Sunday, 10 July 2011

Switzerland: A Lazy Start …

Zermatt
Zermatt
I arrived in Zermatt on the Saturday; its an unashamedly touristy town, and who can blame it when it is nestled below the most recognisable mountain on the planet; The Matterhorn.

Staying at the YHA, the rooms are afforded a magnificent view of the 4478m peak.

Up at sparrows fart to get a 6.45am flight from Heathrow, I was soon at Geneva Airport, and within half an hour of landing I was on a train to Zermatt. It was early afternoon when I finally arrived at the youth hostel. With an hour and a half to kill before reception opened, it seemed the perfect opportunity to nip into town and do some people watching, accompanied by a couple of beers.

It’s tried to rain, a pathetic attempt but it's overcast. Forecast for the end of next week looks decidedly dodgy too. My only hope was to get to see the main attraction which sits, currently hidden, outside my dorm window. Seven nights here, it couldn't all be bad.

Maybe it is the mountain air, but the next day, I didn’t stir until about 10am. I’d missed breakfast and I was not in the mood for a strenuous hike, so I went into the town centre, ordered a cappuccino and a ham, tomato and cheese toasty, then decided on the plan for today. It was a leisurely stroll from Zermatt down to Tasch; only an hour and 45 minutes, but should I feel like it, I could tag on an extra hour to Randa.

Bahnweg to Tasch
Bahnweg to Tasch


I didn’t go with the extra section, the route into Tasch is ok, and suitable for a day when the weather means there is nothing to see in the mountains. You follow the Bahnweg, at first the scenery is blighted by the construction taking place on the outskirts, and then the quarries most likely the result of the need for building materials to feed the urban sprawl. Eventually, the scenery gets better. You wander through some picturesque woodland and the valley takes on a more tranquil feel.

wildflowers
Wildflowers
wildflowers
Wildflowers

Train to Tasch
The train to Tasch passes

A few times, it threatened to rain, but there was no need for waterproofs just yet. Before too long, I had arrived in Tasch by about 2pm. I had another coffee, then jumped on the train back to Zermatt. When I got back, the heavens opened, and thunder was in the air. There was only one thing for it, retreat to the Brown Cow Pub to spend the afternoon with a couple of beers and a good book.

Later, as I sat in my dorm, looking out in the direction of the Matterhorn, I had a brief glimpse before the ominous grey and thunder returned. This was in for the rest of the day. Tomorrow looked more promising so would venture higher then!

Matterhorn
A brief glimpse of the Matterhorn