiring the snowy slopes. The slopes were inviting us to roll down or sledge down the mountain. It was one of the best views we had ever seen. It was very soothing and impossible to take our eyes off the views.
As the sun started to set, it started getting cold. Besides, we needed to conserve some energy to return to our studio. Very reluctantly, we left Gornergrat. Once again, we enjoyed the cogwheel train and the lovely views of Matterhorn. On the way down, we saw many people trekking and cycling.
After we arrived in Zermatt, we walked around the city centre. It seemed to be a big city like Lucerne. There were many Swiss-watch shops, fancy jewellery stores and many gift shops. We bought a few souvenirs: keychains, magnets and small cowbells.
Zermatt was very busy and energetic. There were many hotels and restaurants. Looking at the crowd, it was obvious that it is a popular tourist spot.
We took the shuttle back to Tasch and picked up our car from the parking lot. It was then that we realised that the parking lot was odd; it had only one way to enter and exit.
We had achieved quite a lot in St. Niklaus. However, we hadn’t tried the kitchenette yet. So, Vinod and I made Maggi noodles which we had bought on the earlier day from a supermarket in Grachen and ate it on the small table in the garden.
Eating hot Maggi in the cold weather was a fun and relaxing experience. Soon it became dark; the sky was full of bright twinkling stars. We sat there admiring the sky till it became chilly.