Wednesday, June 20, 2012

June 14 - Zermatt - Matterhorn

This was an amazing day.  We left pretty early on the train to get to the town of Zermatt.  The last train up the hill was absolutely amazing.  For over an hour we climbed up the alps through tunnels and through valleys.  Tons of waterfalls and rivers.  I think some of the students have never seen mountains.  It is so much like Banff, except there are green pastures and little villages and cookie cutter houses on every hill.  When we got to Zermatt it was perfectly clear and the Matterhorn just showed itself completely without clouds for about 5 minutes.  It almost always has a small veil of clouds that kept circling around the summit.  Apparently it is VERY unusual to even see the summit!  Lucky!  We toured the church and were given the assignment of interpreting the story of the fresco on the ceiling.  Awkward painting of Noah in his ark with skiers and crazy unhappy people falling off the boat.  We then had to study the cemetery of the lost climbers.  It was pretty interesting.  Most people that died were young and trying to climb the face.
We then had time to get lunch.  Konrad and I saw the locals going into a little shop.   You could get a half a grilled chicken a hunk of bread and fries.  Why start eating vegetables now?  We don't get them at the hotel.  We sat down within view of the Matterhorn and ate our lunch.  We had the option of 2 hikes, one more water and bridges, one to a better view  of the Matterhorn, or pay $40 to go up a cable car.  Konrad opted for the cable car, I opted for the hike and view.  Are you surprised?
I should have realized as we began our hike that I was in for some intense steepness.  There were some ropes to hold on to.  The fact that only 6 people went on the hike should have tipped me off.  So 10 lbs of sweat later we reached a small village way up the alps.  Our leader turned his iPod speakers on and played sound of music.  At least that gave me a beat to walk to.  The view was out of this world and i was happy I went up.  Think Waterton Bear's hump on steroids.  For me the coming down is more difficult.
When we came down and I willed my leg to stop shaking we toured the museum, then took the train and got back to Leysin late. 

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