Join us on our new journey to Monaco and Europe! We are so excited, and want to share with you all of our exciting adventures...and maybe some, not so exciting! Thanks for joining us...
Saturday, September 6, 2008
Anniversary Weekend in Zermatt, Switzerland
Art has always been great at planning wonderful anniversary weekend celebrations...away! This time he surprised me with a great trip to Zermatt, Switzerland, the home of The Matterhorn!!! We took off on the 13th, and drove into Italy, then north...into Switzerland. It's a beautiful drive..through Milan, and into the foothills of the Italian Alps...just a few kilometers from Lake Como. We crossed the border into Switzerland, and this is a working border, as the EU has taken out all the border checks elsewhere, but we were stopped for a second by the Swiss Guards and on we went. Our trip took us to a town outside of Zermatt where we had to park our car and take a taxi to the entrance of this combustion free engine village. Upon arrival, an Electric Van met us, and took us to our wonderfully modern chalet style hotel.
The Omnia...it is a new hotel that is very small, with only 30 rooms, impeccable service, fabulous facilities, and right at the foot of the towering Matterhorn. WOW...you drive in at the foot of the hotel, many levels below the main floor, into a "James Bond" type cave, with automatic sliding glass doors, cylinder candles burning and an elevator at the very end of this tunnel. Wow factor is the only way to say it. You get out of the "car" and get into the elevator, leaving all your luggage behind in the good hands of the bellman, and go up to the main floor, with your own personal attendant waiting for you at the door...she greets you and takes you to a couch to relax on, while she "checks you in", and offers you an aperitif...just amazing! I am a lover of top notch service, with a welcome feel...this was IT...I was impressed!!! Noting snooty, just good service with a very comfortable attitude. The entire hotel was a fusion of old world ski lodge to a modern Swiss style hotel.
On Saturday it was crisp and clear...perfect for our journey to see "the Matterhorn"... we toured the village on foot, heading to the train that would take us to Gornergrat, which is 3089 meters, and then we would walk up further. In the village, there were these "barns" or old log cabins amidst all the more modern structures of the hotels, shops and hotels. Then we came upon two cows just standing in the street...with bells the size of my head...hanging from their necks. They live in these little "barns" when they are not out to pasture. Just amazing.
The river runs through the town, and is most powerful. Being June, the water was melting off the mountains and there was an abundance of water.
Arriving at the train, we bought our tickets, and headed to the top, passing ski lifts, gondolas, small farms, and lots of hikers and ice climbers. The views were ravishing. There were a few glimpses of the Matterhorn, but, there was a cloud hanging around it so we could only get a passing glimpse.
We arrived at Gornergrat, and took to walk the last 100 meters up to the top of the peak, so we could have a panoramic view of the Swiss Alps all around us. There was plenty of snow at the top, and we were very glad we had our warm clothing with us. While walking to the top, we came across a darling "English" couple, walking up the last 20 yards to the platform at the top of the peak. She was about to give up, as this 74 year old woman had very swollen ankles and she was quite unsteady on her feet. Art and I were right behind them, and I couldn't help but hear her say, you go on alone, and her husband said that they could not come all this way and not get to the pinnacle. With that, I came up to her and said, let us help...and I took her by the arm, along with her husband, and we guided her, slowly, with lots of support, to the top. It was enlightening, and made my day to be able to help her. Her smile and that of her husbands was worth every step. The husband said to me, I have a secret, and told me that their children had given them this wonderful trip for their 50th wedding anniversary...and this was one place they always wanted to go. We helped them achieve their feat. We proceeded to tell them that this was OUR 34th wedding anniversary, and the gift to be able to help THEM was invaluable. What a moment...we all took pictures of each other, but that darn Matterhorn would NOT show it's face to us, but for a few glimpses, as you will see in the photos.
After our ascension to the village again, by train, we took a long walk around, checking out the shops and the throngs of villagers out on this sunny day. The town was actually quite quiet, as the summer season does not start til about the last weekend in June, through the end of August. The villagers say there are more tourists in summer than in the winter ski season...I thought this was amazing!
We hope to visit Zermatt in the winter, in it's glory, covered in snow...it was an amazing trip.
Posted by Art & Carol at 6:58 AM