> SlowTrav > Stories > Pauline's Pages > 1997, Italy, Switzerland

Summer 1997 - Italy and Switzerland

One week in Zermatt

Saturday July 18

Left our vacation rental, returned the keys, had a last breakfast in the tea room that we loved. Drove to Tasch, just outside Zermatt. You cannot bring your car to Zermatt. You park in one of several huge lots in Tasch, 6 km from Zermatt. We found the best one - underground and connected to the train station. Left all our luggage in the car and took the train in to arrange things.

Parkhaus Tascherhof is underground and connects to the train station. 10SF/day - 57SF/6 days.

The Zermatt tourist information is no help in finding apartments. They have a book listing the apartments and a board, like the hotel board, with about 6 apartments listed - showing location and price. You could phone direct to them. We made note of a few places and walked out to see them. None seemed nice, but we saw a building that looked good and with a vacancy sign and knocked at the door. Nice views through buildings of the church (bells all day long with great excitement at 7:30 pm and in the morning), some mountains, and old huts and gardens from the bedroom. No CNN, NBC or BBC on the TV here, just lots of Italian, French and German stations.

Sunday July 20

Walked to Zmutt - more uphill than I remembered. 1 hour. Lunch at Restaurant Zmutt. Walked on to Furi (45 minutes). Then took the gondola back.

Monday July 21

Woke up to construction noise - it is always something. Took the train up to Gornergrat at 10,000 feet. Walked down 2 stations - took about one and a half hours. Took the train to Riffelalp for a late lunch, but the restaurant didn't look good and it was getting late so we took the train back to town and had lunch at home.

Tuesday July 22

Did some shopping in Zermatt today. We went out for a short walk in the evening. The town turns to country quickly with lots of haying going on.

Wednesday July 23

We are both feeling very tired from all the travel.

Wanted to do laundry here, but all timeslots (only 3 per day) were booked, so we dropped off a few things at a local laundry around 2:30pm and picked them up at 5:00pm (10 f). In Italy we would have had to wait three days.

Took the gondola to Furi, it was raining lightly. Put on raincoats, did the walk to Zmutt and then down to Zermatt. Rain stopped for first part of walk, then started again. By the time we were walking around Zermatt it was pouring. Lovely walk through fields of wildflowers. Mostly downhill. Walked all over Zermatt looking for a cheese shop - finally found a cheese counter in our local shop. Not as good as Montana with the incredible food shops. Here there is a big Coop, a big Migros and a little shop near us that I remember from last time. We are close to the building we stayed in before (1988) - St. Anton, beside the mini-golf.

Zermatt is owned by 7 families (I think) - one is Biner - you see their name everywhere. They own the bakeries, and lots of other stores, etc. S likes to sing "nothing could be finer than to be a Biner in Zermatt..." and when he saw a Biner Tea room he had to call it a "Biner diner".

There is lots of good hiking in Zermatt. Rides are cheap and plentiful, the valley is rural and farms are everywhere just outside the town. The town is more crowded than Grindelwald, but maybe just as good or better hiking.

Thursday July 24

Lots of English used in Advertising:

The Free and Easy Card - some German card that you stick in your cell phone.

No Drinks, No Drugs, No Problems - billboard all over Switzerland.

Overcast, raining. Rain stopped, so we went out around noon. Took the underground funicular from Zermatt to Sunnegga; a seven minute ride. It was very cold in the tunnel to the funicular and during the ride. Started a gentle downhill hike for two hours from Sunnegga-Tuftern-Reid-Zermatt. Stopped for coffee and apricot Kuchen in Tuftern (just a few old huts and a restaurant). The part from Reid to Zermatt was paved most of the way and there were lots of people.

Back in Zermatt we found a hardware store (closed Thursday afternoons) with real cow bells. I will get one tomorrow before we leave! This will be much better than the ones we see in the tourist shops. Found a tea room just down the road from us that has breakfast. Last walk down main street. Sat while the church bell tolled 6pm.

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